Gunman's life revolved around casinos

LAS VEGAS • Stephen Paddock was known to sit for hours playing slot machines and video poker, gambling with tens of thousands of dollars and earning VIP status and the lavish "comps" that casinos shower on regular high rollers to keep them playing.

He used the perks liberally, indulging in limousine rides, spending complimentary cash on Swarovski crystal jewellery in casino gift shops, and staying in free hotel rooms and suites. His family has said he considered casinos a second home and gambling a retirement profession.

Much is still unclear about his gambling history, but it is clear that casinos in various cities were a big part of his life.

They also were a central aspect of his final act: He carried out the deadliest shooting rampage in modern United States history from a luxury suite on the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino's 32nd floor, from where he shot and killed dozens of people and wounded over 500 on Sunday.

As police closed in on him, he used one of 23 guns he had with him to shoot himself in the mouth. He died in the suite, surrounded by guns, bullet casings and blood.

Those who knew Paddock are perplexed by the extreme violence, but not by his presence in a Las Vegas casino that night.

Dealers, waitresses, security guards, bartenders, drivers and family members said he was a committed gambler who spent much of his time in casinos, playing their slots and video poker games and living in their hotels, sometimes for months at a time.

A person familiar with his gambling history, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was considered a mid-range gambler whose wins and losses were in the tens of thousands of dollars.

"This is a man who clearly enjoyed gambling. He is someone who won and lost money through the years. He paid all of his bills and did so on time... never having any sort of incident. He had the profile of a responsible gambler."

Relatives believe Paddock was worth more than US$2 million (S$2.7 million), making a small fortune from real estate deals and a business that he and his brother sold.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Gunman's life revolved around casinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe