There’s an old saying that goes something like “starting a casino is like printing your own money” and, for the most part, this seems to be a lot closer to true than not. With the launch of the first online casinos back in the mid-nineties, that old saying received a new lease on life, as the virtual (online) casino industry boomed.
So, it doesn’t really sound like there’s a downside to owning a casino, regardless of whether that establishment is a traditional brick and mortar concern, or a virtual one. However, what if there was a downside and it took the form of a bunch of clever, inventive, gutsy and sometimes dangerous individuals and syndicates, all hell-bent on taking the casino for everything they can?
This is any and every casinos worst nightmare, the clever plot, the conniving scheme to stick it back to the house. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at three of the most audacious scams that have taken place in casinos that stretch from good old Las Vegas all the way to the Great White North in Canada.
- Roulette Switch – Big Apple Style
So, as the title of our first entry to our top 5 most audacious casino scams from Vegas to Canada hints at, we begin with a little New York story. Actually, the casinos that got scammed here weren’t in the Big Apple but a little further west, in Ohio.
According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, a syndicate consisting of up to seventy members worked their way through a number of top casinos. Working in teams, one member would place a low value bet at a roulette table, then slip a few chips of a certain colour in their pocket while another member distracted the croupier.
The chips would then be passed on to another member who would then play at a new table, assigning a higher value to the colour chips and cashing out at a higher rate. According to the commission, the scam was valued at around $1,000-$2,000 per scam (per casino), not too bad!
- Cutting Cards
A rather ingenious casino scam took place at several Las Vegas casino in and around 2011. A group of scammers, known as the ‘Cutter Gang’, worked out a rather clever and high-tech way to gain an unfair advantage at the baccarat tables.
The gang used a precise technique to cut the cards (allowed in baccarat) and film certain revealed cards through micro cameras hidden in their sleeves. However, the gang’s luck ran out at the Cosmopolitan Casino in Vegas, where they were apprehended and held, pending further criminal investigation.
- Canada’s Casino Rama Drama
One of Canada’s most popular casinos, Casino Rama near Orillia, Ontario lost over $2 million in a baccarat scam that involved several of the casinos own employees. The deed took place in 2007 and involved over fifteen individuals at the baccarat tables.
Casino dealers working for Casino Rama had been recruited by an outside syndicate to ‘predetermine’ the outcome of each baccarat hand. At the time, investigators believed it to be the biggest single sting operation in recent memory, following an incredible 44 month-long investigation into the scam.
In fact, not only were local law enforcement in Ontario (OPP) involved in the investigation and subsequent bust, the entire operation had drawn in officers from Windsor police as well as police from several US states and FBI specialists. The baccarat syndicate had targeted several casinos in the US as well as Canada and had already netted close to $4 million!