Washington State Crazy Moose Casino Patron Arrested for Alleged Repeated Card Cheating
Posted on: September 19, 2019, 02:39h.
Last updated on: September 19, 2019, 02:39h.
Washington State Crazy Moose Casino lost over $38,000 to Frederick Nolan — a card player who allegedly improperly switched cards at least 38 times over several weeks — while playing high card flush.
The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office recently charged Nolan with first-degree theft and second-degree cheating. The incidents took place at the Pasco venue less than a year ago, authorities claim.
Heather Songer, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Gambling Commission, further revealed to Casino.org on Thursday that “There is an ongoing investigation in regard to possible incidents at other casinos.”
The Crazy Moose incidents allegedly took place between Dec. 9, 2018 and Jan. 18, 2019. The “total loss to the casino … [was] approximately $38,335,” Songer said.
First-degree theft is a Class B felony in Washington State. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.
Second-degree cheating is a gross misdemeanor in the state. If convicted, he could face up to a year in a county jail and/or up to a $500,000 fine.
Nolan was given a summons to appear for arraignment in local criminal court on Sept. 30. He may enter a plea at that time.
Songer explained Nolan “placed bets on three different betting spots and received three different hands of cards. Nolan distracted dealers in various ways and through sleight of hand, he quickly switched cards between the three hands he played.”
Songer added that the purpose of switching cards between the three hands “was to give himself guaranteed winning hands with large payouts.” The “incidents were recorded by surveillance cameras at Crazy Moose Casino,” Songer said. She adds that the venue has high-definition cameras which “clearly identified Nolan at the gaming table initiating the cheating maneuvers.”
Casino staff claim they observed the cheating. It was reported to the commission.
There is a lot of money rolling through casinos, which means there is a lot of temptation,” Songer said when asked about how common such incidents are. “We see players cheating using card switching techniques and other schemes involving sleight of hand and distraction. Casino staff are almost always able to spot it.”
She provided an example in the case against Nolan. He was playing spots 4, 5, and 6 — which are the gambling spots directly to the right of the dealer.
He first reviewed his cards at spot 5, where he retained some of the cards by placing them face down in front of him as the rest of the cards were discarded. Next, he distracted the dealer by requesting an exchange of chips. Then, through sleight of hand, he quickly dropped a card from spot 6 onto spot 5. He then folded the cards at spots 4 and 6.
The cheating move gave him an 8, 9, 10, Jack in the same suit, which resulted in a 2-1 payout on the flush bonus and 50-1 payout on the straight flush bonus, she explained.
She recalled how Nolan had bet approximately $15 on the flush bonus and $65 on the straight flush bonus. The house loss for this one cheating act was at least $3,280.
Songer further notes that without adding a card from spot 6 to spot 5, he would have never received a straight flush.
Nolan visited the casino almost daily for a six-week period. He apparently never went to the same dealer more than about twice in a night, Songer told radio station WIRO.
Dealer Charged at Clearwater Casino
Elsewhere in Washington State, a blackjack dealer from the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish was arrested in January after he allegedly helped players beat the house while playing 21. It was not immediately known what happened to his court case.
Maryland Fails to Criminalize Casino Cheating
Meanwhile, in Maryland, a bill that would have made cheating at the state’s six casinos a criminal offense surfaced in the state legislature earlier this year. It failed to get enacted.
It was an updated version of a bill that failed to gain traction last year. But this time, it was pushed by a large number of lawmakers and was supported by MGM Resorts, as well as Caesars Entertainment.
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