NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Rick Harrison about a multitude of topics, one of which was the best nights for business. Harrison responds it’s fight nights, when hundreds of thousands of fans flock to Las Vegas to bet on it. “Someone has to lose,” he says. “I don’t know what it is about fight fans. They always bet more than they can afford to lose.”
In fact, Harrison says after fights, fans sometimes line up down the block waiting to trade their jewelry for cash. You may wonder where all this jewelry goes and Harrison’s response is pimps.
“When you get arrested for pandering, they take your cash — because the cash was obtained illegally — but they don’t take away your jewelry,” Harrison explains. “And a pimp knows that if he buys jewelry in a pawn shop, if [he] brings it back to a pawn shop and gets a loan against it, [they’ll] always get half of what you paid for it — as opposed to buying it in a jewelry store, when [they] don’t know what [they’re] going to get.”
This is actually rather savvy on the pimp’s part. Harrison then expanded on his previous response. “So, when they get arrested, they will always have someone bring their jewelry down to me. I will loan them half of what they paid for it — and that’s their bail money.”
It’s a veritable circle of life: people pawn off jewelry for gambling money which pimps buy as insurance in case they get arrested.
Rick Harrison Explains Why ‘Pawn Stars’ Team Document Every Customer’s Info And Turn It In To Police
Being in Las Vegas, Rick Harrison has to be cautious with the goods that come in and the people he deals with. While not publicly known, Nevada regulates pawn shops closely, which is why he and his crew document every customer’s info and give it to the police.
“Most people don’t realize how regulated the pawn industry is, especially where I’m at in Nevada,” Harrison states. On the contrary, taking someone’s ID isn’t nearly enough. Rick takes note of many physical features and turns said info to the police.
“When I take something in pawn or I buy something, I just don’t take (an) ID. I take their driver’s license number, their height, their weight, their eye color, their build. I turn that into the local police department, and then I also turn it into Homeland Security. It’s part of the Patriot Act, and that goes to a central database online across the United States that checks for stolen items.”
Understandable since buying stolen items can sometimes lose you tens of thousands of dollars.