When there is a lot of money, there is always someone trying to get their hands on it. Poker rooms and casinos handle enormous amounts of money.
Casinos all over the world make significant investments in security and generally succeed in keeping things safe and secure, but occasionally, things happen that not even the security team at the casino could have anticipated.
We’ll examine some of the biggest cheating scandals from recent years in casinos and poker rooms in this article.
- Fake chips were used at the Winter Open at the Borgata
The Borgata story is all the more intriguing because security scandals typically involve casino games like Magellan Slot online.
For bringing fake chips into a Borgata Winter Open tournament in 2014, a poker player by the name of Christian Lusardi was detained.
The first event of the festival, which had $372,000 set aside for the winner, is where Lusardi is alleged to have added to his stack using the fake chips.
Unsurprisingly, he started the second day of the tournament with the most chips.
But Lusardi’s deception was only temporary. The extra chips were quickly discovered by tournament officials, who immediately launched an investigation while the event was still going on.
Lusardi flushed the fakes down the toilet in an effort to get rid of them while in full panic mode. The pipes clogged as expected, and it didn’t take long to determine that Lusardi’s room was the source of the problem.
Chips in the pipes worth $2.7 million were discovered by investigators.
The competition had to be suspended due to fake chips with a denomination of 5,000
When Lusardi was apprehended shortly after at another nearby hotel, he admitted to bringing in $800,000 worth of fake chips for the event.
It appears that Lusardi won’t ever stand trial for the Borgata scandal because he was later charged with a different crime and given a five-year prison sentence.
- A Backroom Deal That Cost Bellagio Over $1 Million
From low-stakes casual players to high rollers, Bellagio is one of the most recognizable casinos in Las Vegas.
Even with all of these precautions in place and some of the best security personnel in the industry on staff, the venue was the victim of a sophisticated scam back in 2016.
Because a craps dealer named Marc William Branco and two of his friends were involved, this particular scam was an inside job.
The actual scam was very straightforward. Announcing high-value (hop) bets on specific roll combinations, Branco’s henchmen would arrive at the table being managed by their friend.
It was impossible to tell what their bet was, though, because of the way they did it. Simply mumbling something that sounded like a hop bet, they would communicate.
No matter which numbers fell when the dice were rolled, Branco would pay them as if that were the wager they had made.
Maybe their scam would have never been discovered if they knew how to leave while ahead.
- A Video Poker Bug That Cost Casinos Hundreds of Thousands
Security flaws aren’t always regionally specific. They can occasionally be connected to a specific game, especially if it’s electronic.
This is precisely what occurred with Game King video poker machines, which had a difficult-to-find but fatal flaw in all of its machines throughout US casinos.
This bug was found in 2009 by John Kane, who also told his friend Andre Nestor about it. The two robbed casinos together for well over $500,000.
Kane accidentally discovered the bug because it wasn’t simple to find.
Kane would be the one to discover it, though, as he had lost a lot of money playing video poker for years prior and had logged countless hours playing the game.
But what he discovered truly changed the game.
After a large win, Kane found that he could change the game’s credit denomination, and the jackpot would be paid out based on the new denomination.
In order to maximize his payout, he could play for a royal flush on a $1 denomination and then switch to a $10 or $20 denomination when he hit the hand.
The process to actually do this required switching between game variations, and the machine’s double-up feature had to be turned on for the bug to function.
However, the pair figured everything out and succeeded in honing their technique.
The police picked up Nestor at his home in Pennsylvania after first apprehending Kane at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas.
However, despite the fact that the investigation made clear what they were up to, the prosecution’s case against the two was incredibly weak.
After all, they didn’t use any tools from outside or tamper in any way with the machines. Their justification was that they were doing what you’re supposed to do on a video poker machine, which was pressing the buttons.
Both were found not guilty in the end and the case was dismissed. Casinos were unable to recover the majority of their losses, so it could be said that these two essentially got away with it.
And since this security hole was found in almost every Game King cabinet, we can only assume that a few more gamblers were able to find it and exploit it.
Playing the cat and mouse
These primarily read as entertaining tales, but they can also be seen as warnings since you should never let your guard down and must always be on guard when in a casino.
There will always be someone trying to get rich quick by cheating, so you can’t always rely on the casino security to keep you out of harm’s way.
As we’ve seen in this article, no matter how hard those working in the gaming industry try to defend themselves, even the biggest casinos and the most well-run events can fall prey to con artists.
But at the very least, we’ll have some interesting stories to tell!