High-Tech Scam Fleeces Casino for $33 Million
The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex on the south bank of the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. The Eureka Tower is at left.
CREDIT: Donald Y. Tong/Creative Commons
When it comes to making millions at cards, it helps to have friends in high (tech) places.
That's one of the lessons gleaned from a recent embarrassing incident at the luxurious Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne, Australia, in which the casino's own security system was used against the house.
A high-stakes gambler, or "whale" in gambling parlance, managed to win $32 million in Australian dollars ($33 million U.S.) in eight hands of a card game before it was discovered he was running a scam, the Melbourne Herald Sun reports.
In an "Ocean's Eleven"-style plot, the unnamed man, who was from overseas, and at least one accomplice apparently were given unauthorized access to the casino's closed-circuit television surveillance system.
From a remote location, an accomplice watched the high-resolution CCTV feed from the premium gaming rooms where the high-stakes cheater was betting millions.
Zooming in on other gamblers' cards in real time, the accomplice talked to the whale through a wireless earpiece and told him which hands to play.
The gambler, who remains unidentified, was found out. He and his family were evicted from a luxury suite at the casino complex and told never to return.
A casino staffer, assigned to keep the whale happy during his time at the casino, was fired. It's not clear whether that person was part of the plot.
The Crown told Australia's ABC News that it was confident of recovering a "significant portion" of the ill-gotten gains.
The same sorts of cameras used to pull off the scam are in place in most modern casinos. The equipment helps casino personnel protect against cheaters and thieves by monitoring both gamblers and fellow employees.
The Crown's camera system is among "the most advanced, complex and comprehensive video surveillance systems currently in use in Victoria," a 2010 report by the Australian state of Victoria said, adding that high-stakes rooms receive "additional surveillance."
This isn't the first instance of security cameras being exploited, but it might just be the most expensive.