When your face is plastered on big-screen TVs and people are pumping money into your slot machine, what's a few germs?
As he closed out his act at Hard Rock Live Monday night, Howie Mandel invited the crowd of 4,000 or so to head over to the adjacent Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
"I'm serious, I'll be there," he said. "Everybody come over."
Then America's most famous germophobe led a throng into the casino, slipped on a pair of latex gloves and sat down for a few spins at his Deal or No Deal machine, patterned after his game show.
He headed to the high-limit room, then was escorted by Hard Rock security on the main floor, where the 10-foot display version of the game featuring his image anchors one corner of the slot floor.
Visitors from the show enthusiastically cheered him but kept their hands to themselves: Mandel, who has mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs), doesn't like shaking hands or even touching everyday objects, his fans know.
"Don't touch Howie! Don't touch Howie!" some fans warned along the way.
On the main slot floor, he watched the Hard Rock's Ashley Svarney give a microphone a rigorous Purelling, and he smiled as she protected her hands by holding the microphone in a napkin as she handed it to him. He gave a brief play-by-play of the machine, calling out the models by name as they appeared on the screen, then security helped him fight through the crowd of gamblers-turned-smartphone-photographers and he was gone.
The Deal or No Deal slot machine, which came out in 2009, has been a hit in casinos nationwide, with images of Mandel and models flashing above the machines on five 46-inch LCD screens. During the bonus round, players select suitcases for free spins as has been documented in some YouTube videos.
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