We might have romantic notions about casino heists thanks to films like Ocean’s Eleven, but the reality is often more ugly than we’d like to believe. However, some of the world’s most famous heists have involved more ingenuity than simply storming in and brandishing a gun – let’s take a look at five of the most interesting ones.
1. The High-Rolling Hacker
While the exact details of this case remain unconfirmed, in March this year it was reported that a hi-tech high-roller managed to scam the Crown Casino in Melbourne for a cool $32 million Australian dollars. The gambler in question managed to hijack the casino’s advanced security camera systems for his own gain, and it’s suspected that an accomplice was informing him on how to bet based on this information. Though the unidentified suspect has now reportedly been banned from the casino, it only too him a few hands of cards to make his mark.
2. The Disappearing Man
While $500,000 might seem like slim pickings compared to the previous heist, you’d still have to get very lucky to walk away with that amount legitimately playing in an online casino. William John Brennan had no such difficulty, however – he was apparently considered trustworthy enough that no-one batted an eyelid when he walked out of the Stardust casino in Las Vegas with a bag full of cash and chips. Amazingly, he then disappeared entirely, and the authorities have been unable to track him down to this very day – his legend even outlived the Stardust casino itself, which was demolished in 2007.
3. The Smart-Shoed Duo
This quirky heist took place in California in the 1970s – a pair of physics students managed to create a pair of small computers that would fit inside their shoes. The first player’s shoes would disrupt the roulette wheel and ultimately attempt to predict where it would stop – the other player would receive signals from his own shoe, informing him how to bet. This worked surprisingly well, as it was months before the duo were finally caught by authorities. The shoes weren’t always reliable though, as sometimes they’d malfunction and give off sock-singing electric shocks.
4. The Laser-Toting Trio
Another heist that made smart use of technology took place in London in 2004, where a trio of gamblers used laser scanners built into their mobile phones to calculate the speed of the roulette wheels at the Ritz casino. This information was then used by a computer to calculate which sector the ball was likely to stop in, massively shortening the odds. The trio not only managed to rack up £1.2 million in the space of one evening, they were acquitted of any wrongdoing and allowed to keep their winnings. It goes a long way to prove that technology is a leading feature associated with modern day casinos, from physical locations to online havens like Intertops Casino online roulette rooms, there’s a lot of money to made from smart phones.
5. The Mathematicians
When is a heist not a heist? When the methods being used are technically legal – which is how the MIT Blackjack team were able to score consistent successes throughout the 80s and 90s. Using a series of card counting methods and clandestine signals, this organised group of gamblers were able to take many casinos across the world for a ride. Their efforts were immortalised in the 2003 novel Bringing Down The House, which was later turned into a film, 21, in 2008.