World Game Protection

Willy Allison's View from the Catwalk

The Roulette Color-Up Scam

I gotta hand it to the roulette color-up cheats. They're like "Energizer Bunnies." Not only has this Caribbean group of casino scammers been merenguing their way across the U.S.A. hitting roulette tables on a nightly basis, they're multiplying like rabbits. 

At last count the New York-based syndicate primarily made up of Puerto Ricans and Dominican Republicans (Republicans?) have over 70 members. It is believed they've been hitting U.S. casinos on a regular basis since 2003. This raises the question, how do they (continue to) get away with it?

Roulette has been around since the 18th century but we must acknowledge that it has an inherent vulnerability in its make-up. Casinos make players buy in for non-value color chips as opposed to the standard casino chips. The reason for this is because of the frantic "helter skelter" way in which players can bet all over the layout. By giving each player there own designated color chips the owners of winning bets can easily be identified, thus preventing disputes. Players nominate what value they want and buy in for the total amount they can afford. It's kind of like when I used to nip down to the fish & chip shop when I was a kid and ask for 60 cents worth of chips. 

The non-value chips can only be used at the designated table and must be exchanged for "cash chips" when they leave the table. There are usually about 5-7 different colors on each table, each one having a par inventory of 200-300 chips. The par inventory for each color should be recorded, monitored and reconciled by the dealer and floor supervisor. APPARENTLY THIS IS NOT HAPPENING! 

The basic roulette color-up scam works like this: The "lead-off hitter" comes to the table and buys some color chips. He nominates the value of the chips to be the table $1 minimum. After a while, the cheat will slip up to 60 color chips in his pocket ($60 value), play out the remainder of the chips and leave the table. At some point the 60 chips are given to an accomplice who conceals the chips in his pocket. The "clean-up hitter" comes to the table, buys in and asks for the same color chips that his recently departed accomplice was using. The twist: He asks for the color chips to be $25 value and buys in for $500. The clean-up hitter plays sparingly for a little while before re-introducing his accomplices 60 chips from his pocket. He cashes them out for the new $25 value amount ($1,500) and leaves the table. Roberto's your uncle!

There's some other little tricks the cheaters use. They like to work as a team and buy all the colors on the table and the $25 cash chips. This makes it easier to persuade the dealer to give the clean-up hitter the color he wants. They're also partial to chipper champ machines. Often when dealers are busy, color chips that have been sorted in the machine sit out of view making par levels difficult to check.

If your casino offers cheating promotions like "4+ Roulette Tables Per Supervisor" or "Easily Flustered New Dealers" (always a popular one with roulette cheats), there's a good chance you've probably been hit. 

These guys are putting up big numbers. Numerous casinos have been hit over the last 9 years in at least 18 states. They are growing in size. NO MAS!

The Louisiana State Police and the FBI are seeking information regarding the Roulette Color-Up Scam. Specifically they are working a joint investigation to put an end to the group's activities. If you have any information regarding these activities please contact LSP Trooper Thompson at or Darrin Hoke (Director of Surveillance L'Auberge Du Lac) at It's time to clear the layout.

Stay Classy Valley Forge 


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denominations on chips
It would mean more set of chips in inventory, but have colored sets with denominations on them. Red $1, $5, $10, $20. Blue $1, $5, $10, $20. etc
(June 14, 2012 ~ 8:12 PM)
By Anonymous
Basically, in the actual casino industry practice and experience, I'm totally agreed with ROULETTE's comment.
(May 07, 2012 ~ 1:32 AM)
By Anonymous
All great ideas that have been thought of by this group. They attack on busy weekend nights when newer dealers are burried alive or dealers are just tapping on the game. We need to work with casino ops and share intelligence around our gaming jurisdictions. This group is growing and organized and must be taken serious. They scout just like the organized past post teams from Italy did in thier prime. Willy, as usual, another timely and well written article.
(May 03, 2012 ~ 5:43 AM)
By Tony Weiss
Chip Idea?
Perhaps Casinos could implement that the non value chips become the value of the table Min. If you want to bet more than table min you just put more chips down. The color scheme still works to take care of the "No that's my chip" issue. The scammers could still do the scam, but the difference won't be nearly as bad as a $1 switch to $20. It won't stop them, but it will slow them down since the "take" won't be nearly as much. Thanks for the Valley Forge Shout out!
(May 03, 2012 ~ 4:35 AM)
By Nick W (VFCR)
roulette scam
We were hit afew years ago. Easly fixed. We just count the cheques before giving them to a player for a non value colour change up. This number goes to the shift and surveillance and then is compaired when the checques the guest presents when they are ready to cash out. to my knowledge we have not been hit since.
(May 02, 2012 ~ 6:00 PM)
By Anonymous
Unless I am missing something. It should be easy to implement a polocy not to change the "value of a chip" unless ALL of the chips of the same color are stacked and accounted for ? That way, pocketing chips will be noticed quickly ?
(May 02, 2012 ~ 12:35 PM)
By Anonymous
Roulette scam
This is the sort of things SIN and OSN are best used for. Not for sharing private customer info about players deemed merely unprofitable. Focus on actual criminals.
(May 02, 2012 ~ 12:10 PM)
By Anonymous
See these vendors at the
WGPC in February