Joe Lombardo Says Stephen Paddock Was on a 2-Year Losing Streak

Stephen Paddock Shooting Motive

Joe Lombardo said Stephen Paddock’s losing streak and loss of status might have had a role in his decision to shoot into a crowd.

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was on a 2-year losing streak leading up to the October 1 massacre outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Vegas Strip. Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed Paddock’s losing streak in an interview with KLAS television, a local Las Vegas station.

In an interview where Sheriff Lombardo described Stephen Paddock as “narcissistic”, depressed, and “status-driven”, the Clark County sheriff said of Paddock’s gambling losses, “I think that might have a determining factor on what he determined to do.”

Joe Lombardo stopped short of blaming Stephen Paddock’s gaming habit on the shooting, but only was willing to say that the gaming losses might have had an effect on the status-conscience high roller’s thought processes. The sheriff said Paddock would wager $10,000 or more a day, and suggested he often lost his betting stake.

“Going in the Wrong Direction”

While talking to a KLAS reporter, Lombardo said he was unsure if Stephen Paddock was a high roller or not. He said, “I don’t know in the casino environment whether he was considered a big gambler or not. I think in his own mind he believed himself to be.”

“If you look at the numbers that he did gamble, he was pretty prolific, but he was going in the wrong direction. So I don’t know if that had any effect on what he decided to do.”

Lombardo said in the interview that a loss of money might have led to a loss of status, both in Paddock’s gambling and non-gaming life. The sheriff said, “Obviously, that was starting to decline in a short period of time, and that may have a determining effect on why he decided to do what he did.”

What Is a Casino High Roller?

Casinos have several classifications for high rollers. A player who wagers $10,000 or more in a single gaming session is considered a premium player. Those who wager $100,000 or more in a session are called “whales”. Both are considered high rollers, but whales are considered of a different magnitude. Their winnings and losses often receive line-items of their own in casinos’ monthly and quarterly earnings reports, able to affect the bottom line with a lucky streak.

In those terms, Stephen Paddock was a high roller, but not of the top level. A status-driven person might have pretensions to higher status which could lead him into dangerous territory when it came to gambling, because of the need to be feted. Casinos almost always have the advantage. The old saying goes, “The casino always wins.”

If Stephen Paddock’s losing streak reached a problem level, that might have added special impetus to the shooting attack. Status-driven narcissists tend to use money to impress people and control them. If such a person began to lose their savings, then it would damage their persona and cause depressive episodes to worsen. Narcissists are not normally suicidal, but they see themselves as special in some way — and want to be seen as special. If a narcisstic, status-driven retiree had lost most of their fortune, their delusions of grandeur might lead them to a violent last act to gain fame — or even infamy.

Eric Paddock on Stephen’s Gambling Lifestyle

Eric Paddock, the brother of the shooter, seemed to confirm that his brother’s gambling was a key part of his personality. Eric described his older brother as a “substantial gambler” who treated his gaming sessions “like a job”.

The brother told the Associated Press, “He won cars and $250,000 checks and all this stuff from the hotel.”

It is common for gamblers to tout their winning sessions while downplaying sessions. With healthy or unhealthy people, it is natural to describe ones big wins and ignore ones big losses, a factor which means casinos and lottery companies often get free publicity.

Stephen Paddock’s Losing Streak

If Stephen Paddock was on a long losing streak, it would not be extraordinary if he still played up his winning moments. To an outsider, these would still seem impressive, even if the gambler knew the truth.

John Weinrich, a former executive at a Reno-based casino Stephen Paddock frequented, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, described a much different picture of Stephen Paddock. Weinrich said the Stephen Paddock he knew did not lead a particularly glamorous lifestyle as a high roller. Sure, he bet a lot, but there was little joy or entertainment value.

The former Atlantic Casino executive said there was “not a lot of smiles and friendliness” when Paddock sat at the high dollar video poker machines. In fact, “There was not a lot of body movement except for his hands,” said Weinrich.

Stephen Paddock’s Lost Fortune

People might think Stephen Paddock’s final extravagence belies the idea he was a problem gambler or he had lost his fortune. People of humble means might think a man who could wire $100,000 to the Philippines is not having money troubles. Someone who can afford a high-priced suite at Mandalay Bay for the better part of the week would not appear to have money issues. Such matters are relative, having to do with one’s perceptions and one’s circumstances.

Shakespeare wrote, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

If Stephen Paddock was used to having a fortune, but that fortune was dwindling, then his perception of his personal finances are more important than the reality of the situation. If a status-driven narcissist was a millionaire once, but he had lost much of that fortune, then he would consider himself poor. For a person who used money to impress and manipulate people, the loss of that money would be a mortal disaster.

Shooting 58 people in cold blood is such a monstrous act, it is unlikely we’ll ever really know what drove Stephen Paddock’s actions. He undoudtedly planned the mass shooting for days, and perhaps even weeks or months in advance. A mass murderer’s actions are psychotic and, by conventional standards, irrational. Sheriff Joe Lombardo admits he and the investigators do not know the real reasons for the murders (yet), though Lombardo said Paddock had no seeming political motives. He expressed lukewarm praise of Donald Trump, but only because the stock market was up.

Sheriff Lombardo’s interview indicates the latest piece of evidence of the Mandalay Bay shooter’s mindset. Lombardo said, “I actually hope we find something in the pathology of his brain that will help us understand this,” but admitted they could not find a convincing motive for why Paddock would amass dozens of weapons since October 2016. An autopsy on Paddock’s brain was ordered, to determine any possible neurological damage.