High Roller Scams Crown Casino Game for Over $30 Million
Apparently, taking millions of dollars from Melbourne’s Crown Casino is much easier than cleaning Terry Benedict’s vault. In a scam reminiscent of one of the “Ocean’s” films, though with far fewer moving pieces, a high stakes gambler allegedly made off with $32-$33 million in ill-gotten gains from the home of the Aussie Millions a few weeks ago.
The exact details of what happened vary from report to report, but the basics remain the same. A whale who was staying in a $30,000 per night villa in the Crown Towers teamed up with a casino employee to spy on opponents’ cards in the premium, high stakes gaming area. The insider had access to the room’s security system, which included cameras that could tilt in all directions and zoom in on the tables. He relayed beneficial information to his VIP accomplice via a wireless earpiece, who could then make perfect plays in the game.
Beyond that, specifics of the actual game are a bit hazy. In the Herald Sun’s original report, the game being played was not specified and it was said that the “cheating was exposed over eight hands of cards played in a short space of time.”
The Register reported that the game was, in fact, poker, making the idea of someone averaging $4 million in winnings per hand over just eight hands even more amazing.
The high roller scammer was identified by the camera footage and was removed from the property in the middle of the night. Perhaps oddly, while police have been called into the investigation, the thief was only kicked out of casino and hotel, not arrested.
The VIP services manager who was assigned to look after the culprit was, understandably, fired. It is not known at this time if he was the insider accomplice.
Las Vegas casino consultant Barron Stringfellow told ABC that provided someone had access to the security feed, it does not take lots of fancy technology to hack the system. “Intercepting them [the surveillance signals] is simple as going down to a local Radio Shack,” he said.
He also added that these sorts of scams happen much more than people realize. They just go unreported because casinos want to keep them a secret. Deakin University Professor Linda Hancock, an expert on the Crown Casino, told ABC that there is “no compulsion to report any of these incidences in a public and transparent way.”
The casino says it should be able to recover much of the money, but Stringfellow doubts it. If it perpetrator made it off the premises with the money, Stringfellow says the “Chances are zero” that the casino will be able to get the money back.
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