How to cheat a casino (and get caught)

Many people have tried to cheat a casino out of money and chips. Some more successfully than others. Let’s take a look at some professional cheaters and their scams.

By Darren - December 27, 2021

People have been attempting to scam casinos for as long as they have existed. Casinos devote a significant amount of effort to finding cheaters, and they are usually quite successful at it. However, there have been a few instances where people have made a lot of money by cheating. Many of them were eventually captured, but some of them got away with it. Many that got away with it we have obviously never heard of. So here is our guide on how to cheat a casino (and get caught) based on real life casino cheaters!

What happens if you’re caught cheating a casino? 

Casinos’ approaches to cheats have varied throughout time, from vigilante justice to non violent punishments via legal avenues. However, gaming establishments are aware of the ever-growing array of cheating possibilities available. They keep a close eye on their customers. If you’ve ever wondered what happens if a casino suspects you of cheating, a lot relies on the casino’s policies as well as the laws of the state you’re in. You’re not going to get beaten up like in the movies, but the consequences are still quite significant.

One of the possible consequences of casino cheating is the confiscation of your ill-gotten gains. If a casino suspects you of cheating, it is completely legitimate for them to seize your winnings. However, some gamblers in Vegas claim that casinos take advantage of this practice. There is a belief among many gamblers that as the casinos don’t want people to win and prefer losers they sometimes abuse this rule.

If a casino believes you are cheating, the first action they’ll probably take is detain you. Any casino employee, not just casino management or security officers, has the power to question a player they suspect of cheating under Nevada gaming legislation. Suspicion alone is sufficient to justify detention and questioning. The same regulations allow casinos to arrest suspected cheaters if there is probable cause and the duration and conditions of custody are not excessive.

 

Some of the most notorious cheaters to have been caught include the following:

Louis Colavecchio

Casino CoinsOtherwise known as “The Coin,” Louis Colavecchio was a master counterfeiter. His approach for how to cheat a casino was to make casino coins to use in slot machines.

When he was finally apprehended in 1998, it was as a result of an inquiry launched when casinos began to notice an excessive amount of the coins in their inventories.

His stockpile of coins, as well as the equipment he used to create them, were seized by law enforcement. Because of the size and amount of the equipment, they had to rent storage facilities to keep it all.

Colavecchio resumed his operations after his release in 2006, but was detained again after only a few months. He negotiated a contract to divulge his operation’s secrets so that casinos would not be stung in the future.  He has since passed away but you can read his exploits in his autobiographical book “You Thought it was More: Adventures of the World’s Greatest Counterfeiter.” 

Bill Brennan

Despite the fact that Brennan was a thief rather than a cheat, his heist deserves to be recognized because of its simplicity and success.  Brennan worked as a cashier at the Las Vegas Stardust Hotel and Casino. Casino heist bagOne day in 1992 he filled a bag with half a million dollars in cash and chips as he was leaving work. He quietly exited the casino and has not been seen since.

There have been reports that he was murdered by a co-conspirator who refused to split the proceeds, but there has never been any proof to back this up.

The prevailing theory is that he is still alive and well, living off his ill-gotten gains somewhere in the world.

 

Monique Laurent

Monique Laurent, a French woman, and her entourage of family and friends won more than $1 million at the Deauville Casino’s roulette tables. Their victory was not due to chance however.

SmokingIt was instead as a result of some high tech equipment and the assistance of a rogue roulette dealer, that they managed to pull it off. She instructed her team to place a radio receiver inside a modified roulette ball where she could influence where the ball landed via a transmitter in a fake cigarette pack. 

She could make the ball land in a group of six numbers with 90% accuracy. Other crew members would place the required wagers and collect the earnings.

Something was wrong but the casino couldn’t figure out what it was. They checked the roulette wheel and kept an eye on the table and the dealer, but nothing was amiss. Laurent and her team proceeded to carry on making money as a result of their incomprehension.

Laurent eventually caught the eye of the casino owner who didn’t take it well when she rebuffed his romantic advances. He subsequently realized that she was often at the roulette table and always winning.

She seemed to be alone all the time and only placed bets on rare occasions. When he realized the cigarette packet was involved, he asked Laurent for a smoke, and the game was over.

 

Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus will be remembered as one of the most successful casino scammers of all time. He is still at large and has never been apprehended or even investigated. His exploits were only revealed after he retired and wrote a book about his time robbing roulette tables. Marcus’ casino cheats story raises the question of how many more people like him exist, operating under the radar of casinos and police.

His approach was straightforward, but extremely effective. Marcus would arrange his chips when playing roulette with a low value chip on top and a higher value chip underneath. He would then pretend to be drunk and grab his lost bets and toss them at the dealer. In the commotion he was swapping out the higher value chip for a lower value chip.

He was effectively trading out bigger losses for smaller losses. When his numbers were called, he would leave the chips alone and inform the dealer in the middle of the celebration that his stack was worth substantially more than the top chip.

Marcus avoided scrutiny because casinos tend to focus on the bets players win rather than the bets they lose. Marcus now works for casinos to catch cheaters, yet he is still free and likely still very wealthy. He remained completely undetected throughout his cheating career. Thus making him part of a limited group of people who have managed to get away with it.

 

So in conclusion, cheating a casino out of chips is possible. But the risk is too great and with modern technology, greater surveillance and security you are seriously unlikely to get away with it. We strongly recommend you DON’T try it.

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