Just when you think you have seen everything in this business, a cheating scam comes along that knocks the Gee Joon right out of you. Birds start falling from the sky, whales are not saved, the earth gets warmer, Tiger Woods misses the cut and Lindsay Lohan announces she doesn't like boys anymore. At this point your casino has two choices 1) write it up, (the more paperwork the better) cover your ass, don't tell anyone outside the casino or 2) Go after the bastards.
This month a gang of notorious casino bandits, headed by "The Cutter" hit Las Vegas. After taking casinos for an estimated $50-100 million in the Asian Pacific region over the last year, the gang arrived ready to plunder and pillage the U.S. The scam from all accounts was a sequel to the infamous Tran Organization scam that ripped 29 casinos for millions of dollars a few years ago except the special effects and technology was far more advanced.
Unbeknown to many, data and intelligence on these criminals had been collected over the last year from various casinos around the world. Some casinos had access to this information. Most did not. Because they weren't getting caught, information was not released to the public and the casinos that got hit were not sharing information with the industry. Why? Ask the lawyers and the public relations managers that convince their CEO's that protecting one's reputation is more important than protecting one's integrity.
This nonsense came to a screaming halt this month when a casino surveillance team in Las Vegas got hit. Instead of employing the typical option 1 response of "What happens in a Vegas corporation stays in a Vegas corporation", this new kid on the block did the right thing for themselves and the industry. Operating under the premise of we're all in this together and more eyes are better, the information on the scam was shared as quickly and efficiently to as many friends in the industry as possible. They got the bastards.
Now this story comes with a caveat. Due to a legal "technicality" the bandits walked (or I suggest flew as far away as possible - for now). This is a challenge our industry and authorities have as we come to grips with new high-tech scams. It highlights the point that as an industry this new wave of iCheating scams must be case studied and analyzed so that future prosecutions are less challenging and the criminals get locked up. We need to get together and prepare ourselves for the high-tech world of cheating.
Regardless, we as an industry should celebrate this fresh kill. It is what motivates and inspires all surveillance people. It reminds us and our senior management that we live in 2011 and surveillance is even more important then ever. Scams like this don't come around every day but they are coming around more frequently with more financial consequences. I applaud the work of the surveillance director and his team that sent a strong message to emerging organized crime in our industry. They worked tirelessly and passionately to bring the Cutter and his team down and deserve a standing ovation for their efforts. They did all of us proud, but most of all I admire their willingness to share information with the rest of us. We appreciate any information we can get to protect our businesses. As an industry and a profession we need to share this type of information. It is the only way any of us can truly protect our games.
"Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies"
Stay classy Cosmopolitan.