Ex-Star Sydney Casino Baccarat Dealer Guilty in $345K Betting Scam

Posted on: July 26, 2021, 02:58h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2021, 02:56h.

A former baccarat dealer at The Star Sydney in New South Wales has been sentenced for cheating the casino out of nearly AU$500,000 (US$345,000). 

The Star Sydney casino baccarat
Surveillance video shows former The Star Sydney casino baccarat dealer Hieu Duc Lam peering to see which cards will be dealt next. Lam pleaded guilty to tipping off an accomplice in order to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the casino. (Image: ILGA)

Prosecutors brought charges against Hieu Duc Lam, now 36, in September of 2020. Surveillance video captured Lam the month before orchestrating a scheme involving a gambler who was in on the fraud.

Law enforcement said Lam used a mobile messaging app to tip off the accomplice as to which cards were forthcoming. 

Footage shows Mr. Lam peeking and memorizing a number of cards that were to be used in an upcoming game of baccarat. Once Mr. Lam had memorized the cards, he would then use a secure messaging app on his phone to inform his accomplice, a player in the upcoming game, the order of the cards,” the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) explained in a statement.

The illegal operation, police said, resulted in Lam and the unidentified accomplice swindling AU$467,700 in less than a month. In January, Lam pleaded guilty to 15 counts of “dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage.” The Star Sydney is owned and operated by The Star Entertainment Group

Star Uncovers Scheme

ILGA regulators said The Star Sydney self-reported the cheating scheme to the government agency. Gaming laws in New South Wales require such reporting when any sort of unlawful activity has been detected.

Along with his two-year prison sentence, which is set to run through July 8, 2023, Lam has been ordered to pay back the stolen funds, and perform 250 hours of community service. 

Lam’s casino license was revoked, and his employment at The Star was terminated.

“A casino special employee is licensed to supervise and facilitate gaming activities. Their role is to help safeguard the integrity of casino operations from criminal influence, serious misconduct or exploitation, and a special degree of trust is placed in them. This case demonstrates a clear breach of that trust,” declared Philip Crawford, chairman of the ILGA.

Repeat Violations

It was only in March when The Star Sydney fired two other employees who were convicted of stealing more than AU$30,000 in gaming chips from the casino. 

Baccarat dealer Richard Quach was captured on surveillance siphoning chips from the table while dealing last year. In a separate incident, Star security detected another casino table game employee — Pharadorn Naweesakorn — divvy out AU$6,000 in chips to a customer who only handed over AU$1,000 in cash. 

A subsequent investigation determined that Naweesakorn and the same individual conspired in the illicit scheme to net themselves around AU$20,000. 

The Star self-reported the two violations. Quach and Naweesakorn were both sentenced to two-year Community Corrections Orders and to repay the money stolen.