If you relish the idea of predicting the outcome of casino games, you’ll know exactly how much money changes hands in gaming Meccas like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, Melbourne and London. On any given day there are literally millions of dollars floating around.
In land-based casinos, cash is neatly stashed as bank notes and casino chips in the cage. At top rated gambling destinations in cyberspace - like Springbok Aussie online casino - money is held remotely in banks.
That kind of loot has an allure all of its own. Scam artists, heisters, fraudsters and cons are attracted to casinos like bees to a honeypot. Casino heists are the stuff of blockbuster movies, TV documentaries and dozens and dozens of books. Many of the most audacious scams and robberies have played out in Las Vegas, with swanky casinos like the Bellagio, Circus Circus and Stardust taking big hits.
Even though times have changed and security and surveillance within casinos has become sophisticated and high-tech, super crims have still managed to pull off super crimes with technological know-how and little bit of help from insiders on the take.
Let’s look at a few of the most brazen casino heists of the past 30 years, some of which have led to arrests, others not so much:
High Roller’s $32 Million ‘Winning Streak’ - Crown Casino Melbourne
In 2013 James Manning was being courted by the Crown Casino in Melbourne as a high roller who was prepared to pay a mind blowing $12,500 for a single cocktail. The idea was to set a record for the Guinness Book of World Records.
The cocktail had the world’s most expensive cognac as its main ingredient. The very same cognac was found in the wreck of the Titanic and sold for $157,000 a bottle at auction.
Whether Manning was actually expected to pay for the drink or it was simply a unique way to promote Crown casino is a moot point. Manning pulled out of the deal but not before making crucial observations about the casino’s surveillance system… and a firm friend.
Manning devised a cunning plan to scam the casino out of millions of Aussie dollars. While he was calmly playing high stakes poker in the private salon, his accomplice was hacking into the casino’s own camera surveillance system and feeding him information on how to bet based on the cards that were next in line in the deal.
The high rolling con cooked up a whopping $32 million hot streak playing just eight hands of poker, an ROI that obviously aroused suspicion. Despite their best efforts, the casino’s security personnel could not determine exactly how Manning was scamming the casino, only that he was.
Manning was never convicted of a crime but he was banned from the Crown for life. As a large portion of the $32 million had not been cleared by the cashier by the time Manning was questioned and sent packing, the casino managed to recoup most of their money… and save themselves a few more blushes!
The Bellagio and the Judge’s Son
In 2010 Tony Carleo whizzed up to the Bellagio on a motor bike, waltzed into the casino with his helmet still on and held up the dealer at a high stakes craps table with a .22 handgun. It was a daring and high risk robbery that netted Carleo around $1,5 million in casino chips.
What made this heist an epic is that Carleo went home, changed into a new set of clothes and went straight back to the Bellagio. He exchanged some of the chips for cash and casually spent the rest of the day playing his favourite casino games - which were slot machines similar in theme and payout structure to Springbok online pokies.
This modus operandi went on for several days and Carleo managed to lose so much ‘money’ the casino even comped him a free night’s accommodation and a lavish dinner!
The brazen robber was eventually down to a few $25K casino chips which he tried to exchange for cash. Unfortunately, the value of the chips meant they were the only ones tracked by the casino. For Carleo - son of a respected local judge - the game was up!
Casino Cash In-Transit Heist Nets $3.1 Million
In 1993 an armoured van stuffed with around $3.1 million in bank notes and coins was carrying out routine cash drops to casinos along the Las Vegas Strip. At the first drop the guards duly left the van to deliver the cash. On their return they found the vehicle, Heather Tallchief the driver and the rest of the loot had vanished into thin air.
At the time of the heist there were no vehicle tracking devices, satellite GPS or even smartphones. In fact, the only lines of communication between Tallchief and the despatch centre was a two-way radio which, for obvious reasons, had been turned off.
Despite alerting the police almost immediately, the van simply disappeared. The FBI and Interpol were called in to investigate but the money was never recovered and no-one was arrested for the crime.
Five years later and in turn up for the books, Tallchief handed herself over to the police. According to her version of events, her accomplice and boyfriend at the time apparently disappeared with the money within days of the heist.
Tallchief was left destitute, abandoned and on the FBI’s most wanted list, a situation she found so untenable she was willing to do jail time instead. Now that’s what we call Karma with a capital K!
Pull off a Heist of Your Own: Play RTG Springbok Online Pokies
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The great news is you won’t be a wanted fugitive when you bank wads of Aussie dollars playing sizzling hot Springbok online pokies. Along with the full gamut of feature mechanics, there are always multiple ways of winning real money wagering on one of the most popular casino games in Las Vegas, Macau, London and right here in cyberspace.
Getting away with the heist of the century at Springbok casino really is as easy as that… no wicked accomplice or illegal surveillance required!