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I’ve been banned from the Rivers Casino for 30 days

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Yes, what you are reading and are about to read is true.

I’ve been banned from the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh for 30 days.

Why have I been banned?

Well, the casino security officials and Pennsylvania State Police are calling it attempted theft. I’m, along with the three individuals I was with, are calling it a massive misunderstanding.

In the words of the PSP agent I spoke with, “with no charges, there is no crime,” but things could certainly have been much, much worse.

My friend Zane, his girlfriend, Julie, Alyssa and I went to the Rivers Friday night (June 4). After a few hours of gambling, we decided to call it a night and get ready to go.

Alyssa and I were at one set of machines, Zane and Julie at another. On the way to find Zane and Julie, I found a small, gumband tied amount of money lying on the casino floor.

Alyssa and I point at it, and as the excitable college-grads we would be to see ANY amount of money, I pick it up and put in my pocket with the intent to show Zane but then to go ahead and turn it in to customer service.

It’s a casino and somebody had to be missing this money.

Upon showing it to Zane and Julie, we never made an effort see how much money was bound in the wad, but decided to go cash out our winnings and make our way to the exits. On the way out, I was planning to stop at guest services and drop off the money.

When the four of us get in line to cash out our tickets, Zane discovers his wallet is missing. Everyone’s attention turns to the missing wallet.j

Alyssa, Julie and I proceed to cash out, then track down Zane to look for the wallet.

For an unknown amount of time, the four of us walk aimlessly around the casino, backtracking, checking slot machines were had been at, the bar we had been at, all the while staring at the floor, looking for this wallet.

As Alyssa and I become separated from Zane and Julie, we keep walking around the casino, finding the machines we had been playing at and looking for the wallet.

Yes, this wad of money is still in my pocket. No, I didn’t remember it was there.

Eventually a casino security official approaches me, asks me to step aside, and asks if I have anything that doesn’t belong to me.

I had to think for a moment, it’s not every day you’re asked this question.

I say yes, I do, and hand the casino guy the money, saying I found it on the floor.

He gets on this radio thing and tells someone on the other end they found me and the money, while three or more floor security officials come to surround Alyssa and I.

I’m asked to present ID, ask where I found the money, ask why I had the money, and the questions go on and on.

I was asked why I didn’t have a middle name.

I’m able to tell them where about the money was found and explain to them that Zane’s wallet was missing and that is where my attention was turned the entire time.

Obviously a friend’s missing his wallet in a casino is more important than turning in missing money found on the floor.

The casino security guy tells me the state police are on their way and that I could be arrested for theft. Apparently, it is illegal to pick ANYTHING up off the gaming floor.

Whether it’s money, a ticket stub, a gaming voucher, anything of that sort, it is illegal to pick it up. It is considered theft.

It would be nice to have known that.

I’m never asked by the security guard at any time how much money was in the wad. I never checked. I was told, however, they saw it on camera as I picked up the money.

I find it odd they wouldn’t ask me how much was there, as if they did track me the whole time I was walking around looking for Zane’s wallet, they would have seen no effort to look.

Honestly, I was thinking at the time it is maybe $30 at most. It had a $1 bill on the outside of the wad. Turns out, it was a total of $704.

The state police officers, or detectives, (not sure which, but my guess would be detectives) arrive to question me.

I tell them the same story I told the casino security personnel. I found the money, put it in my pocket, showed my friends, went to cash out, discovered Zane’s wallet missing, then began the search for the wallet.

At no point did the casino security or state police make any effort to speak with Alyssa, Zane or Julie, all of which were standing in the vicinity as I’m being questioned.

I’m yet again asked if I have a middle name and then asked why I don’t have one.

They ask if I could tell them how long I was walking around with the money. I have no idea.

They ask if I saw any casino security guards around while I was walking around. I, again, have no idea, I wasn’t exactly pay attention for security guards.

They ask where I work and for a contact number. I tell them I work at channel 11 and give them the number to the assignment desk, telling them I’m not sure who they’d reach because that’s the number we use to call them while making beat calls.

They again say I could be arrested for theft because taking anything off the casino floor is theft and that the item must me returned within “a reasonable amount of time.” That was followed up with “a reasonable amount of time is immediately.”

I’m asked where I live and how I can be contacted. I give them my cell phone number. They ask if the address on my license is current. Well, that brought about another confusing answer.

I explain to them my living circumstances, of temporarily living in Squirrel Hill then moving to Mt. Washington, but technically Ebensburg is my home address.

They probably took all the addresses down, I don’t remember.

I again say this was my first time in the casino (actually, it was my first time in any Pennsylvania casino) and I was unaware of the regulations.

I emphasize, again, that ZANE’S WALLET IS STILL MISSING.

The one state trooper asks if I picked up the money thinking it was Zane’s wallet. I’m pretty sure I stared blankly at him on that one.

The troopers then made contact with the “victim,” in this case, the man missing the money.

The man, thank God, didn’t want to press charges, since he got all of his money back. It’s not like that wasn’t going to happen away.

So, with the man not pressing charges,  I get my ID returned to me and am told by one of the troopers “with no charges there is no crime, but my name would still show up in a report.”

I’d really like to know what report. I never received any citation, any information regarding the circumstances, never signed a warning or anything like that.

The state troopers said we were done and that I could go. I turn to Alyssa, Zane and Julie and we head to leave.

As we are walking away, another casino security guy comes up and says we aren’t done. He’s dressed more like a state trooper, so I tell him the other troopers said we were done.

Turns out, this is the nightside casino security chief. He says I need to do some paperwork and then I could go, but I should make arrangements to meet the rest of my group later.

The others say they’re going file a report for Zane’s missing wallet, then we’d meet up.

I follow the security guy through the casino and back some hallways to the security office. On the way, I’m still explaining I didn’t have a clue about the policies pertaining to the not picking items up off the gaming floor and that I was sorry for not acting immediately.


The security manager then proceeds to tell me that technically under state law, any incident regarding theft in a casino is an automatic lifetime ban from that particular casino.

I look at him dumbfounded.

He said that in this case, he is obligated to do something, so he was going to issue me a 30-day ban.

In the office he fills out a piece of paper with my information.

Yet again, I’m asked why I don’t have a middle name.
(Seriously, come on, is my family the only people in the world to NOT HAVE middle names?)

I’m asked about an address and phone I can be contacted yet. Yet again, I go through this entire living situation ordeal again.

Eventually, Ebensburg is put down because should the Pennsylvania State Gaming Control Board need to send me a certified letter, someone needs to sign for it.

Why would they send me a letter?

It was explained that although the casino manager has issued a 30-day ban, when the state gaming board receives the incident report, they may choose to act differently.

For example, they may decide to enact a life-time ban.

I’m told by the nightside security manager that if I don’t receive anything in the mail, then nothing is happening.

With the paperwork complete, another security agent takes my “picture” or “mugshot” for what I’m calling the “Rivers Casino Wall of Shame.”

I go to sign the paper, discover the nightside manager misspelled my last name, correct him, then sign the paper work.

I get my copy and am told the security manager will escort me to the elevators to leave.

The report says:

Reason for Eviction:
“30 day pending. Theft/failure to return lost money in excess of $700.00”

That’s not even remotely 90 percent of the story, as you’ve read above.

I tell him I’m with the other group of people and need to meet with them. He explains that’s why he told me to make plans with them.

Apparently his idea of making plans was different from mine.

He said I could call them.

Well, I didn’t have my cell phone, I had Alyssa’s and Alyssa had mine.

Yet again, another confusing situation to talk through.

The security manager lets me call Alyssa (who has my phone) from his office phone.

He asks what the number is to call. My mind goes blank. “Uh……….”

He replies, “your phone number.”

Oh, that’s right, I’m calling my cell to get a hold of Alyssa.

As the security manager is escorting me away, I overhear on his and on another radio and a situation involving a wallet.

I ask him if that is “involving the wallet I’m involved with,” meaning, are they looking for Zane’s wallet.

Turns out it was a different situation.

Upon being taken to the elevators  I meet with the three others and we are told to have a good night by the security manager and told to promptly leave.

Finally, at almost 1:30 a.m., almost two hours after this ordeal began, we leave.

I leave with a 30-day ban, but $11 richer, Zane leaves without a wallet.

Now, I’m yet to be told I’ve received anything at home in the mail regarding this situation.

The next morning, casino security finds Zane’s wallet with everything in place and the cash still inside. Too bad he had already canceled his cards.

What I've learned...

In one night I learned quite a bit.

The most important thing is, don’t touch anything on the ground at a casino. Only touch what is yours, don’t pick anything up, and if you find something on the ground, simply ignore it or flag down a casino security guard to take it away.

I also learned that I put myself in almost indescribable life situations. Who else has three active address over the span of three months?

I feel as though I probably confused the crap out of everyone questioning me, but I was only telling the truth.

I also found this state gaming security system flawed.

Clearly there is no room to make a mistake. I would like to see something regarding the rules and regulations about casino policy of items on gaming floors or around the casino.

Would I have known picking money up off the floor was illegal, I wouldn’t have done it, even with the intent, that I had of returning it.

I’m also concerned about the report issued by the security manager. The whole story isn’t being told. I don’t know what the gaming control board is going to review. If all they see is that I failed to return lost money and have no idea about the rest of the circumstances, they may very well ban me for life.

I think if that happens, I’ll be seeking a review of my case and challenging the board.

I’m also tempted to call the Rivers Casino for clarification. I’m concerned about being banned for life for an honest mistake.

I’ve checked the Pennsylvania Web dockets and have found my name no where in the criminal system. I’ve also been Googleing my name, and am seeing nothing by social media addresses and CUTV/Cal Times clips coming up.

I also find it funny that when Zane filed his report, according to Zane, Julie and Alyssa, the casino personnel didn’t seem to really care.

Alyssa said it was more as if they were more hell-bent on nailing me for a mistake than taking a report for a missing wall.

Aren’t they essentially the same thing?

I would love to hear your thoughts and responses to this post. Please comment under the “comment” tab at the top of this post.

If you’ve had any issues with any Pennsylvania casino, I’d like to hear about those, too.

I apologize for this taking more than a week to post. I got tied up with extra hours and work and lots of soccer of the weekends.

-M. Stem

15 Responses

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  1. Haha this is absolutely true!!! But you left out a few things, don’t cancel all of your cards if you lose your wallet at the casino. As Marc’s story or as I like to call it, “True Life: I’m Banned from a Casino”, shows anything on the ground can’t be picked up or you will be confronted with casino security. If they seem not to care just make up a ridiculous amount of money in the wallet and it will get the casino security moving much faster. For example, say “OMG I lost my wallet I had soooo many monies in that thing! Yinz guyz neeed to help me find it!” When they ask how much, just say “IT IS EVERYTHING I HAVE”. Thus portraying a Yinzer $20 is actually a lot of money. Kudos on not being banned yet Marc and if you need a witness you have my number.

    P.S. Maybe you should carry around a copy of your birth certificate so people actually see that you don’t have a middle name.

    P.S.S You forgot to mention the numerous times they asked you your weight.


    June 15, 2010 at 18:36

    • the moral of the story is don’t go to casino’s. They can take all your money then u find an eight cent voucher they escort u out the door telling u commited a federal offense in toledo what an asshole . we will never go there again!


      August 18, 2012 at 09:33

      • Yes hollywood casino in toledo,ohio. burning alot of bridges already. they took 10bucks out of a machine of my girlfriends then we watched the slot attendants they go around pulling tickets out of the machine time for the gaming commish. to investigate the tape doesn’t lie!


        August 18, 2012 at 09:38

  2. This was such an incredibly ridiculous evening, I just had to tell my family. My mom told me the security of the casino stalked one of the ladies my grandma was with on a bus trip. Mind you, this lady was in her 80s. The security made a huge scene in the parking garage pulling the lady off the bus… all for what? She took someone else’s ticket that they left in the machine. Who knows how long they were watching her, but really? She’s 80+. Definitely a serious threat…

    And you were right they really could’ve cared less about Zane’s wallet. He never even filled out paperwork for it. I loved trying to explain to the door security men we were looking for our friend… who was in the bac security offices. And we were given a ridiculous blank stares. What a ridiculous place.


    June 15, 2010 at 18:42

  3. Dude. Epically awe-ful. What a bunch of douches. keep us updated on the consequences, if any, and if not we should take a trip there together in the fall whenever i get back from west virginia.

    Samuel Silva

    June 15, 2010 at 21:25

  4. Marc I think you should stay far far away from casinos in general.


    July 2, 2010 at 02:03

  5. Yes, this kind of bullshit is absolutely true. I currently live in the state of Washington where my fiance is currently in jail for taking a ticket out of a slot machine that some stupid woman left in the machine she was playing. She was so stupid she actually thought that the ticket would be in the machine when she got back and maybe she left it in the machine for safe keeping? any body with any brains at all knows better to leave a $620 ticket in a machine because more often than not someone is going to come along and take it and say it must be xmas because oh what a present. And the gd casino believe it or not called the cops on him after the stupid woman came back and whined to the casino personnel that someone had taken her ticket that was in the machine while she was in the bathroom. well no s—- stupid , what do you expect to happen if you are stupid enough to walk away and leave your damn money in the machine.I mean my god, Based on legal technicalities, I call bullshit on the fact that the casino called the cops on him and had him charged with theft. How in the hell can they have him charged with theft when the damn money did NOT even belong to them to begin with??? It was NOT theirs! It belonged to the stupid person who was playing the machine and walked off and left the ticket in the machine. Therefore, if that person is stupid enough to walk away and leave their ticket (money ) in the machine, then too bad, finderskeeeprs. They should have used their damn brains and took the ticket with them when they left. This law is so much bullshit it would be like me walking down the gd street and finding money laying in the middle of the road and then a cop coming along and saying I cant keep it and I have to turn it over to them because the gov owns the road and apparently “someone” left or dropped that money there so I have to surrender it over immediately. BULLSHIT. Get a grip on reality and pull your self righteous selfish greedy head out of your ass. That is WRONG!Just because its laying on the ground of a casino does not make it theirs. If I dropped my wallet on the casino floor and then they saw me on camera pick it up and put it in my pocket , and didnt know where it came from and then proceeded to hunt me down and harrass me etc and / or threatened me with a charge and jail, you better believe I am going to be counterfiling a lawsuit on their ass so fast and so big , it will make their head swim. What they basically harrassing you about is circumstantial evidence which is shaky at best because in order for them to even make it stand up and stick in court they are going to have to have a bunch of witnesses present in court to say that they actually saw you do so and so on that tape etc and when they cant produce them, the stupid charge can be thrown out of court and you can file charges against them for harrassment, pain , suffering diress, etc. I for one wouldnt even put up with this crap. I wouldnt have let them call the cops on me, i would have argued their point like trying to argue the horns off a goat and then I would have threatened them with a lawsuit if they didnt back off and stop violating my constitutional rights.

    :Pamela Robinson

    March 22, 2011 at 13:17

    • i am going threw that now i found a 200 hundred dollar voucher at the sugarhouse casino they eveicted me from the casino told me i committed theft when the ticket was just laying there. i was told i was supposed to had given it to security so now if i dont pay the money back the state troopers say there going to put a warrant out for my arrest. i believe in finders keepers if it were a wallet or sumthing with id then okay but it was laying on a machine…..


      February 9, 2012 at 09:45

    • Hey- sorry to hear about this. BUT there are signs posted in :all of the elevators, by the Bill Breaking Machines all.over the casino that explain what to do if you find money, see a ticket in a machine or find a ticket on the floor. DO NOT TOUCH IT!! you can give the item to ANY casino employee and they will they turn it in. Also, Pennsylvania does not have a “FINDERS KEEPERS” LAW SO….if a ticket is left in a machine and no one comes back for it, leabe it. Eventually a casino slot attendant will grab it or the person will come back. If a casino employee takes the ticket, the money goes back to the state. FOR ANY ONE GOING TO A CASINO FOR THE FIRST TIME: IF YOU DIDN’T WIN IT, DONT TAKE IT. Most slot vouchers have a name attached to them so they can be returned to that person. As for Zack’s wallet, bummer…glad he got it back.


      March 13, 2013 at 11:36

  6. I have been to casinos for years and I think what Pennsylvania has done is silly. On the other hand, I know a lady who will not go to their casinos even though she lives in Pennsylvania. She goes to the Mountaineer in West Virginia because when she loses her husband’s paycheck, she will walk the casino for up to 3 days stealing money left in machines to get it back or enough to get gas money to drive home.

    Jack Jones

    August 9, 2011 at 11:16

  7. just encountered the same situation . Visited sugarhouse casino found a voucher and thought oh shit i found two hundred dollars so played with the mo0ney about three hours later two men approach me asking if i found money this evening i replied yes they stated i needed to come with them they had questions. So i go in the back they started snapping pictures of me asking for my id and i asked whats is this about they alleged i committed voucher theft. So the state troopers come in telling me pay up or be arressted so i say i spent the money and now i have 2 weeks to pay it back or recieve a warrant for my arrest. Really for money i found where are the postings saying its illegall to keep vouchers, cash, chips etc laying on the floor or with no id i always thought finder keepers but no its a crime msuch a rip off……..


    February 7, 2012 at 11:16

  8. my cousin is a lawyer in manhattan on madison ave,and he said FINDERS KEEPERS LOSERS WEEPERS.

    james millar

    January 3, 2013 at 15:32

  9. I agree with u I found a vouch on a slot machine, and used it. It was Sat. Jan 5 I got a letter today. The letter said it was a crime to take a voucher. I don’t know what I was suppose to do, ask all around who’s voucher this is everyone would have said it was their’s. So I called the # I was instructed to call on letter, the officer who was taking care of this was off, I have to call tomorrow, and the officer I talked to wouldn’t give me any info. I have to call first thing in morning to talk to the officer who is handiing this. I am afraid I didn’t steal anything I found a voucher, I don’t thing that is stealing. I will call in morning and return money. The person reported. I really don’t know what is going to happen, I think my picture will be posted and possibly I will not be allowed to go there for awhile not sure if u have any info for me please send it to vazzana17@gmail.com

    anita rickie vazzana

    January 10, 2013 at 17:51

  10. Wow Marc, That’s quite a story. I believe it and I feel for ya for having to go through all that. The rivers casino Is a crooked place over all in my book. I am a regular patron there and my reward for being a regular patron, all they do to me when I go there is rob me blind. This is the case with most anyone anymore lately. I’ve lost $2,500 in 2 weeks and am going to lose my apartment over the low paying slots. I thought the point of a casino was “Having a chance to win”. Not the case with Rivers. Just wanted to give you my insight on the crooks they really are.


    Ryan Bittner

    January 17, 2013 at 20:12

  11. ?I recently picked up a casino voucher off the floor in hard rock casino biloxi worth 5 dollars. And was stopped by security and banned for llife I did not.know the rules for this I thought if. Its on the floor its finderrs keepers. They should put the rules on back of the players cards


    April 10, 2013 at 05:55

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