Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Pittsburgh Casino Tasting The Cheat Scams!

Like all new casinos, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh has been getting stung by a variety of scams. The most frequent cheats have been counterfeit money and casino voucher scams. Since the casino opened Aug. 9, state police have investigated a dozen cases of counterfeit money passed inside the facility and about an equal number of cases of stolen cash vouchers.

This is very typical of new casinos. Gambling is usually mixed with alcohol, and there are all kinds of little opportunities for someone to get away with something, and get away with it quickly. There will be scams, and counterfeit bills. But it should become less frequent as the employees get better at spotting it, and the players get smarter. You might call it a learning process.

From the opening day until Monday, more than 23,000 gamblers and diners have gone through the casino doors, and gamblers have wagered more than $73 million. The North Shore casino employs more than 90 private-security officers and nearly 700 surveillance cameras. Several state troopers in plainclothes also work inside the casino. Employees and security guards are trained to spot counterfeit money and suspicious activity.

Someone passed a counterfeit $20 bill in one of the casino's restaurants on opening day, according to state police reports. Casino workers discovered several other $10 and $20 bills suspected to be counterfeit — all of which were turned over to the Secret Service and Treasury Department. Several gamblers have reported they didn't know how to redeem vouchers and walked away from a machine to seek help, leaving their vouchers behind. They returned to find the vouchers missing. In one incident, a 74-year-old gambler on opening day tried to redeem a voucher worth $255 when one man distracted him as another removed the money and walked away. A gambler on Sunday had $71 on a slot machine and walked away — only to return within minutes to find someone had cashed in the credits. Police reported they are reviewing surveillance footage. They made no arrests.