With Chinese New Year upon us, Las Vegas security have a sharp eye out for a gang of baccarat cheaters believed to have taken local casinos for $1m in January. The gang, supposedly numbering in the dozens, is believed to have netted tens of millions from casinos across the globe. Last year, Macau police issued warnings to the region’s casinos about the “extremely well-organized” gang, which appears to have exported its nefarious ways to North American shores.
The gang is known as ‘cutters’ for their method of cheating – a player drags the cut card along the deck, exposing the cards underneath to a microscopic camera hidden in his shirtsleeve. The Las Vegas Sun reports that suspected members of the gang were temporarily detained at the Cosmopolitan in January, but released when no evidence of cheating could be proven. Because no camera was actually observed by casino staff during play, authorities lacked the probable cause necessary under Nevada law to conduct a body search of the suspects.
Meanwhile, Nevada’s sports books, in conjunction with the IRS and the state Gaming Control Board, are on the lookout for messenger bettors. Specifically, they’re watching for the agents/runners who physically place bets on behalf of the sports betting syndicates, such as the one (recently profiled on 60 Minutes) run by Billy Walters. (We’re sure Floyd Mayweather Jr. thinks he’s in the same league as Billy, but anyone outside Floyd’s entourage would probably disagree.)
The difficulty in catching these runners, as the Board’s chief of enforcement Jerry Markling told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is in proving that they are being compensated for placing the syndicate’s mega-bets. But if the IRS can prove a runner is misrepresenting who is actually placing a bet, it’s a felony that can result in the application of federal forfeiture statutes. Guess those anti-gambling Republicans had it wrong — you don’t even need to click your mouse to lose your house!