Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was gambling up to $30,000 a day in the weeks leading up to Sunday night’s deadly massacre, according to police.
An anonymous source told the Associated Press the gunman got the two-room suite at Mandalay Bay for free because he routinely wagered tens of thousands of dollars in the casino. There was no record available of whether he won or lost, but Paddock reportedly texted his brother recently after winning $40,000 on a slot machine.
Remembering better times, younger brother Eric Paddock struggled to conceive of how his brother could have killed 58 innocent concertgoers, injuring more than 500 others, before killing himself.
“He was a wealthy guy and he liked to play video poker and he liked to go on cruises,” the gunman’s brother told reporters gathered outside his home in Orlando, Florida.
Paddock told People magazine his brother started gambling when he retired.
“It’s like a job for him. It’s a job where you make money,” said Paddock, who claimed his brother could lose $1 million without detrimental effects. “He was at the hotel for four months one time. It was like a second home.”
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, issued a statement read by her attorney outside the FBI office in Los Angeles on Wednesday. It confirmed Paddock bought her a ticket to the Philippines and wired her $100,000 to buy a house there.
“It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”
She had told family members that she feared the impromptu trip and money was his way of breaking up with her.
According to Business Insider, Danley told neighbors in his Mesquite, Nevada, retirement community that Paddock was a professional gambler. Neighbors said he would “disappear for days at a time to visit casinos.”
Indicative of his commitment to gambling, Paddock was a frequent enough high-stakes player at Caesars properties to earn a Seven Stars status, the highest level of players club rewards, which awards these customers with benefits such as comped rooms and meals, cruise tickets, and wine tasting tours.
According to the Washington Post, neighbors say Paddock was worth more than $2 million dollars, the result of real estate investments made with his brother. He left Central Florida for Mesquite two years ago to “feed his video-poker habit,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. His new home was a little more than an hour away by car from the Las Vegas Strip.
Paddock filed a $100,000 negligence lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan hotel and casino in 2012, after he slipped and fell in the hotel a year earlier. Security video shows him losing his footing in a puddle on a casino pathway towards the casino’s high stakes area, and receiving medical attention before being carried away on a stretcher.
Paddock lost the case and still owed $270 in court fees when he killed himself and 58 others on Sunday in the worst mass shooting in modern US history.