What are the Casino’s Eyes??
Non-regular opportunities in casinos, more commonly known as ‘Scams’, but which can also include ‘Heists’ and ‘Fraud’ are always good newspaper ‘copy’ and digital tag-lines, though Gaming Operators are never happy to have to talk about them. There’s something happening all the time in most casinos, and not from where the punters first look either. We all know that the money in a casino is watched very closely by the management. Thousands are spent on CCTV systems and extra supervisory staff are employed to observe the action. This is where the opportunity lies for the casino cheat who targets the other players and their possessions.
We’re all living in a casino. It’s just Vegas. Everything is on camera. Everything is being recorded. Everything is on audio. The truth….. pic.twitter.com/m3oveGNmRz
— Casino Solution Pro (@CSProTweets) December 10, 2016
CCTV systems cover the Cash Desks, Tables & Slots. Reception areas are normally pretty well covered too, though for reasons of Identity compliance mostly. Common or Public flow areas are not closely watched and the thieves use this to their advantage.
When folks go to a location where gambling takes place, they by and large, also arrive with money, and much of that in cash; lovely folding, crinkly, untraceable cash. Thieves paradise. Especially so as the casinos all attempt to make the visits for their customers as relaxing as possible, comfortable chairs, drinks and light snacks, background music and the focus on the action, this makes it all too easy to forget that your jacket/bag, whatever, slung over the seat back is an inviting target for being dipped or lifted.
A word to the wise…..
If you do ‘lose’ your wallet/purse in the gaming area, tell the floor supervisors as soon as possible; then go to the rest-rooms – check the waste paper receptacles and the cubicles behind the equipment. This is where most thieves dump off the wallets. Okay your cash will be long gone. Though your ID, Drivers License and if your lucky the credit cards will most likely be still there. Don’t forget to get your partner involved too, so you cover both the facilities.
In the meantime……….
Hopefully the management of the casino will have a supportive attitude and be keen on catching the ne’er-do-wells. Let’s face it, why would you go to relax in a place if you have to nail all your valuables down first!
Back at the action in the gaming areas……….
Here’s where the theft rate picks up. On the Tables, the games are conducted mainly with cash chips, so once the folding cash is transacted with the Dealer, you have the cash equivalent, but in hard colourful plastic form. Problem is, a $1 chip is usually the same size and shape as a $100 chip, just a different colour, and easily substituted during play. This is why on the Roulette gaming tables, there is another type of chip in use, known as Wheel checks or Colour chips. These have an identifying logo/number which is exclusive to a particular roulette table, and when you use them, no other customer will have your ‘colour’. So when the staff warn you that playing with your Cash Fives or Twenty-Fives on the table is a risk for you – LISTEN to the dealer.
They are trying to protect your own money from being taken during play, and naturally keep the game moving by not having customers screaming and shouting about where the chips they put down have gone!
You don’t even have to have put the chips down on the table to get them lifted. On games such as Craps (Dice), the table edges have racks for your chips to be stored ready for easy access when you need to ‘press up’ those hard ways. So easy are they to access in fact, that when the lady with the fantastic cleavage and low cut top leans over to collect the ‘Short Dice’ the Boxman has instructed the Stickman to deliver; just don’t take your hands away from your rack, when your eyes are focused on hers!
Many a cash chip has been purloined with this scam.
In the ‘good old days’ when tokens were mainly used on the Slot machines, coin/token theft was pretty common, and
sometimes even performed without any pain to the punter. My favourite was the discard catcher. A player would go from machine to machine with an older or dirty token and see if it was accepted by the coin mechanism, which is controlled by the coin comparator in the machine. If the machine accepts the coin, the player ejects the credit and moves on. If the machine rejects the coin, by putting it through to the coin reject outlet. Then the player knows they can place a plastic bag, paper towel or other sound deadening substance into the reject outlet. Thus when an unsuspecting player plays at this machine, any diverted/unaccepted coins would be silently collected in the outlet.
The coin thief just needs to wait in the hope that the real player moves off without checking the reject outlet. Not a huge money maker I know, but with a slots floor of hundreds of machines, of which several dozen may have poorly maintained comparators, enough to keep some folks in beer and skittles.
At the Cash Desk……….
My other favourite involves the Cashiers, a highly effective way to provide that personal bonus you know you deserve, is to ‘Crimp the Cups’. Back in the day, coin cups were made out of waxed paper, nowadays they’re plastic, where still used, and for the following reasons.
They can be re-used for longer than the paper ones, and they cannot be ‘Crimped’. Only slots winners who turned up with multiple cups were hit with this scam normally, this is because the player most likely is unsure of exactly how much they have won, but also because once the first cup is decanted into the coin counter, the cashier has a moment to press in on the area of the cup just above the base, to lock in the coins in that section.
Then when the cashier, picks up the second/third cup to feed into the counter, of course with a nice ostentatious display for the customer to see the cup up ended, and seemingly emptied into the counting machine, the crimped in coins are not released, and an empty cup is quickly put on top of the crimped one and both are then dropped into another cup. Thus hiding the coins in the middle cup, from the player, and the CCTV view down cameras.
Well the slots floor has improved security wise these days, but where there’s money in play there’s always someone else trying to obtain it.
Credit theft, even in the coin operation days, was the quickest method, but it’s also quite likely the villain will be caught. Your playing away, and suddenly realise the call of nature has become rather more urgent than you’d though it would. Do you (a) sensibly cash out or (b) jump up, push the chair forwards to block the play buttons and then leg it to the toilet?
Guess what? It’s generally (b), because you don’t want to break your ‘lucky run’, leave your favourite machine, or your bursting, so being practical is far too logical.
This is where the theft starts. The thief can cash out onto your card and try to get the money from the Cash Desk – risky this, as the management can actually prove theft here. Or, if the machines use a Ticket Out system, which does not uniquely identify a players card to the cash out, simply print the ticket out and leave. The tickets are valid over a period of time, so the thief can always come back later.
‘It wasn’t me…..
Though the favourite method of credit theft is the ever popular ‘It wasn’t me, I didn’t know and it was like that when I got here,’ option. Here the second party just starts playing your credits in your absence. If they have a win, and you return, then try explaining to the management how much you had, and how much they won, and also, that it’s all yours because it was your money (credits), though not your play! The reverse of this is also tricky.
Just built for a court room that one isn’t it?
A brazen thief will use all the confusion they can create in these circumstances to get something from the casino, whilst the casino management will not want to lose a real player; you.
So do everyone a favour and look after your money, because if you don’t, someone else will only be too happy to look after it for you.
Money, Money, Money………..
Everyone likes to think they’d help someone out, do the right thing, and generally be friendly to those in need. Be careful. In casinos this can put you in a position of aiding and abetting organised criminals or being a direct victim of fraud.
I’ve actually seen this one happen, twice!
Villain spots you’ve got some cash chips in your hand, as you stand behind a game watching the action. The villain starts a conversation, chitchat, nothing serious, usually about the game and how they’ve been losing etc. etc.
They bring out some notes and start telling the ‘mark’ what they’re going to play, and how. The amount in notes will always be just a bit more than the cash chips in the ‘marks’ hands. Say you have forty in chips, the note would be a fifty, but the notes will never be the convertible amount, always more.
Then, in a rush, the ‘mark’ is offered an exchange, quick, quick, notes for cash. Don’t worry about it being more than you’ve got ‘I know I’m going to win this one!‘
Classically the chips are presented to the Dealer just too late to get the bet down. The villain throws a well rehearsed hissy fit and stomps off. The ‘mark’ is feeling smug at this point, they’ve just made an extra ten or twenty without risk.
Be careful out there, it’s a fun world in the casino!