An ovation for Gary Platt, the man who helped casino customers take a seat By John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports February 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm Pull up a chair and take a seat. There’s someone I want you to meet. His name is Gary Platt. He retired nine years ago at age 85 after working more than half a century in the casino business. By anyone’s measure, the 94-year-old has earned the right to relax. Platt began his career selling stacking chairs to California card clubs for L&B Manufacturing and T.R. King at a time the gambling business was still spending a lot of time looking over its shoulder. In those days, T.R. King was known as a major supplier of casino chips to everything from Elks lodges to outlaw gambling operators. Platt specialized in chairs, and he sold lots of them. Gary Platt with his wife Tut (r) and daughter Alice on his 90th birthday/Courtesy photo During a break while on a business trip to Las Vegas, he pulled up to a blackjack table at a Strip casino and noticed the seat he sat in was uncomfortable and poorly made. For a chair salesman, this was the equivalent of a call to action. His attempt to break into the rapidly growing Las Vegas market led him to Paul Endy, the well-known supplier of green-felt equipment and the head of Paul-Son Dice and Card Company. Endy listened and gave Platt a chance to manufacture a few samples. “They became a good customer for us for (blackjack) stools as well as keno chairs,” Platt recalls. As odd as it may sound to a younger generation, there was a time where casinos offered banks of slot machines in narrow rows, but chairs were harder to find than free money. Customers stood to pull the handles. As Platt recalls, “I knew the players would stay longer if they had a seat, but every time I suggested it, I was turned down because no one could pass down the aisle with a stool.” So he implored Endy to ask one of Paul-Son’s smaller casino customers to take a meeting. Platt convinced the casino operator to allow him to manufacture two-dozen stools and place them on the slot floor. No cost, no obligation. Platt recalls that the gambling boss only agreed to the experiment as a favor to the trusted Endy. Gary Platt and his grand daughter Lily on his 90th birthday. Courtesy photo Two days after the stools were put in place, Platt received a call from Endy with a simple request: How fast could he deliver another 100 slot stools? The coin drop had skyrocketed. It was a small change, something that now seems so obvious. But it made a major difference in the bottom line for each machine. “Soon aisles got wider to accommodate larger, more comfortable stools, and today no casino in the world would have a casino without slot stools,” Platt says. When a Las Vegas novelty game manufacturer with casino customers wanted to bolt a chair in front of his machine, he was rebuffed by the bosses, who didn’t want a hole in their carpet. So Platt went to a metal shop on Industrial Road and designed a boilerplate that essentially attached the stool to the Mercaldi novelty game in what eventually became known as a floor plate. Platt sold a few copies, then hit a jackpot when legendary slot machine king and International Game Technology founder William “Si” Redd saw it. (For more on Redd, read Jack Harpster’s entertaining biography, “King of the Slots.”) Redd, who did nothing in a small way, bought as many as Platt could make at the dawn of the video poker era. Casino customers all over the world can thank Gary Platt for helping to make their gambling experience a little more comfortable. Although I think the guy deserves a standing ovation, he’ll probably understand if you remain seated. John L. Smith is a longtime Las Vegas columnist and author. Contact him at email@example.com. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.