Nevada Black Book Adds 35th Member After Gaming Commission Rejects Plea

Posted on: December 21, 2018, 09:08h. 

Last updated on: December 21, 2018, 09:08h.

The so-called Nevada “black book” has a new inductee after the state Gaming Commission refused an exclusion plea from Jeffrey Martin for his role in a craps theft that took place at the Bellagio between August 2012 and July 2014.

Nevada "black book" Bellagio craps
The Nevada “black book” has a new entry, a man who participated in a craps crime that stole more than $1 million from the Bellagio. (Image: Nevada Gaming Control Board)

Martin’s brother-in-law Mark Branco was a craps dealer at the time. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Martin and two other accomplices would mumble what sounded like “hop bet” as the shooter threw the dice.

Hop bets – which are wagers gamblers make on the specific outcome of the numbers the dice turn up – weren’t on the Bellagio felt when Martin and his gang carried out their scheme. If they didn’t win, Branco would simply act as if he hadn’t heard the wager.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board says surveillance video shows that the group overcame 452 billion-to-1 odds repeatedly to win an estimated $1.2 million.

Plea Rejected

Martin opted to try and make his case before the Gaming Commission as to why he shouldn’t be the next chapter of the black book – which is officially called the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Excluded Person List. Individuals who the state puts on the banned rolodex are barred from ever stepping foot inside a Nevada casino, and the only way to remove their entry is through death.

It’s funny because I’m standing here as a recovering compulsive gambler asking you to not keep me out of a casino,” Martin told commissioners. “It seems so silly to say out loud, but it’s true because I feel like everything you’ve read and has been said, other than the part about being a part of the planning of this crime, I did. I did it all.”

Martin, a Nevada resident, said his petition to the regulators was because he wanted to be able to have “staycations” in the future at Silver State resorts. “We would be sending the wrong message to the community if you weren’t included on the list,” Commissioner Philip Pro told Martin.

Martin spent time in his prison for his participation in the craps crime.

Hitting the Book

The Nevada “black book” isn’t the place where common thieves end up. It’s a catalogue reserved for the worst of the worst criminals who try and swindle casinos out of money.

Inclusion isn’t an easy task. In fact, in March the book received its first new member in nearly three years. But since then, the Nevada Gaming Commission has been writing entries.

The state added Joseph Whit Moddy in March for repeatedly ripping off elderly women inside Nevada casinos. Martin’s craps accomplices Anthony Granito and James Cooper were put in the black book last month for their participation in the hop betting operation.

Martin is the 35th person now in the Excluded Persons List, and when his brother-in-law Branco is released, the odds are good that he too will become a member of the notorious black book.