Casino heist movies like Ocean's Eleven, make the crime seem elegant and sophisticated. Having the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt at the helm of a criminal syndicate, gives the whole enterprise an austere and charm. The reality is that modern casinos are so security conscious that most attempted robberies are more of a smash and grab or enterprising in terms of technology to outsmart the machines. There are many casino heists and infamous thefts involving devices like the light wand that was designed trick the optical systems of slot machines into paying out - something that would never happen at Grande Vegas Online Slots.
While most casino movies centre on finely tuned deceptions, mob bosses, criminal empires and card sharks, the real deal is a lot cold, hard and uglier. While it may not make for sleek cinema, some of the stories are almost too good to be true. Here are three real-life casino heists that could easily inspire film adaptations like that of the MIT whizz kids in the Kevin Spacey film, 21...
Ritz Casino, London
A trio of gamblers, including a Hungarian woman and two Serbian men, won £1.3m using laser technology. A laser scanner linked to a computer was allegedly used to determine Roulette Wheel numbers by judging the speed of the ball on the roulette wheel. The speed of the calculations was quick enough for them to place their bets in the required time before the roulette wheel had spun enough times. The group managed to win £100,000 on the first night, then almost walked away with another £1.2m the following day. Following allegations, their funds were frozen and they were arrested. However, with little to go on in terms of legislation around the use of the laser... it was determined that they hadn't broken the law and they managed to keep their winnings!
SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia
Security cameras are monitoring winners in most high-end casinos to ensure that everything is above board, there isn't any cheating or collusion with croupiers. However, in the case of the SugarHouse Casino, their 500 surveillance cameras weren't the only thing watching winners get lucky. The Philadelphia police reported a spate of robberies in which bandits were targeting winners on their way home after windfalls in the early hours of the morning. On several occasions, winners were followed home and then attacked by masked assailants upon exiting their vehicles. Tasered and robbed of their winnings, an estimated $30,000 was taken in several separate incidents during the course of a week.
Crown Casino, Perth
Cyber crime is an unfortunate reality, but it takes a special kind of computer nerd to hack into and exploit the surveillance system designed to protect the casino. The Crown Casino in Perth became the victim of such an attack, after a hacker managed to work his way into their array of security cameras from a remote location. Adjusting the casino's cameras in such a way to view the dealer's cards, he managed to score $33m in Australia by co-operating with an inside man via an earpiece. The Crown were undoubtedly embarassed by the security breach, allegedly managed to capture the inside man but failed to apprehend the hacker.
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