Casino Scams That Actually Worked

August 18, 2021

Most people visit a casino for a night of honest fun and entertainment.  However, some individuals devise schemes to beat the house in the hope of walking away with millions. Casino operators are wise to most tricks and catch the tricksters, but some are successful in relieving the casino of large sums, though they eventually get caught too.

Fortunately for those signing up to online casinos, assurances that their money is safe can be confirmed by looking at review sites written by industry experts. Sites like Casino Reviews help you choose the best online casino sites with detailed reviews and comparison options the site helps you select the best iGaming operators, games, and bonuses. With security tightened in land-based and online casinos, most past casino scams that actually worked are unlikely to happen today:

Infrared contact lenses

In August 2011, Stefano Ampollini, 56, was part of a gang of four who used infra-red contact lenses purchased online from China as part of an ingenious scam to steal EUR64,000 (about USD85,000) from stud poker tables at a casino in France. Ampollini visited Les Princes casino with some invisible ink, and the infra-red contact lenses. Opposite him at the poker table was his accomplice who coughed, sniffed or sneezed at specific times to let Ampollini know which cards to mark with invisible ink. This allowed Ampollini to keep track of the game.

The gang were undetected on their first outing, winning EUR70,000. Their error was to make another trip two months later when he won EUR21,000. The casino noticed the second “lucky streak” and arrested Ampollini as he left the casino on suspicion of wrongdoing based on his unexpected folding of starting cards which led them to suspect he knew the dealer’s cards. In September 2013, Ampollini was sentenced to two years in prison and fined EUR100,000.

Sector targeting with lasers

In 2004, two Serbian men aged 38 and 33, and a 32-year-old Hungarian woman visited London’s Ritz Casino and won more than GBP1.3 million (about USD2.1 million) over two consecutive nights. At the roulette wheel, they placed bets in an area pinpointed by a computer as the ball’s most likely stopping point. At the time, Scotland Yard sources described the case as “extremely complex” with the capital’s serious and organized crime group trying to decipher the alleged scam and assess whether an offence had been committed.

The casino reviewed their security tapes and the trio were soon arrested and several phones confiscated. It was later confirmed the group had used “sector targeting” to predict where the ball might land on the wheel, using a laser scanner on their smartphones to calculate the speed of the ball with more precision and most impressively placed bets within seconds of this information. The trio were later released because the authorities were unable to find any legal basis for sanctioning the players.

Phone messaging app

Bringing casino scams into the 21st century shows how casino operators and the authorities are now securing their business against scams and police can now obtain convictions more easily. In August 2020, Hieu Duc Lam, a former baccarat dealer at Sydney’s Star casino was part of an illegal betting scam in which cheated the casino out of almost AUD500,000 (about USD364,000). He would memorize cards to be used in an upcoming game and used a secure phone messaging app to inform his accomplice of their order.  Lam was swiftly caught, sacked and his gaming license was cancelled. He was later sentenced to two years in prison plus 250 hours of community service.

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Author: iGaming Team

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