Marked card scam takes Macau casino VIP room for $3m

macau-casino-vip-scammersAn unidentified Macau casino has been victimized by a con job involving the fraudulent winning of some HKD 24.4m (US $3.1m).

On Monday, Macau Judiciary Police announced that they had arrested one casino pit manager and three VIP gaming collaborators, aka junket associates, after receiving a report on Friday from an unspecified casino regarding a VIP gaming room fraud.

Police said the pit manager had stolen a deck of playing cards from the VIP room at which he worked. These cards were then apparently marked in a way that allowed the three other conspirators to identify the card values before they were turned face up. Police said they were still investigating the manner in which the cards were marked.

PJ spokesman Ho Chan Nam told GGRAsia that the scammers wagered a minimum of HKD 1m per hand, winning HKD 24.4m within about half an hour’s time. All the wagering was done with a single shoe of cards.

Ho also said that the gambling activity also involved a ‘multiplier’ aka side-betting, in which the VIP and the junket agents have an understanding that the actual wagers being generated can be worth up to 10x the stated value. Ho said that the reported loss of HKD 24.4m didn’t include the multiplied value.

The four arrested individuals are facing charges of fraud and illegal gambling. Other suspects reportedly remain at large.

Meanwhile, a Singapore casino cheat has been sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty for her role in a counterfeit chip scam that took Las Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for over $1m.

Zhou Lina, a 38-year-old Chinese national, was part of a transnational syndicate that attempted to pass off over 1k bogus $1,000 chips at MBS last November. Zhou was recruited by a 47-year-old Singaporean, Chia Wai Tien.

Zhou and another woman were recruited to exchange fake chips for real chips of smaller denominations at MBS gaming tables. The cheats also mixed in fake chips with real ones, then exchanged the lot for cash, taking care not to exchange more than $5k at any one time to avoid suspicion.

MBS security noticed the bogus chips, prompting them to recall all $1k chips and refer the matter to the police, who eventually arrested multiple members of the syndicate, including its suspected mastermind.