As the old saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This is certainly a very positive and encouraging saying, but it can be used for anything positive or negative, legal or illegal. When there are large amounts of cash involved, there is always a will, a will to possess those large amounts of cash; when there is a will, there’s a way…to cheat.
Casinos, clearly, have been and continue to be the target of many cheating attempts. This month we are going to take a quick peek at the most famous casino scams of all time. Despite the fact that these acts are illegal, they really are fascinating; people go to ingenious lengths to steal money from casinos. We’ll start with the least of the most impressive and go to the most impressive in this three-part segment on the greatest casino scams of all time.
One technique that has been used for a long time is called dice sliding, and it is used for dices games, mainly Craps. Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control agent who is now a gaming consultant, was interviewed for the Las Vegas Sun two years ago for an article on the topic of casino scams and cheaters. Basically, the idea is to narrow the possible dice combinations by making one of the dice slide on one of its sides, thus not changing the number. The other dice is allowed to roll freely and randomly.
This may not seem like much, but just by limiting one die to just one number, the possible dice combinations are reduced from 36 to 6, making the odds drastically better. The bettors, then, bet on those six possible combinations. This method does, however, require two or more people blocking the view. In October 2012 Wynn Las Vegas filed a lawsuit against two Argentinian gamblers who allegedly were sliding dice to win $700,000.
Switching cards in Blackjack
Executing this technique is a little more complicated than dice sliding because this one requires flawless teamwork. The concept is simple; the cheating partners each look at their Blackjack hands and decide which cards they want to switch.
The execution of this technique is not so simple. Sleight of hand and stealth are the keys to its success, however, this is an old trick and casinos can spot it in a heartbeat. Zender said in the interview that back in the early 1980s there was a couple of men, Robert Aisle and John Dixon, who began utilizing this strategy. They would sit side-by-side and remove one card from their hand stealthily while placing the other card of the hand under their table wager to simulate two cards. Then, they would switch the card they removed and replace the card under the first one. The goal was to make the strongest hand possible between their two hands. This one also usually involves people distracting, acting as lookouts, or blocking the view.
The Australian Baccarat Scam
This is one amazes us simply for the next-to-impossible act of stealing a card out of a casino deck! Who does that? Well, one person in Australia thought it would work.
In the Jupiter Casino on the Gold Coast this scam was almost pulled off. It was pulled during a mini-baccarat game that was played in the “member’s only” section of Club Conrad at the casino. One of the players stole one of the cards in order to manipulate the results. Because of this, the people at the table raked in $700,000. But before the first bank transfer was made, the casino’s suspicion was raised; they stopped the transfer and harshly scrutinized the situation.
Long story short, all the players were sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The Ritz Roulette scam
This one is impressive for two reasons: 1. The ingenuity of the cheaters and 2. Even after being caught, they had all charges dropped and were allowed to keep their winnings.
A Hungarian woman and two Serbian men employed a laser scanner linked to a computer that would scan the roulette wheel and calculate with 90% accuracy, judging by the speed of the wheel and the ball, which numbers were likely to come up. The computer was concealed inside a cell phone and had an earpiece that would inform them of the zone the ball would land in. The scammers would have the device scan the wheel, receive the deduction, and place their bets all before the wheel had gone around three times, which is protocol. In short, this little scam landed the team 1.3 million British pounds.
This little scam also got them arrested and their funds frozen. After studying the case, the BBC News website released a short article with the opening line reading, “A group of gamblers who won more than £1m at the Ritz Casino in London by using laser technology have been told by police they can keep their winnings.” Apparently, they got off free! Unbelievable!
There is plenty more were these come from. We are just getting started listing the greatest casino scams of all time. Check out next week’s Part 2 of Greatest Casino Scams.