We all love a good movie or TV show which centers on a robbery or heist of some description. Films such as 21 and the Ocean’s movies were all based off the back of real-life heists, and people’s interest continues to grow because of the exposure provided.
Some of the largest and most famous robberies in history have stemmed from land-casinos, with some truly staggering amounts of money falling into the hands of criminals and other unsavoury characters. With that in mind, the general public has always held a fascination with casino heists so we’ve compiled a list of the most daring and courageous in history. Want to make sure you don’t end up in the midst of a real-life heist? Play it safe and enjoy all the popular online casino games from the comfort of your own home.
The Stardust Casino
In September 1991, Royal Hooper plotted one of the more unusual casino robberies you’re ever likely to read about. Hooper worked as a security guard for the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, and used his two sons as decoys to escape with just over $1 million. Hooper worked out the security measurements in place and faked a robbery whilst he was moving cash through the foyer. Not satisfied with this success, they scooped more loot when holding up an armoured truck soon after, but all three were caught and quickly jailed.
Nine years ago, Anthony Carleo quite literally parked his Suzuki motorbike outside the world-famous Bellagio Casino, entered, and walked right back out with $1.5 million in chips. Carleo kept his helmet on to avoid detection, headed straight for the high-limit tables and revealed a gun to scare the dealers and other customers before scooping the available chips and waltzing straight back out. He wasn’t caught until sometime after, when an undercover sting revealed Carleo was trying to sell the chips online for a smaller value.
Circus Circus Casino
Heather Tallchief has proven quite the role model for potential thieves and bandits who are looking to score big from casinos. Tallchief was working as a truck driver for the Circus Circus Casino in Vegas in 1993, and one of her duties was to fill the ATM machines with cash around the casino. Instead of filling up the last machine, she opted to go off with $2.5 million still in her possession. She was later caught and sentenced but it’s believed she was working alongside Roberto Solis, who was a career criminal. The cash still hasn’t been recovered and now Tallchief is out, it’s thought her and Solis still have the funds somewhere.
Stardust Las Vegas
The case of Bill Brennan is still highly spoken of to this day, as he hasn’t been seen for over 25 years. Brennan was a highly-respected security guard at the Stardust Casino in Vegas, but he managed to steal $500,000 and seemingly disappear off the face of the earth. The loot was a combination of cash and chips, with Brennan able to work out the security measurements and escape undetected. It’s argued that the reason behind Brennan’s heist was that he failed to get promoted to a supervisory position.
Back in 2007, security guards Rolando Ramos and Eric Aguilera successfully stole $1.5 million from the Soboba Casino in Riverside County. Ramos helped install the security cameras and used his know-how to hold up to ten employees, then escaping with the cash with Aguilera acting as his getaway driver. Amusingly, the pair were caught soon after and their main concern was had they topped the Ocean’s 11 heist!
Over a period of 20 years, Bill Kaplan led a team of MIT students to successfully card count across various casinos across the world. Kaplan started off solo and realised he could land huge profits, and even delayed his entry to Harvard University to keep cashing in. From there, he set up a group of students who would successfully score big and earn millions of dollars over the years. Although card counting isn’t technically illegal, it’s highly frowned upon by casinos and the majority banned the MIT team. It’s thought that over $20 million was made during their heyday.
In 2013, the Crown Casino in Perth became the target for the biggest casino heist off all-time. Businessman James Manning was the brains behind the operation, and he laid down the perfect decoy to fool the casino employees and security. Upon asking for a $12.5k cocktail, the casino provided Manning with all the VIP features including access to high-limit card tables. Manning went on to win $32 million but naturally, his betting activities were investigated and it was revealed that he was getting inside help. Once the casino clocked on, he was banned for life with little implications as they money itself hadn’t been stolen as such. But just imagine if he wasn’t rattled and did walk out with it!