Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Was $1.5 Million Armed Bellagio Casino Heist Really Worth It?

Actaul surveillance pic of robber
If you haven't heard, a guy wearing a motorcycle helmet and brandishing a hand gun walked into the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas yesterday and robbed a craps table at gunpoint before walking back out the door and hopping on his motorcycle and burning rubber out of Dodge. The only problem is that the $1.5 million or so he stole was not in cash...nor was it in checks or any other negotiable instruments. It was in casino chips. That's right, casino chips. And if you're thinking, "Well, how the hell is the guy gonna cash 'em all out?", you're right, he's got a problem...a BIG problem. And that a fair proportion of these chips were the highest denomination chips on the casino floor and very rarely in players' possession (those being $25,000 chips) makes the problem even BIGGER!

So, how the HELL is this guy gonna cash out those chips?

He's not...that's the answer, especially for any chips above the $1,000 denomination, which, given the fact that all the chips he robbed fit into the sack he carried along with gun, had to be most of them. Whatever $100 and $500 chips he bagged, he will be able to cash out fairly easy in the Bellagio because the casino sees tons of big action and lots of circulation of those denomination chips. For the $1,000 chips he'd best use cohorts to break them down into $500 and $100 chips at craps and other tables (why not the same table he robbed? LOL) and then cash them out at the casino cages.

But $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 chips? Forget, buddy, they are going to be nothing more than collectors' items, and not the kind that priceless stolen artworks are. No mysterious and secretive collector is gonna pay squat for those big Bellagio humdinger chips. And what's more: after a period of time, probably a few years at the most, the Bellagio, like all casinos cyclically do, will discontinue its current series of casino chips and replace them with a new one with a new design. At that time, exactly 120 days after the chip-changeover, ALL Belagio's chips will be unredeemable.

And forget about cashing them out at other casinos in Vegas. All casinos will be on the lookout for people trying to cash out or exchange Bellagio chips.

So back to the question "Was it worth it?"

Absolutely not! The most this guy and whatever partners he may have had are gonna get out of this heist is probably ten or twenty grand--not much for risking a ten-year prison sentence--at least.

Regular non-violent casino cheating is much more lucrative--believe me!