On May 25, 2007, about 2 dozen people were arrested in what may be the largest global blackjack cheating ring ever. Casinos in the state of Mississippi, several other states in the U.S. and Canada were swindled out of over $5 million.
Federal Prosecutors commented that the blackjack cheating ring operated for about 4 years, scamming 18 United States casinos, some of which were located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in Tunica.
The federal officers knew what was going on but it took the assistance of the Mississippi Gaming Commission to break the scam. Larry Gregory, the Commission's Executive Director, commented that the San Diego based cheating ring paid the dealers and utilized high tech devices to manipulate the blackjack games. Hidden electronic transmitters would guess the order of the cards. Gregory said that they wagered large amounts of money knowing the next order of the cards and winning lots of cash as a result.
They even won a $1 million in one game using this scam. Gregory said that the cheaters stole more than $1 million from the casinos in the state of Mississippi, though he would not divulge which casinos have been victimized by the cheating ring.
A total of 19 people were indicted at the raid in California. The suspects are currently facing charges of conspiracy, money laundering and theft from an Indian owned casino facility.
Gregory commented that the dealers in Mississippi who received bribes will also face charges. Gregory commented that they will also arrest those dealers who accepted the bribe in the following weeks.
Gregory further stated that insider participation was an important part of ensuring that the scam would be successful. He claims that the casinos could have lost more if it were not for the quick action of Mississippi's gaming agents.
The maximum penalty for this type of case carries a prison sentence of 24 years.
Monday, June 18 , 2007