The gambling world is a place of temptation and greed. Many people have tried to cheat the system and rake in millions of dollars. Some of these fraudsters have been caught and sent to jail, while others were banned from casinos.
Ron Harris typed a few lines of code into hidden software to rig electronic Keno machines, earning him and his friends hundreds of thousands of dollars. He ended up in prison for seven years.
The MIT Blackjack Team
The MIT Blackjack Team was made up of students and alumni from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who used sophisticated card counting techniques to beat casinos at blackjack and win millions of dollars. Their story was immortalized in the book Bringing Down the House and the film 21.
The members of the MIT team were all young, smart, and highly educated. They also had a lot of money to blow. However, they didn’t let their money distract them from the mission at hand. They approached their card counting like a business and treated it with the seriousness that it demanded.
This is probably why they were able to pull off such a spectacular scam for so long. In the end, it was their own success that ultimately doomed them. As their winnings grew, casinos became savvy to their methods and implemented stricter security measures. It wasn’t long before they were banned from casinos nationwide. Some of the team members even faced criminal charges and prison sentences.
The Wynn Las Vegas Craps Scandal
The MIT Blackjack Team may have garnered the most fame for cheating at Vegas casinos, but this is far from the only gambling scandal to ever hit the Strip. Another notorious case was the Bellagio Poker Tournament Cheating Scandal, where a group of high-rollers managed to cheat the system and walk away with millions of dollars in winnings.
This summer, two gamblers from Argentina were accused of participating in a dice sliding scheme at the Wynn Las Vegas. The casino filed a lawsuit against the unnamed gamblers, claiming they used their players’ club cards and surveillance video to cheat at craps.
The alleged scammers were able to cheat for multiple days and claim $226,948 from the casino. They were identified by casino investigators through surveillance video footage and their players’ club card records. The gamblers have been released on their own recognizance and are awaiting further legal proceedings. The case is a reminder of how much work it takes to cheat at a casino game and still be caught.
The Lumiere Place Scandal
Whether you’re into poker, blackjack or craps, the casino is a place for excitement and fun. However, it can also become a breeding ground for greed and dishonesty. Several scandalous activities have shook casinos across the world, including cheating and money laundering schemes.
The MIT Blackjack Team is one of the most notorious casino cheating scandals in history. The team used mathematical strategies to beat casinos at blackjack, making millions in the process. Their exploits have been featured in books (Bringing Down the House and Busting Las Vegas), movies and television shows.
The Rosenthal Brothers were professional gamblers and sports handicappers with ties to organized crime. They were able to make huge bets and manipulate sports betting lines at various casinos in Las Vegas. They were eventually banned from entering casinos because of their shady business practices. This scandal highlighted the dangers of gambling addiction and the need for addiction treatment. It also sparked a debate on the role of skill and luck in gambling.
The Russian Poker Frauds
There are a number of scandals involving poker cheating, and this is something that seems to be getting worse all the time. People high up in the management of poker sites seem to be able to install back-doors into the software which allows them to view other players’ hole cards. This has resulted in huge scams that have cost innocent players millions of dollars.
This week 57-year old Russian Valeriy Mikhaylets was jailed for four months in London after being found guilty of cheating at the Palm Beach Casino in the exclusive Mayfair district of the city. Mikhaylets, who works for a Moscow construction company, cheated the casino out of PS60,000 and then fled the country after being released on bail. He was arrested on his way to Finland from Russia and is now in custody.
He was part of a wider scheme to cheat at a number of casinos and online poker rooms. The indictment unsealed this week by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, and Toni Weirauch, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation’s New York City Division, alleges that the conspirators ran a global bookmaking business, and laundered tens of millions of dollars from Russia and Ukraine to Cyprus and then into the United States.