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A gigantic swindle at the Crown Casino, in Melbourne

Tom Lasten 20 March 2013 - 10:25:01
A gigantic swindle at the Crown Casino, in Melbourne

It's the dream of every self-respecting casino player: to one day set foot in the Crown Casino, a monumental gaming complex at the edge of the Bass Strait, in Melbourne. The three hundred gaming tables housed by the establishment, its thousands of slot machines and its lavish decor make it the place to be. Except that recently this prestigious hotel-casino was victimized by the biggest swindle that Australia has ever known. In fact, around $34 million was stolen from within its four walls!

A theft estimated at more than 34 million dollars

Every year, Crown Melbourne becomes famous for serving as the venue for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament. While tens of thousands of competitors face off at Texas Hold'em in what represents one of the premier gambling centers in the Pacific, devotees of blackjack also are accustomed to gathering under its roof to contest games of Blackpot, a local specialty in which $50,000 is regularly put into play.

"[…] The casino had the misfortune of being targeted by some con artists. In fact, no less than $34 million was stolen by these professional swindlers."

Recently, the casino had the misfortune of being targeted by some con artists. In fact, no less than $34 million was stolen by these professional swindlers. The crooks had probably watched one after the other the masterpieces of Steven Soderbergh prior to organizing their coup. For indeed, they proved to have nerves of steel, deftness and a cunning worthy of the protagonists of Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen. Such a caper had never been pulled off at the casino, which was established in 1994.

On the brink of a fortune

One may rightly wonder how the wrongdoers were able to succeed in garnering such a haul for themselves. If the operation was so well organized, it was above all because one of them had managed to disable the casino's security system. By using the video-surveillance cameras to their advantage, the scoundrels quickly had within their grasp a veritable fortune. In effect, while one of the men was passing himself off as a player, another was manipulating the cameras and notifying the first when he should start betting. In total, eight mal-intentioned players were scattered around in the casino, all receiving directives from their machinist confederate.

All the same, the staff of the establishment finally became aware of the fraud. A preliminary investigation enabled the detectives to ascertain the identity of this famous accomplice, who was none other than a casino employee. The authorities will now have a difficult task assessing the culpability of each malefactor in the affair, as well as determining what flaws existed in the security system routinely used by the establishment. The management of Crown Casino can nevertheless breathe a sigh of relief. The stolen money was returned in its entirety. It must be admitted, though, that the casino was on the verge of being scammed out of a colossal amount!

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