Friday, October 17, 2008
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.
A table games dealer who worked at Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi was arrested Saturday for allegedly cheating the casino. David Smith, 50, of Marina Avenue in Ocean Springs, was arrested on a felony charge of violating the Mississippi Gaming Code. He was caught defrauding the Hard Rock Casino by placing winning bets for players on his roulette game after the ball already landed. His move was skillfull as he already had the players´ chips in his hand and then laid them on the winning number as he placed the roulette dolly on it. The move, which I can tell you from experience as an ex-roulette dealer, is quite difficult to perform, and when it is performed well it is very difficult to spot, even from the eye in the sky.
Smith was taken to the Harrison County jail by agents of the Mississippi Gaming Commission and released on $5,000 bail. Apparently this type of cheating was confined to Hard Rock Casino. The Mississippi Gaming Commission alerted all other area casinos to be on the lookout for the roulette scam.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I never thought Brits were any good at casino cheating. They're always getting caught trying to get on with really rank amateurish cheat moves. In fact, just by the sound of the British term for pastposting, "top-hatting," I could never take the Brits' attempts at doing this very seriously. I have done many interviews for UK television and print media, and it is hard to believe how little is actually accomplished by UK casino cheat teams, although let it be said that UK casino staffs are the sharpest of the sharpest when it comes to protecting their table games. I always considered it a challenge to take off London casinos, where inside some there is an inspector sitting in a high chair above every single roulette wheel. You can imagine some of the diversion techniques my casino pastposting teams had to use!
Here's an article covering the ill-fated UK "top-hatting" (LOL) team
A Roulette cheat from Manchester who was part of a gang that used bogus identities to sneak into casinos has escaped jail.
But Robert Evans, 36, from Broadlea Road, Burnage, was banned from every casino in the country for two years.
Evans, a tutor, was given a 48-week suspended jail sentence after admitting three false ID offences and must also complete 160 hours of community service.
The gang, led by Anthony Lopez, 42, also included 33-year-old Danny Ngo.
The trio were sentenced at a hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court.
Police said thousands of pounds had been made through the trio's scam known as 'top hatting'. This involves secretly placing a chip on to the winning number while distracting staff monitoring the game.
Officers believe the three made a 'substantial amount'.
Ringleader Lopez, of south-west London, also wrote a manual for the other cheats, with instructions on how to carry out the top hatting move and obtain false identification papers.
After being banned from a number of casinos, the trio used the false identities to gain entry to other gambling places.
Police monitored the gang operating at branches of Gala Casino in London and Stockport but believe other casinos were duped. The three were arrested in July and August last year.
When their homes were searched, numerous false identity documents were uncovered as well as some crack cocaine.
Lopez, a landlord from Wimbledon, pleaded guilty to three offenses under the Fraud Act 2006, eight offenses against the Identity Cards Act 2006 and three counts of possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.
He was jailed for three-and-half years.
Unemployed Ngo, of Birmingham, pleaded guilty to four offenses under the Fraud Act 2006 and two against the Identity Cards Act 2006.
He was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years. He is also subject to a supervision order for two years and excluded from casinos for two years.