Las Vegas cheating

Ex-casino dealers and two friends are indicted after they are accused of siphoning more than $1MILLION off craps tables at the Bellagio in Las Vegas
July 30, 2012 – 07:46 am
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith

James R. Cooper Jr.Dealers: James Russell Cooper Jr., left, and Mark William Branco, right, were fired by the Bellagio after the scheme came to light, and they were arrested in July 2014, prosecutor Jay P. Ramen said Thursday

The dice game scam involved the dealers accepting late or unclear bets and paying out winnings at times when colleagues and supervisors generally weren't aware what was happening, said James Taylor, a Nevada State Gaming Control Board deputy chief.

'Cheating is common, ' Taylor told The Associated Press. 'We arrest 350 to 500 people a year for cheating or theft from a casino. But to have it go this long and for this much money is unusual.'

Mark William Branco'Fortunately, someone noticed and came forward, ' he said.

Ramen, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney, said the arrests came after another dealer became suspicious and notified casino investigators.

Gambling regulators and fraud control agents from Bellagio parent company MGM Resorts International spent many hours reviewing security video, combing through the suspects' financial records, watching the men work and gamble, and interviewing co-workers and witnesses, Taylor said.

Jeffrey D. MartinAccused: Jeffrey D. Martin, left, and Anthony Grant Granito, right, were reportedly named in a 60-count indictment filed Wednesday

Scene: The exterior of the Bellagio is seen in this 2005 file photograph

'They were making wagers after the outcome was known and paying them off, or they were just putting wagers in and paying them out, ' Taylor said.

Anthony G. GranitoCooper, 43, cooperated following his arrest and testified before the grand jury. Ramen called it helpful to have a witness provide an inside account of the complex scheme.

A judge issued arrest warrants Wednesday. Arraignment dates weren't immediately set.

Martin's attorney, James Oronoz, said his client will plead not guilty and looks forward to his day in court. Attorneys for the other men didn't immediately respond to messages.

Jim Tatonetti, a longtime former casino dealer who now heads a Las Vegas security firm, Griffin Investigations, termed the scheme a 'dealer-agent scam.' He said a craps table can get crowded, with players and spectators surrounding casino dealers, floor supervisor and others.

'If you have a dirty inside person, he can slide a bet to the boxman and then just pay out whatever the (dice) roll is, ' Tatonetti said. 'If the bet is not clearly identified, it can be ambiguous for when a payout happens.'

Other cheating can involve scammers trying to bet late or confuse the stickman during the roll of the dice, he said.

Interesting facts

Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas is a Bugs Bunny cartoon from 2004, which co-starred Yosemite Sam. It was directed by Peter Shin and Bill Kopp and produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
This cartoon was never released theatrically; it was put onto the Australian DVD release of the feature Looney Tunes: Back In Action (from which Sam reprises his...

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