Five Casino frauds who got caught (and where they went wrong!)

  • The casino scam is a many and varied thing, with differing degrees of success
  • Whether it’s cameras in cufflinks or femme fatales, people will try anything

Casinos are one of the favorite places to hit for those looking to make easy money by pulling off a scam of some sorts. We take a look at some of the major casino frauds who were caught through history and the reasons why they didn’t manage to get away with it.

ATM Security Gap

You don’t have to scam the tables to make a packet, as one bunch of fraudsters showed by hitting ATMs

Sometimes, you don’t even need to go to the playing tables to cheat a casino. Back in 2012, a ring led by Ara Keshishyan found a flaw in the Citibank ATMs in Las Vegas casinos.

The flaw allowed the fraudsters to withdraw up to 10 times more money from their accounts than they had deposited if done within a 60 second time interval. This terrible security gap led to them withdrawing millions from Citibank, but in the end, the fraud was caught by the federal agents, and all involved were arrested. The moral of the story? While it’s probably not a good idea to try and scam a casino, definitely don’t try to rip off a bank.

The Vegas Vixen

Beautiful women have always had an effect on men, and Las Vegas’ casinos staff would appear to not be immune either. Back in the 1960s, it was a woman by the name of Ida Summers – known as the Vegas Vixen – who proved this.

Ida used sleight of hand techniques to add cards and even entire decks of cards to the game, giving herself a massive edge. She used her good looks to draw attention away from her scam and kept winning for a long time. However, eventually, even the staff became suspicious and called the FBI to help. The scam was uncovered, but Ida received only probation, ultimately meaning she made a lot of money and never saw an inside of a prison cell.

The beautiful sister

Cigarette packet camera scam
A radio transmitter in a cigarette packet? Yep. And it nearly worked for a plucky bunch in 1973

This scam happened in 1973, when technology was somewhat less advanced. A group consisting of a roulette dealer, his sister and his brother in-law used a radio transmitter in a cigarette box and a receiver hidden in the roulette ball to influence the game. The edge they had allowed them to hit an exact sector of 6 numbers with a 90% accuracy.

Needless to say, the group won about a million dollars in a very short time, and the casino could not figure out what was happening. The casino owner took a romantic interest in the sister, however, and started to watch her at all times, which ultimately led to the group’s demise. It was her beauty, not the lack of skills, which eventually took the group down.

Ivey’s edge sorting

One of the biggest stars of the poker world, Phil Ivey was caught advantage playing both in London and in Las Vegas in 2014. Along with a Chinese partner, the professional gambler used a technique known as edge sorting to give himself a significant edge.

Unfortunately, the technique requires that many different terms are met, including certain playing cards being used, turning cards the right way every time and other elements. The casinos noticed what was going on and decided that Ivey should not get to keep the winnings. The only thing we can’t help but wonder is – would they have given him his money back had he lost?

The cutter gang

cuff links
You almost have to applaud the group of fraudsters who hid a camera in some cufflinks. Well, that or the fact that they escaped custody and disappeared without a trace…

This famous group of gambling fraudsters managed to beat the casinos at baccarat. The scam included a small camera hidden in the cuff links of one of the members, who would use the option to cut the cards and manage to get all the card values very quickly on camera.

The gang didn’t really go wrong anywhere, but the piles of money they won did eventually draw attention. However, American authorities didn’t have the evidence needed, so they let them go. They were finally arrested in the Philippines sometime later, but the gang managed to escape custody and has never been seen since.

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