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When the Gamble didn’t pay off: Casino cheats who got caught

Published:

13 May 2019

While cheating a casino must feel a lot like robbing a bank, the fact is there are likely to be more of the former who have, over the years, actually got away with it especially with technology not as advanced as today’s standards.

That said, we take a look at some of those casino cheats who did get caught, having found many manner of ways to gain an advantage over their opponents or the establishment.

George Devol

We’ve traced gambling cheating all the way back to the 19th century, with Devol, who was born in 1829 becoming almost a seasoned trickster even by the age of 14 with one of the most in-depth knowledge bases of the game of poker of anyone in the game’s early history.

By such a tender age, he was more than accomplished at being able to stack decks, palm cards, recover a cut and bring in a cold deck. When he was 17 his supreme sleight of hand could make him $3000 in one day and he had no conscience about the victims he cheated.

Steve Forte

A rockstar in the world of casino cheats, the infamous Forte became one of the most highly skilled sleight of hand specialists in the world, with his talent said to have made him enormous amounts over the years.

With blackjack and poker his preference, in 1992, he and an accomplice were charged with cheating The Trump Castle Hotel and Casino out of $225,000 while playing blackjack. In 2008, meanwhile, he was alleged to have played a major role in the Borgata poker scam in which a group associates set up surveillance cameras to provide a big advantage. Having now said farewell to his days of being a crook, he greeted a publishing and consulting career with equal aplomb and advises mainly as a casino security consultant.

Monique Laurent

One of the only female casino cheats, Laurent was head of an organised French group and the brains behind the “French Cigarette Pack Scam” of Casino Deauville in 1973.

An intricate operation which involved a small radio receiver in a cigarette pack and roulette ball, plus a rogue dealer, they are estimated to have scammed in excess of $1 million.

Ron Harris

A computer programmer who worked with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Harris illegally profited from being on the inside, despite his official job duty being to monitor casino technology and protect it from cheats. Having developed a program that manipulated keno machines into creating a jackpot when certain button combinations were pressed, Harris took $100,000 through his illicit activities.

Dennis Sean McAndrew

Perhaps sounding like something from a Mission Impossible film script, McAndrew’s antics saw him create his own special gadgets to confuse cctv cameras and crack open slot machines in a case of straightforward robbery. It is thought that before he was finally caught by the FBI in 1998, he had managed to cheat casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City out of $16 million.  After striking a deal with authorities to cooperate by revealing the secrets he knew and the methods he used, he was able to leverage a reduced sentence for his crimes.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael

Recognised as one of the most creative of casino scammers, Carmichael capitalised on his inventive streak by finding a way to trick slots into paying out on cue. This invention became known as ‘the slider’ which was a slot token replica with a guitar wire inside it, which tripped the payout switch in the chute to trigger the release of coins.

When slots became more computerised, Carmichael, struck once again with the ‘Light Wand’, which confused the sensors and initiated a payout from the hopper.