It comes as no surprise, where there’s gambling involved there will likely be some daring individual that masterminds a grand scheme to out-do the house and get away with a bundle of money. Most often, however, the con gets busted. These three casino scams would fare well, in theory, but the instigators didn’t get away scot free in real-time. Stanley Ho’s Grand Lisboa casino was taken for over HKD 24 million in a sophisticated Baccarat scam complete with hidden cameras.
An X Factor betting scam exposed three Virgin Mobile employees taking advantage of inside information to make bets on a popular online sportsbook. And the third grand scam exposed a group of eight swindlers in yet another Baccarat scheme gone awry. This time the crew used inside sources at a casino in South Korea to set-up a phony Baccarat table. It is no secret that odds are always in favor of the house. The next time the brains behind these theoretically brilliant plots to defraud a gambling operation start developing a master plan; it may behoove them to think again.
Stanley Ho’s Grand Lisboa Casino – Caught on Tape
The casino itself wasn’t caught on tape, but the card decks certainly were. Stanley Ho’s Grand Lisboa Casino became the site of a devious plan that cheated the casino out of a HKD 24 million last year. Small, undetectable cameras were installed in the card shuffling machines on Baccarat tables, capturing the card images as they were shuffled. The images were then fed in slow-motion to be screened by one of the crew members. The crew person would then relay the information as to the order of the cards to another crew member sitting at the Baccarat table. Armed with this information, the person at the table knew exactly what to bet for big wins.
The cameras were ultimately discovered during a routine maintenance procedure. The SJM found the cameras in January of 2011 at the Le Royal Arc casino and promptly notified police. Surveillance was set-up at the casinos and the culprits were eventually arrested. Six of the seven crew members pled guilty in a Macau and face trial. Three additional members of the crew have not been apprehended. There is no information available as to the precise manner in which the crew was able to switch the shuffling machines for camera ready machines at the casino’s, however it is quite likely an ‘inside’ job.
The Illusion of Baccarat – South Korean Style
This scam was not necessarily complex but it tricked two Baccarat players out of USD $947, 779 at a Casino in Cheju Island, South Korea. It couldn’t have been pulled off if not for Kim, Casino owner, leasing the Baccarat table to this ring of eight swindlers. Two members of the ring dressed up as a dealer and the other as a casino manager at the leased Baccarat table. Other ring members then met the would-be victims at Kangwon Land, a ‘locals only’ casino in Kangwon Province. After an invitation to travel to Cheju Island for golf, they were invited into the Cheju Island Casino for a round or two of Baccarat. What the two victims, identified as An and Kim did not know was that the dealer and the ‘manager’ were fake, and the playing cards had been pre-arranged in a particular order.
Additional ring members acted as ‘players’ at the table and encouraged the two naïve participants to make larger bets. The ring ‘loaned’ money to the pair by using bounced checks in order to keep them gambling. It only took five hours to accumulate the nearly 1 million USD, however, when the swindlers tried to collect the money, the scam was busted. Hyun, a casino worker, Kim the casino owner, and former gang member Chong were all arrested and prosecuted for fraud. Similar charges were brought against two additional unidentified gambling ring members as well. This one might have come off without a hitch had the ring been a bit less greedy and called it quits when these two victims actually ran out of money.
In the “Know”
This betting scam was uncovered following a report that there was suspicious gambling activity taking place at on a popular sportsbook, Betfair. An investigation ensued, and three personnel got the boot for their involvement in the scheme. The three Virgin Media employees had access to voting patterns for X Factor and utilized their inside scoop to place bets worth £16,000. The employees accessed data that revealed the volume of calls being made, enlightening them to the likely winners each episode. Utilizing this knowledge they began making large bets through Betfair. Unfortunately for this trio, their activity was flagged and reported as ‘suspicious’ and the plan unraveled from that point forward.
According to Nick Tofiluk, Gambling Commission’s director of regulation says that the three cons did not profit from this activity and that appropriate action has been taken to ensure that nothing like this occurs again. A Virgin Media spokesperson referred to the incident as ‘isolated’ and that the employees were abusing the access they had been given to internal data for their own financial gain. Virgin Media and the Gambling Commission worked together to put this plot out of commission. There was no evidence to suggest that the integrity of public voting for X Factor is in any way compromised and Virgin Media took the situation very seriously. The end result – it doesn’t always pay to have the inside scoop.