Gambling has long been an activity for a lot of people who are looking for luck and for entertainment. Always there is the hope of winning a nice jackpot. However, winning a lot with gambling is difficult to achieve.
Because it is difficult and the casinos usually come out on top this feeds the people who want to win at all costs. The people who are not averse to doing so in a dishonest way. There are plenty of stories of scammers who have taken money from the casino, or at least tried to.
As a result, casinos in Las Vegas and beyond have been robbed of millions of dollars over the years as cunning criminals have found ways to walk away with large profits.
Las Vegas also Valhalla for scammers and criminals
Some of the scammers cleverly managed to evade the watchful eyes of casino security for years. Others were not so clever and ended up in jail, sometimes counting cards at blackjack, doing magic, or just walking out with bags of money. Many of them walked away with big winnings, but very many paid the price.
Cheating at the slot machines
Over nearly two decades, Tommy Glenn Carmichael stole millions of dollars from casinos by manipulating slot machines.
One of his inventions, known as the slider or monkey’s paw, was a wire that he would insert through the machine’s payout mechanism to activate the microswitch, causing the machine to release a jackpot.
As slot machine technology improved, so did Carmichael’s techniques. Using a camera and a small lamp, he invented a “light stick” that could blind the sensor of a slot machine and trick the machine into spitting out coins. According to The Los Angeles Times, Carmichael managed to rake in thousands of dollars a day from slot machines.
In 2001, Carmichael was caught by an FBI investigation and given 326 days in jail and three years of probation. He was also banned from entering casinos.
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Slot machine software developer cheats
In the early 1990s, Ron Harris was a casino software developer who wrote anti-cheating software for the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
But secretly, he coded machines with a hidden software switch that paid out huge jackpots when players tossed in coins in a certain order.
According to CNN, Harris manipulated 30 machines and had accomplices play the slots to win hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Harris was eventually caught when one of his accomplices was caught trying to manipulate a game of keno in Atlantic City. Harris pleaded guilty in 1996 to four counts of cheating, according to the Las Vegas Sun, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Counterfeit coins for slot machines
Louis Colavecchio, known as “the Coin,” was a well-known counterfeiter who used homemade coins to win thousands of dollars from Vegas casinos without gambling a cent with real money.
In 1997, according to CoinWeek, he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for manufacturing the coins. New Haven Register reported that he had 300 kilograms of coins in his car when he was arrested in Atlantic City.
Colavecchio was arrested again last year at the age of 76 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for counterfeiting 2,400 counterfeit $100 bills.