Friday, October 17, 2008

Man Caught Cheating At Roulette in Iowa Casino!

After busting a man who was probably not very skilled at cheating casinos, a table games director at the Greyhound Park & Casino in Dubuque, Iowa, has decided to mouth off about his view on casino cheats. After listening to what he had to say, I think I might catch the next bus to Iowa!...if you get what I mean!

Gaming officials contend that they caught a Florida man cheating at Riverside Casino this week, a scenario casino authorities say is highly uncommon.

David Esau, the director of table games at Greyhound Park & Casino in Dubuque, said the facility "virtually never" experiences cheating scandals. In addition, Tim Sammons, the special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, estimated that Riverside filed criminal charges against only three or four individuals for cheating in the past year.

"The reason is it's a Class D felony," Sammons said. "It doesn't matter if you cheat with a quarter, or a dollar, or $25."

On Tuesday, police arrested and charged 25-year-old Jose Polanco-Osvaldo of West Palm Beach with claiming winnings without a wager or more than the wager, a Class D felony. Officials said the casino's surveillance personnel allegedly observed Polanco-Osvaldo attempting to cheat at the roulette table by placing chips on winning bets after the spinning ball dropped into the slot denoting the winning number.

Three others are suspected of assisting Polanco-Osvaldo in his attempts, although officials are not releasing their names.

Despite what some may think, Esau said cheating is rare, thanks to state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and other security measures. It can be difficult to cheat, he said, noting that attempted roulette scams are the most common.

Sammons, however, took a different approach.

"It's very easy to cheat at probably any game if you put your mind to it," he said. The challenge is outsmarting the dealer, security personnel, and the "eye in the sky" - surveillance cameras.

These cameras watch the game from all angles, making it even more difficult to successfully pull off a scam.

But Sammons said if a casino ever mistakenly loses money, it's most likely not attributed to a successful cheater. Instead, it's considered a simple mistake.

"What we see more of is human error, where a dealer may overpay you," he said. "It's just through repetition all day long. They've been there eight hours."

Sammons attributed Polanco-Osvaldo's arrest on Tuesday to the surveillance operators, who he said performed "very diligently."

Polanco-Osvaldo's preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 29.