Casinos have always been a haven for con artists looking to make a fortune with or without Lady Luck. Below, we examine the five largest and most infamous casino scams in the annals of casinos.
The False Brothers Roselli
The case of the Roselli Brothers, which first came to light in the year 2000, shook Las Vegas casinos and a number of unwitting victims to their foundation. The story begins in 1995, when two men assumed the identities of the Roselli Brothers and teamed up with a hacker who provided them with all the information they required regarding casino players with immaculate credit scores. Using this information, they opened multiple casino accounts and deposited approximately $50,000 into each, making casinos anxious to extend them credit. Over the course of five years, the faux-Roselli Brothers’ casino credit had risen to over $1,000,000 at nearly every casino, and they were placing individual wagers of up to $100,000. After gaining an estimated $40 million, they emptied their bank accounts and vanished. People didn’t realize that the Roselli Brothers had stolen the identities of numerous individuals, including their own, until casinos and creditors demanded restitution from the scam’s victims. Nobody knows who the fraudsters were, and they have not yet been apprehended.
Radio Transmitters are embedded in Roulette Balls.
After developing an interest in amateur radio, a French merchant realized he could use this technology to become extremely wealthy. The dealer replaced the online roulette ball with one he had engineered to respond to radio transmissions, while his sister-in-law, who would remain at the next table, carried a small radio transmitter in a pack of cigarettes. The sibling, on the other hand, would always bet on the same set of numbers; the con was accurate to within a six-number range. Within a week, the fraudsters had amassed over $1,000,000 and there appeared to be no end in site. Then, security observed that the woman was always present on nights when the casino suffered its worst losses, and after a lengthy investigation by the casino and the police, the casino’s radio frequencies were discovered.
The Card-Cutting Process
Operative in casinos in the United States and the Philippines around 2011, the Cutter Gang gained international notoriety when they were captured using tiny cameras concealed in their shirt sleeves to sneak a peek at the cards during baccarat games. The gang member who was filming the cards would then take breaks during the game to transfer the camera to others who would then provide valuable information. While they were arrested and their $1,000,000 in winnings were withheld, the police lacked sufficient evidence to keep them in custody, so they were released and their money was returned. The members of the gang then traveled to the Philippines, where their web of deceit was exposed. Nevertheless, they evaded capture and remain at large to this day.
Contact Lenses & Invisible Ink
Also occurring in 2011, the short-lived swindle perpetrated by three Italians and one Frenchman could have been one of the most lucrative in casino history. During a game of stud poker, one perpetrator would surreptitiously mark the card values with invisible ink. Then, a different player donning contact lenses that enabled them to see invisible ink played for an evening and won $84. This went undetected until the perpetrators returned and won large sums consecutively, prompting authorities to launch an investigation. Although it wasn’t difficult to determine that four individuals were defrauding the casino, it took some time to determine that the contact lenses were the key to the scheme.
A game of roulette at the Ritz
In 2004, a group of Eastern European gamblers used a smartphone app to ascertain the orbital decay of the roulette wheel, which measured the size of the wheel and the speed at which the ball was spinning to predict where the ball would land. Surprisingly successful, the gang was able to acquire more than $2,000,000. When they were apprehended, the authorities let them go because, despite the fact that it was a fraud, there was no legal basis for their prosecution; they also got to retain their winnings. It is difficult to determine which aspect of this fraud is more shocking: the ingenuity with which it was perpetrated, or the fact that the perpetrators were not punished. For obvious reasons, all members have been prohibited from virtually all casinos.
Included in Folklore
Even though frauds of this magnitude are uncommon, they have entered the folklore and legend of land-based casinos worldwide. They are enthralling to read about, but they leave behind a great deal of destruction.