The Biggest Scandals in the Casino Industry
There have been a number of big scandals in the casino industry, and casinos have lost money in many ways due to the ingenuity of fraudsters. Some have involved slot machines, others card counting and yet others involved placing phantom bets. There is even one mystery that hasn’t been solved. Here are some of the most famous casino scandals.
The monkey paw scandal
In 2001, Tommy Carmichael was caught stealing money from slot machines. He had evidently been stealing for more than two decades and would rig the machines in various ways. One method was to insert a wire known as a monkey’s paw through the payout chute. It would trip a switch, and the machine would release the jackpot.
Today it is very difficult, if not impossible, to rig slot machines. Many people enjoy playing online slots and other internet casino games. You wouldn’t be able to use Carmichael’s methods to steal from an internet casino like Play Gun Lake today.
The MIT Blackjack Team scandal
From the 1970s to the 1990s, the MIT Blackjack Team walked away with millions of dollars that they won illegally. They used scientific card counting techniques to win games of blackjack. A 2008 movie called 21 covered the story of these students who were led by Bill Kaplan. He trained many blackjack players in these card counting techniques and allegedly walked away with about $10 million himself.
It’s more difficult for card counting to take place today. Just like when gambling, tips for investors usually share about how important it is to have goals and control your impulses.
The cashier who disappeared
A sportsbook cashier, William John Brennan, stole $500,000 from the Stardust Hotel in Vegas, although it had cameras covering all directions. No one could figure out how he managed to avoid the cameras. A warrant was issued straight away for his arrest when this happened in 1992, but he was never found, so the mystery wasn’t solved.
The Bellagio Craps scandal
Friends would go to the craps table Mark Branco was in charge of at Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. They would place phantom bets of a high value which the dealer would then pay out as though they had been accurate. They tried this trick 76 times in 2016 and won $1 million before casino personnel realized what was happening.
Branco and his accomplices were arrested and charged, and Branco is still in Nevada State Prison serving time. In general, corporate scandals have a dramatic impact on companies, and in the same way, gambling scandals have an impact on the bottom line of casinos.