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October 25, 2014

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Gamblers try their luck on Friday the 13th

Few bring superstitions to table on start of long holiday weekend

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Aaron Thompson / Special to the Las Vegas Sun

Gene Gabaldon plays a few dollars on a Megabucks machine at the South Point Casino on Friday, Feb. 13. Gabaldon said he didn’t have any superstitious reasons not to gamble on Friday the 13th because to him, it’s just like any other day.

Feeling lucky on Friday the 13th

Gene Gabaldon puts a few dollars on a Megabucks machine at the South Point Casino on Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. Launch slideshow »

If Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, there was no telling it in local casinos today. The afternoon at Casino MonteLago was moderately busy, pit boss Harry Spero said. It appeared some gamblers opted to stay home while others viewed the day as a good omen.

"It's almost like a 50/50 thing," he said.

One couple in his casino had already won $1,200, Spero said. The day's big loser made no reference to Friday the 13th, he said.

At the South Point, players were more focused on a long holiday weekend that had Valentine's Day as a sweet center rather than the superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th.

The hotel was nearly booked in anticipation of the long weekend, spokeswoman Courtney Fitzgerald said. And patrons played the Megabucks slots and bingo as if the day was ordinary.

"For us it's what we need," Fitzgerald said. "I think as a whole, Las Vegans aren't as superstitious as they used to be, especially the younger generation."

The South Point actively plays to some of those beliefs with the baccarat and pai gow tables bedecked in red and gold — lucky colors in some Asian cultures.

Silverado resident Doug Wilcox, 46, said he considered the day just like any other, but he was open to any possibilities for good fortune.

"It's a ritual of mine every Friday — Friday is payday," he said while playing Megabucks. "I won 1,800 bucks once off this very same machine."

Other gamblers also dismissed the notion that Friday the 13th should be avoided.

"I would play bingo whether it was the 13th or not," Henderson resident Jean Ayres, 78, said.

However, she noted some of her fellow bingo enthusiasts are superstitious, relying on good luck charms during sessions.

"Everybody brings something," she said. "There are a lot of trolls, stuffed animals. I just bring my grandchildren's picture."

But no one she knew chose to stay home on Friday the 13th, she said.

Las Vegas resident Helen Belmonte, 86, was one slot player who considered the day fortunate, but not necessarily by virtue of the number "13."

"I'm winning some money," she said, noting she was up $15. "I think it's a lucky day."

Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].

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