For decades casinos in Las Vegas have been the place where both hopeful gambling enthusiasts and deceitful players meet. Some found their way to put the money right in their pockets, while others ended up in the hands of the law. However, the most notorious casino scammers found a way to shock the casino industry and remain in the history of the “Black Book.”
A mysterious theft at the Stardust Casino
Bill Brennan was your average working guy who did not strike as a thief. He had worked at the Stardust Casino for over four years before his plans took a complete turn. The first signs of Bill’s change in character came when he became closer to other employees who were far from honest. Also, Bill befriended Stardust’s high roller, who instilled the desire for quick money into Bill’s head.
Bill’s alleged trigger and motive
One day, Bill asked the manager for a promotion to supervisor, but he was denied. The manager refused Bill as he did not think Bill was prepared and competent enough for this position, especially considering the people he was associated with.
How did the crime happen?
Bill has been around the casino long enough to know everything about the security cameras and which ones work and which don’t. So, when Bill decided to steal $500k, no security cameras caught him in the act, and no security guards witnessed anything. Thus, it took several hours for the police to figure out Bill was the one who had taken all the money and simply fled.
He became the main suspect when police did not find him nor his cat at his apartment. Until this day, Bill Brennan is nowhere to be found, and after 30 years since the theft, the police still get hints on his whereabouts.
The scammer turned into a professional advisor
Richard Marcus is a name that haunted Las Vegas casinos for many years. An infamous cheater, Richard developed a strategy that he used for several years in multiple casinos, rigging off millions of dollars. But how did it all start?
The beginnings of a professional cheater
From his early life, Richard was passionate about gambling, betting on the colour of the cars that would appear around the corner with his parents, and playing cards with his friends. When he was older, he won $30000 betting on horses, which he took to Las Vegas and lost all in one night. After this, he got a job as a baccarat and blackjack dealer at the Four Queens Casino, where he polished his observant skills, which he later used in his past-posting strategy.
After meeting Joe Classon, they quickly formed a team and used Richard’s strategy of falsely shuffling the cards in such a manner that a dealer would deal the fixed hands acknowledging his cards were set up for his partner. After some time, Richard wanted to form his own group, so he teamed up with his old friends Andy “Balls” and Pat Mallery.
The strategy that would change the game
Richard and his partners developed a new strategy: hiding $5,000 worth of casino chips below $5, leaning the $5 chips toward the dealer to hide the chip on the bottom. When the team won, they would claim their secret $5,000 chip and cash in $10,010. However, if they lost, they would change the chip to a $5 one, so they would only lose $10.
Eventually, Marcus was traced by law enforcement, but he was never convicted. So, he got away with stealing more than $5 million from the casino, and now he is sharing his story as a best-seller author through his widely-known books like “American Roulette,” and “Identity Thief, Inc.”
Tommy Glenn Carmichael – a slot machine genie
For more than two decades, Tommy Glenn developed methods of rigging slot machines that, in time, made him a millionaire. He became known for his ingenious inventions such as “the slider” or “monkey’s paw” (using a wire he would place it through the slot’s payout channel to trick the machine into hitting the jackpot) and “the light wand” (compiling a camera battery and one light bulb, he would blind a slot’s sensor to trick it into spitting out coins).
How was Tommy’s scheme unveiled?
In 2001, Tommy Glenn Carmichael was caught by the FBI and convicted. He served 326 days in jail and had three-year probation. He was also enlisted on the casino’s “Black Book” and banned from entering casinos.
George Jay Vandermark’s unresolved case
The 1970s were turbulent times with lots of unexplained crimes, and the gambling industry was somehow connected. In 1976, Las Vegas was the centre of a mobster hub, and the crime rate was higher than ever. During that year, George Jay Vandermark, a slot machine supervisor, helped the mafia rig off slot machines of $7 million.
However, a police raid unveiled the illegal activity, but George managed to flee away before getting caught. But, the truth was George did deceive not only the police but also the Mafia by giving them only $4 million out of the total of $7 million.
What happened to Vandermark?
Police tried getting ahold of George by communicating with his son, Jeff, who finally convinced his father to cooperate with the police. He claimed his father was hiding in Mexico, but after talking to the police, Jeff was found dead in his apartment. Until this day, George Jay Vandermark was not tracked down. Many people claimed that they saw George in Phoenix, while others believe the Mafia killed him.
This year, a body was found in Lake Mead, and police are stating the murder could have happened between the 1970s and 1980s. There are three possible links to the body, and George Jay Vandermark might be the victim.
The 2003 heist in Vicksburg’s Horizon Casino
On Nov. 9, 2003, Vicksbur’s Horizon Casino was the target of an armed attack. A masked, armed man entered the casino during the day, demanded the cashier give him the money and walked off with more than $60000. Police did not get there in time, as two significant distractions were happening in the casino area.
Simultaneously with the robbery, a fire started at Jett Elementary School’s local school. Also, an hour before the casino robbery, a bomb threat targeted the Rainbow Casino. Even after 19 years since this heist, police have no evidence of the suspects, and no one was charged.
How and where can you gamble safely?
Over the past decades, the casino industry has been the centre of attention to potential thefts and schemes, so there’s no wonder not all players might feel safe visiting casinos, especially at night. Even though managers take a great deal into the customers’ safety by covering the casino area with security cameras and guards, there are alternatives for people who might want to play it safe.
If you choose a land-based casino, you should consider finding out how safe the environment is before paying it a visit. Nevertheless, there are always secure options for anyone, like playing your favourite games online through legit casino operators. This way, you can avoid potential scammers or other unexpected events.
The gambling industry has had its fair share of scandals
These true stories are just some of the most outrageous events happening in gambling venues. These types of occurrences happen all over the world, leaving many businesses damaged and rigged with considerable amounts of money. But, with the evolved technology and trained law enforcement, the crime rate targeting casinos has decreased tremendously, and now casinos are safer than ever.