Ever wondered how some people manage to scam casinos out of pretty hefty sums of money? We’ve compiled a top 10 list for you to be shocked or amazed at.
Needless to say, some scams were done without actually breaking the rules, while others went to the length of employing all kinds of gadgets and complicated schemes in order to trick the casino systems. As you read on you will discover that some of these tricksters were indeed pretty nifty in their deception. Some of them even got away with it Scott-free, while others were not so lucky.
1. The Pack Scam
We know we promised recent, but, this scam that took place in France in 1973, but was too good not to mention. The con took place at the Casino Deauville, and the scammers almost got away with roughly $1 million. The team was comprised of three members: a corrupted roulette dealer, his sister, and the sister’s husband.
Funny enough, although you wouldn’t suspect it, the whole sting was based on technology. The dealer, who was passionate about radio technology, created a transmitter and placed it into a pack of cigarettes. He also turned the roulette ball into a receiver and all that was left to do is have the brother-in-law place bets at his table. The brother-in-law placed the bet, the sister pressed the transmitter button, and the dealer simply waited for the ball to hit the right number in order to cash out in favor of the player.
Although officials became apprehensive and decided to investigate the whole incident, they were unable to pinpoint how the con was being pulled off. They even called in the big-guns and for weeks on end tried to uncover what they suspected was a dirty dealer trick. In the meantime, the team of cheats continued their ruse.
The scam was uncovered thanks to the casino owner. He took an interest in the dealer’s sister and when he was refused he noticed the coincidence of her always sitting at a nearby table each and every time her brother was dealing. He suspected some radio interference was at stake and sure enough, after sweeping the casino, exposed the smart devices developed by the dealer.
2. Dealer Dealings
30 card counters and one gang leader were needed to scam $7 million from 25 casinos across the US. The frontrunner, named Phuong Quoc Truong, somehow managed to convince dealers to cheat for him. Aided by the security surveillance footage, the gang was eventually caught and convicted. But, let’s take a look at how they did it.
Being part of the scam, of course, the dealer would pretend to shuffle the cards. Knowing that the deck remained in the same order the main gambler would identify the cards to an outside player through the use of a microphone. He would then give a signal by placing his fingers in certain ways on the cigarette he was bluff-smoking. The outside player then knew what bet to place.
3. The Dead Brothers
No, they were not two brothers who came back from the dead to take revenge on the casino industry. The culprits made a clean getaway with well over $37 million in cash from casinos in Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and Nevada. Their weapon of choice? Identity theft! After using $50.000 of their own money, the mysterious so called siblings were aided by associates that would win while they seemed to be losing.
In this manner they were able to scam the casinos for five long years without the officials taking any notice. The computer hacker that the brothers had employed would steal identities from people with perfect credit. Casino credits would pour in after opening accounts with the stolen names.
After cashing in big in 2000 at the Las Vegas casinos, it appears the brothers have decided to retire with all the stolen loot. The deception was so well thought out that it took FBI agents another six months after the fact to even realize an infraction had been committed. At this time they also discovered that the so called Roselli brothers, as the duo so cleverly entitled themselves, had in reality been dead for years.
4. The Scam That Got Away
As it seems that most cons are better performed and more profitably split three-ways, this next trio swindled £1.3 million by making use of laser tech. Through the help of the “sector targeting” theory they were able to determine the most likely set of possible hits concerning what numbers the ball would hit. Fitting their phones with laser scanners, the offenders would scan the ball and have a computer determine, by judging the speed of the ball, which number it was more likely to rest on.
Luckily for them, after being arrested, it was concluded they could not be charged, simply because “sector targeting” is not considered a manner of cheating. Thus, not only did the trio get away without an offender record, but they also got to keep their winnings.
5. Baccarat Cutter Gang
In 2011, the self-entitled “Cutter Gang” was caught at the Cosmopolitan Casino in Las Vegas for suspiciously sweeping up winnings of over $1 million at the baccarat table. The group flawlessly manipulated the system by using it against itself. Accepting the standard deck cutting option after the shuffle, a player would drag the “cutting card” and divide the cards before inserting it back in the deck.
There was more to the scheme than met the eyes. The same player made use of a miniature camera concealed in one of his cufflinks which allowed him to see the card values. He would then leave the table unsuspected and passed the info along with the camera to one of his fellow team players. Although caught, they walked away free because the authorities were not able to prove any transgressions. After being caught again, this time in the Philippines, the team went completely underground and has not been sighted since.
6. French-Italian Contact Lenses
The Price Casino in Cannes took a blow of €64.000 in 2011 when a team of four, one from France and three Italians, started winning big at poker. The method they used was indeed original. First off, they had the Frenchman mark the Aces and Kings with invisible ink. The Italian players, equipped with special contact lenses that allowed them to see the ink, would then place their bets and continue to cash in substantial returns.
Sure enough the winning streak was noticed by casino officials and this immediately resulted with an investigation. The police discovered the card markings but couldn’t figure out how the crooks were able to distinguish them without the use of a camera. The cheats ended up with years to spend behind bars as soon as it became clear the contact lenses they were wearing were not your usual “I’m blind as a bat” type of lenses.
7. Roulette Ring
Roulette scams come in all shapes and sizes and can happen in your own backyard casino. Assumed to have been comprised of anywhere between 50 and 70 people, this crime ring really hit casinos hard in the summer of 2012. Ohio casinos were left minus a yet undetermined, but assumed to be high, sum of money. Four men were caught and sentenced, but sure enough, their accomplices got away.
The method engaged by these scoundrels was a rather simple yet a “slight-of-hand” type, possible only while skillfully distracting the dealer. Entering the game with low bets, some of the players would pocket chips of a certain color and then pass them on to accomplice players from another table that would then assign a new value to them. Picking up between $1,000 and $2,000 per table, it was clear that the offenders had gathered a rather big jackpot, although police was not able to discover how much money they had swindled, or the identities of their other partners in crime.
8. The ATM Minute Scam
Rather inventive and removed from the casino scene, we give you the story of how money can be stolen from casinos without the perpetrator having stepped inside once. The Citibank casino kiosks across California and Nevada were ransacked by a team of schemers hell-bent to causing a big gash in the gambling industry.
Ara Keshishyan, later found to be the ring leader, put together a team after having found a loophole in the kiosks security system. The collaborators would visit casinos in Las Vegas and across Southern California and use the kiosks to extract up to ten times the sum of money deposited. Because FBI takes notice of withdrawals higher than $10,000, they were careful not to reach this limit.
Eventually all this scheming caught up with them and Keshishyan found himself behind bars with a sentence of 30 years in prison. A $1 million fine was required and seeing as he was charged with 14 counts of bank fraud, we are willing to bet that the team quickly became bankrupt.
9. Australian Ocean’s Eleven
His identity still unknown, an Australian man cheated the Crown Casino in Melbourne for a $30 million cashout. The scheme was simple: hack into the surveillance system aided by a partner and place your bets. The casino was reluctant to reveal details about the crime, understandably enough, and interested parties resorted to a casino consultant that was able to deduce what may have happened.
The bit about hacking into the surveillance system turned out to be the most plausible explanation and the con artist may have been carrying an ear piece through which he was receiving information on winning or losing bets. Taking into account that the cash gash was of huge proportions for the casino, they are still hoping to recuperate their losses. The mysterious player has not been identified yet.
10. Edge Sorting Scam
The championship poker player Phil Ivey Jr. has twice been indicted with cheating his way to a win at the baccarat table. In 2014 the famous player amounted a sum of $9.6 million at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. He had been accused of “edge sorting” by which players spot and memorize flaws on certain cards to later use them to their advantage.
Ivey has been sued by the hotel for unlawful gambling and despite denying allegations, considering this is the second time around, he might be facing some real time in jail.
This concludes our list of amazing but true and recent gambling scams. We found the information to be quite entertaining and hopefully, so will you.