Stephen Paddock Chased Gambling’s Payouts and Perks
That the attack was launched from a glassy tower of one of Las Vegas’s most prestigious casinos was not a coincidence. A defining aspect of Mr. Paddock’s life involved gambling, and he hungered for the kinds of rewards that only the Las Vegas Strip could provide.
Just three days before he opened fire from the Mandalay Bay, he was seen playing video poker in its casino.
Mr. Paddock was not widely known among the city’s serious gamblers, operating at a level below the highest rollers. He was not a whale, the term used for the biggest gamblers. But placing bets of $100 or more in video poker, “this guy was gambling high,” said Anthony Curtis, a former professional gambler and currently the owner and publisher of Las Vegas Advisor, a website covering the casino business.
Mr. Paddock once owned and managed an apartment complex near Dallas, and he has been described by some as a wealthy retiree. People who knew him were under the impression that he was a profitable gambler, or that he at least won often enough to make his casino lifestyle worthwhile.
According to a person who has reviewed Mr. Paddock’s gambling history, and who requested anonymity because the information was part of an active police investigation, dozens of “currency transaction reports,” which casinos must send the federal government for transactions greater than $10,000, were filed in Mr. Paddock’s name. Mr. Paddock had six-figure credit lines at casinos that afforded him the chance to make big sums in long sit-down sessions, and he was known as someone who always paid his accounts. His rooms were often comped, meaning given to him free, including this past weekend at Mandalay Bay, according to the person familiar with his history.
He was there to play, not to party. The night before the shooting, Mr. Paddock made two complaints to the hotel about noise coming from his downstairs neighbors: Albert Garzon, a restaurant owner visiting from San Diego, and his wife and friends. Mr. Garzon, who was staying in 31-135, directly beneath Mr. Paddock, said security guards knocked on his door around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday and asked him to turn down his music, country songs. When he asked where the complaint was coming from, pointing out that the nearest rooms on either side were far away, the security guard said, “It’s the guest above you.”
They turned the music down, but had another visit from different security guards half an hour later. The man had called to complain again. Mr. Garzon turned the music off. It wasn’t until the early hours of Monday that Mr. Garzon realized Mr. Paddock had been the complainer.