A cache of newly released FBI documents reveals Stephen Paddock, the gambler who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history in Las Vegas in 2017, may have harbored resentment over how he and other high rollers were treated by casinos.
The heavily redacted documents – which include hundreds of pages of investigation records, evidence inventories and interviews with people who knew Paddock – also provide a fuller picture of the gunman’s obsessive gambling habits.
Still, the investigative documents never arrive at a definitive motive.
The FBI opened its investigation the day after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest music festival and closed it more than a year later, announcing it had found no clear motive for Paddock’s attack.
Though the FBI said in 2019 Paddock’s actions were not driven by a grievance against any particular casino or hotel, one fellow gambler interviewed by investigators after the attack said Paddock had become angry about how casinos generally dealt with VIP players.
The gambler, whose name is redacted, told the FBI Paddock was “upset at the way casinos were treating him and other high rollers” and he believed the frustration could have caused the gunman to “snap,” according to the documents.
The gambler said while casinos typically treated high rollers to perks like free cruises and flights, he believed the venues’ approach to such players had changed in the years leading up to the shooting, including banning them from some hotels or casinos, the documents said.
Paddock had been banned from three casinos he frequented in Reno, Nevada, the gambler said.
The gambler also believed the Mandalay Bay “was not treating Paddock well because a player of his status should have been in a higher floor in a penthouse suite.”
Due to the redactions, it is unclear how the gambler knew Paddock.
Gunman was a ‘prolific video poker player’
In order to become the priority player he believed he was, Paddock had spent – and lost – exorbitant amounts of money at casinos, according to people interviewed by the FBI.
The fellow gambler told investigators Paddock had a bankroll of about $2 million to $3 million, the documents said.
He would regularly play for six to eight hours a day at casinos, and sometimes as many as 18 hours a day, the gambler said.
Investigators also spoke with a woman who worked at the Tropicana Las Vegas casino and resort – just down the Strip from the Mandalay Bay – who said Paddock would visit about every three months, according to the documents.
She described Paddock as a “prolific video poker player” who would only want to discuss gambling when they talked, the documents said.
During a three-day stay at the casino in September 2017, Paddock lost $38,000, she told the FBI.
Real estate agents told CNN in 2017 Paddock said his income came from gambling and he gambled about $1 million a year. He paid $369,022 in cash for the home they sold him in 2014, the agents said.