While gambling is a once in a while event for people like me, it is something many people spend a ton of money on each and every year. On Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013, those sitting behind slot machines and at tables hoping for that big win were surprised to find themselves left in the dark after a power outage swept through the San Diego casino they were occupying.
Known as Sycuan Casino and located in El Cajon, Calif., the game center heavily depends upon power to run its thousands of slot machines and video poker. Thus, patrons were not too happy when they found themselves twiddling their thumbs in the dark mid-afternoon on the annual day in which we recognize the most courageous humans on this earth; mothers.
Unsure of what to do and not wanting to leave the machine they had already pumped cash into, various gamers situated on the top level of the two-story casino patiently waited for the power to be restored, which didn’t actually happen until 5 p.m..
Angel Patterson posted to Facebook (News - Alert) around 2 p.m. Sunday, “I'm sitting in the dark at Bingo.”
After the lights went down, employees at the casino were swarmed by visitors in hopes of being refunded their money that was lost in the machine during the outage. However, “the casino could not cash any ticket over $100 so employees told customers to come back another day and get their tickets redeemed for cash. Eventually, bank managers opened the casino vault and began cashing tickets,” a recent report from NBC San Diego revealed.
“Had to leave because atms and cashier closed,” Judy Butson Gray, an obviously frustrated casino goer wrote on her own Facebook page. “Lucky we got to eat! SUCKED!!!!”
What could be worse than losing power in a casino on Mother’s Day? How about the fact that because of the once-a-year event, the casino has been running as special deal that involved bingo and a buffet style meal? Needless to say, even more individuals than usual who were feeling lucky flocked to the facility to take advantage of the great promotion.
After the event, San Diego Gas & Electric was forced to shut off power to almost 1,132 customers throughout the Crest, Alpine, Dehesa, Granite Hills and Harbison Canyon area due to the fact that a sensor was showing there was a fault in an SDG&E line that needed to be repaired immediately.
So, what could have been done to ensure this power outage never happened at all? First a reliable power protection plan should have been put in place before the casino’s doors ever even opened to the public. Bill Allen, marketing director at power protection specialist Minuteman Power Technologies stated, “There’s a long list of reasons why it is absolutely critical that casinos have a comprehensive back-up power plan. That list starts with customer safety and security and includes revenue losses, customer inconveniences, re-start and recovery time, along with customer liability issues.”
“Remember that power blackouts are not the only potential hazard that can damage any type of electronic equipment inside a casino – there’s surges and spikes that can cause irreparable damage, not to mention brownouts that can cause electrical devices to lock up,” Allen said.
Having a comprehensive power protection plan can pay huge dividends in preventing unhappy customers, avoiding lost revenue, and eliminating large costs related to restoring and recovering systems. Minuteman Power Technologies has successfully assisted numerous casinos in developing a solid backup power strategy, ranging from security systems to IT and telecom functions, plus gaming devices.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey