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Fighting Casino Crime

It’s time for our popular feature, which I just made up, called “Casino Crime Blotter.”

Fighting Casino Crime

Dateline, Des Plaines, Illinois:

(Here’s where you have to imagine an old-fashioned news-ticker sound effect in the background.)

Police are investigating an armed robbery that took place just outside the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. According to police, two men with bandanas covering their faces (they may have just been Covid face coverings, but “bandanas” sounds much more badass) pulled a vehicle up beside a guy walking through the parking garage at 2:30 a.m. and robbed him at gunpoint. They got away with $40,000, in cash.

The victim admitted to TV news reporters that he probably should have cashed out with a check from the casino instead of collecting his winnings in cash and strolling out the door with it.

Umm… Ya think?

Now, I’m not familiar with Des Plaines, Illinois. I’m sure it’s a fine place. The city’s website even says so. But still, I don’t care if it’s Mayberry and Otis the drunk is the only one on the streets. I’m not leaving a crowded casino to saunter into a dark parking garage in the middle of the night toting 40 grand in cash.

That’s a lot of samolians—400 $100 dollar bills. And here, in full view of every vagabond hanging around a casino at 2 in the morning, this guy tells the cashier, “No, I’ll take it in cash. Here, stuff it in my pockets.”

I’ve addressed this subject many times in this space. Geez, get a certified check. You can even have them wire your winnings right to your bank account. Don’t walk around dark streets and parking garages in the middle of the night with cash bulging out of your pockets like…

I was going to say Scrooge McDuck, but I did a search of my prior columns in two different magazines on this subject, and found five Scrooge McDuck references. That goes to show you how many people do this.

Just ask for a check, for crying out loud.

Dateline, Bell Gardens, California:

(Imagine the news ticker sound again. Hey, it’s essential to the bit.)

The Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Bell Gardens, California paid a $500,000 fine for casually accommodating a “high roller” who showed up with duffel bags of cash to play baccarat.

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that under federal anti-money laundering rules, you’re supposed to question a customer who shows up with satchels of cash to buy chips for your baccarat tables.

The casino was called on the carpet for improperly filed currency transaction reports and failure to file suspicious activity reports. The casino agreed to a non-prosecution agreement under which it pays the federal government $500,000, which they say is the amount the casino won from the customer.

Lesson learned. The next time I consider toting duffel bags of cash into a casino so I can play craps, I’ll…

Well, I’ll wake up from the dream and realize I couldn’t muster enough cash to fill a Walgreens shopping bag, much less a duffel bag.

(And these days, I’d even have to pay for the Walgreens bag. Not relevant to the story, but it annoys me, and this is my column.)

Dateline, Sparks, Nevada:

(The ticker again. Just humor me.)

Police report that around 6 a.m. one morning at Sierra Sid’s Casino, a man in black clothes with a vest marked with the word “SECURITY” approached the cashier’s cage and demanded money, while showing he had a gun.

“He then tried to enter the cage but was unsuccessful,” a news report said. “The suspect then ran out of the north casino exit and stole a purse from a woman gambling at a slot machine… Police found the stolen purse.”

Boy, thieves just have no creativity anymore. Or brains.

First of all, Sierra Sid’s is a truck stop. If you’ve got the cajones to rob a casino cage, why not go for a large casino? Putting that aside, I’m guessing there was some sort of locked, bulletproof barrier that prevented anyone who was unauthorized from entering the casino cage. Our guy’s diabolically ingenious scheme to thwart this measure was to wear a vest that said “SECURITY.”

“Larry, that guy’s trying to get into the cage! He’s got a gun!”

“Wait, Madge, his vest says ‘SECURITY.’ Buzz him in!”

And after all that, the guy snatches a purse on the way out. And they retrieved the purse.

His vest should have said, “LOSER.”

By the way, in my columns, references to Scrooge McDuck are exceeded only by references to The Three Stooges. If you research my work, you’ll find a Stooge reference before you can say Ticonderoga.

If you can say Ticonderoga.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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