Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dear Harrington Casino

I am no stranger to your fine gambling establishment.  I've had a player's card with you since I turned 21, my family ran race horses at your track, and I have dinner at your steakhouse about once a month with the food comps you give me. When I graduated college, the summer of 2005, my friends Spike, Karl Spackler, and I would spend one glorious afternoon a week driving out to Delaware in my Explorer, with nothing but Flogging Molly's Within a Mile From Home stuck in the player all summer, just to bet on some horse races and play some slots.  Karl and I were there the night you reopened with table games for the first time.  Needless to say, we've got a history. So, a few weeks ago, when Karl and Spike and my high school friend Jose and I decided to get some gambling in, you were the logical choice.

After a couple of hours, slots had been played, cigars had been smoked, and good times had been had.  Having lost Jose to the abyss of the blackjack table, I began wandering, trying to find where the others had gotten off to.  Lo and behold, Karl was perched on the last stool of a Rapid Roulette game, with Spike a few chairs down.  I pulled out some money, and took a stool.

Rapid Roulette is kind of a funny game.  There is still a croupier to spin the ball, but the table is all computerized so the only time chips enter the equation is when you are being cashed out.

 Unfortunately, that one concession to a human element would be our downfall that night.

Our croupier was most likely a human.  Her name may have been Tina, but I feel that, from appearance alone, it was changed from "Rumple Fugly" in the recent past.  Obviously fresh off of a job skulking under bridges where she ate goats and posed riddles to weary travelers, she did not seem quite adept at this new indoor job.  Several games in, I placed my bet on the computer in front of me, then looked up to watch the ball spin.  Rumple released the ball, but was not quick enough to pull her paw away.  The ball hit her knuckle, and unceremoniously clunked directly into Red 3.  This was not the first time I have seen this happen.  Standard protocol is to declare the game dead, and to respin the ball.  Rumple Fugly stared at her hand, then at the ball, and in a voice that contained all the certainty of a child wandering in on mommy and daddy making love, said "Uh, winner...3."

Immediately, I called foul.  To be fair, I most likely did something more akin to this:

Spike had left the game a few spins previously, and now Karl wished that he had as well.  A seasoned veteran of my public meltdowns, Karl, in the soothing, placating tone of a man dealing with a bear armed with nail gun, instantly began reminding me that your's is a place that we like, and a banning would be a bad thing.  I persevered in the face of reason, proclaiming general malarky to be afoot.  My shrill tones and large words stunned and frightened Rumple.  She looked panicked, and immediately repeated "Nuh uh" to my accusations, that being the classiest way to let someone know you are so far out of your element that you might wet yourself.  She then was quick to get the next game moving.

In any other casino, when I raised my voice to say, "No, I want a Pit Boss", at least security would have come over, but here at Harrington Raceway and Casino, home of the Tic Tac Toe Playing Chicken, I was ignored.  Tina/Rumple successfully spun the new game, with new bets.  I cashed out, found a pit boss, and told them exactly what I saw.  They tried to placate me and told me they were calling the camera operators to review the tape. Obviously, you find the best approach to complaints is to ignore the complainer until he goes away.  Eventually, I proved you right, and went off to sulk.

There were 10 cameras on the table alone, and you refused to make things right.  I did not care about the bet.  It was $1.50.  So what?  I tend to take gambling seriously, and this affair called your integrity severely into question.

Luckily for you, another of your employees came along later to make my night through the most glorious display of unapologetic laziness I have witnessed.  As I sat at a broken slot machine, I watched Spike win back every cent I had lost.  From behind me, the voice of an angel wafted to my ears.

"Do you care if you play that game?"

I turned to find an attractive, twentysomething slot attendant smiling sweetly.  I looked to the broken machine, back to her, and with every ounce of suavity and charisma at my disposal I blurted out, "Nope!"  She dialed up her smile, and chirped cheerfully, "Good!  Then neither do I.  I'll fix it later" which is the best possible way of saying, "Please, don't get up, or else I will have to work."  She then flew off into the clouds like a Valkyrie. That last part may have been wrong, but that is how I remember it.

Anyway, the moral of the story, Harrington, is that through my diseased logic, laziness is fine, but ineptitude is inexcusable.  Most importantly, what you do has no repercussions as long as you are pretty and flirty.

Ok, so the real moral of the story is I am not a good person, so you can keep my money, and I will continue my patronage of your establishment.


  1. Nice post! Once I was at Charles Town Casinos with some friends about 12 years ago. I was playing at the slots near the cash out line waiting for my friends to hurry up so we could go to the Golden Horseshoe. I continued to pump quarters into this machine but kept losing and this old lady with troll dolls and other luck charms came over and played the one next to me. I kept losing, she kept winning. Finally, I look over to her and tell her I think she's bad luck. Within about two minutes, I was escorted out. I was only joking; good grief!

    1. They really don't play around alot of times. That seems fairly extreme, but it was probably your bad luck that she was maybe a high roller that can't take a joke.

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  3. So. many. stories. about. harrington.
    The last time I went, I had trouble navigating the parking lot(at like 2pm on a wednesday). I was looking for like a back exit or something, drove through an open fence and was on the f*cking racetrack. No one was around, no one came running. I got scared and hightailed it outta there. Next time, I'm going around that bitch.

  4. I'm 30, lived here my whole life, never heard anything good about that place except from gambling addicts who drop their paychecks there every week in exchange for a free dinner voucher once a month. No promotions or discounts. Promotion for new players is "go lose 20 dollars and we'll give you a voucher for $10". Stupid, might as well just give them $10. Confusing parking lot. Horrible customer service. They're answer to every question is " the best way to learn is to play" That's stupid, I'm not going to play if you refuse to explain the rules. Expensive food and beverage prices. I haven't heard of anyone winning any substantial amount and unfortunately I know several people that drop all their money there. I live right down the street for 30 years, been there twice, don't plan on going again.


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