Tactics of The Organised Italian Cheat Team
Italian Cheat Team
Thanks again to John Connolly to allow us at C4D to share his enthralling stories about the tactics and underhand methods of the more unscrupulous people who frequent the Casinos
It’s almost sixteen years ago to the day, that I assisted in the opening of possibly the most well known casino in what is today called Central Europe. We didn’t even know ourselves what the opening day was to be but they knew, they were waiting. They probably amused themselves in the existing casinos while they waited or dropped in to some local poker schools. We had a soft opening, I remember it was a Tuesday but we became busy and on every roulette table there was at least one cheat team. I knew who they were although I hadn’t seen any of them before, for me they stood out a mile but what to do about them. This was a new situation for me, although we had had the odd team visit the casinos in the U.K. and of course, “catch them if you can” and bar them out. However this was different there were so many of them, so we watched them all night long and then the next morning we began the process of putting them on the reception blacklist. It must have taken us a week to clear them out and probably one or two remained with us longer, who knows.
It started as a hobby I began to collect as much data as I could about them and then a few years later a friend advised me to join what was then the “European Casinos Security Association” organised from London, which later became the International Association for Casino Security or I.A.C.S. we used to meet once a year in different locations throughout Europe although some of the members came from further afield. I was one of the few Casino Managers in the group, which numbered amongst them some of the top Security and Surveillance Directors in the world. We would exchange information concerning cheating methods and the prevention of casino cheating.
Ten years later the chance to assist in the opening of a new casino, in one of Europe’s newest casino jurisdictions, came around. Opening day on schedule as advertised and in they came as early as midday, by evening there must have been at least thirty of the “ Organised Italian cheat team” members in the room, fresh from their successes in the three casinos which had previously opened in the weeks leading up to our inauguration. Although throughout the day we had prevented many from entering, there they were gathering and grouping together to attack the roulette tables. So began the process of getting them out, it took all of the resources of the Security and Surveillance teams to get the job done. First we had to approach the groups and demand their documentation, which we dully photocopied then we had to photograph them and evict them from the establishment. This was a full night’s work and at the end of the day we felt exhausted but yet satisfied that we had prevented their mission from succeeding.
Following this success I was invited do the same task on the opening of the next casino within our group, this took place at the end of September 2002. On this occasion I was told not to come for the opening day because an invitation only Gala Party had been organised. This can be a dangerous occasion too because the cheats still have a way of getting in, usually they will wait until the first guests start to leave just before midnight (the Cinderellas) and they try to purchase their invitation cards from them, therefore they are still able to get into the gaming rooms at the height of the action. However on the following day Saturday they arrived, first one came alone at 1 o’clock in the afternoon just to check out the opening times for the live games, he stayed only ten minutes in the room but from the surveillance room we could tell from his actions that he would return later and sure enough at 5. 30 he returned with some of the most famous faces in the group. We didn’t wait, six of them had entered the casino one minute apart from each other, we picked up the first three as they were standing near to the roulette tables, the others had settled down to play poker and establish some credibility for themselves. Twenty minutes later it was time to take care of the second group, only one of them gave us a problem because the security officer allowed him to cash out his chips, this is a mistake. Take into possession any of their chips and identity documents and usually they will cooperate with you. During this action we could see that their mobile phones were in heavy use and so the rest of their associates didn’t need to take the long trip up North for the evening’s entertainment. This meant a cheat free beginning for this casino and as far as I am aware they enjoy this privilege even to this day. This means that providing they are dealt with in the correct way and documented, they will give your establishment a miss when arranging their future travel plans.
Later in the same year I was invited to assist in three more casino openings and from the first two a similar story could be told but at the Grand Opening of the third casino the following happened. One thousand five hundred specially invited guests, celebrities from the world of tennis and entertainment. Top security surrounded the building and there they appeared, mid-evening. Twenty Italian uninvited guests arrived into the reception area, which was a sea of bodies queuing up to deposit their coats and register, all at the same time. The first five through were picked up as they were about to start on their welcome glass of champagne, when security took charge of them they followed like lambs, one would have thought that they had won a special prize, they were so cooperative. They were escorted to the cool room and photocopies of their Italian identity cards were made and they were mug shot by digital camera and shown the way back out. At the same time other security officers had pushed back out through the main door nine others but at least six more had in the confusion managed to get through to the gaming floors. All in all it took myself and the security team about two hours to clear them out of the house and ensure another successful casino opening. During the immediate days that followed we picked up two more small Italian cheat groups; however this particular casino is so ideally situated for the Italian cheat teams travelling throughout Europe that it could be a target for some time to come.
An even more ideally situated casino in the same jurisdiction, opened on the Italian border in autumn of the same year. On this occasion unfortunately I was not invited to assist but the story goes like this. That throughout the day the mostly Italian cheats arrived, although 5% of the group are made up from other nationalities, they were not recognised and at 11 o’clock in the evening as though they had synchronised their watches, they began to cheat all at the same time, on twelve roulette tables. Column pushing, top-hatting (past posting) and chip stealing, these are their tactics, so that no matter how many cameras there are watching, each surveillance room has the customary two work stations. So at best the house may detect two incidents together but by the time these incidents are reviewed to see who the perpetrators were, you have probably already been hit at least a couple of dozen times. Again as I hear it took a week to clear them out from the casino, therefore would anyone care to calculate the losses, this is money that never comes back to the house. One particular Maltese – Australian is expert at past posting ten chips onto the straight-up, one hundred on the number can cost the house 3.5 thousand of any particular currency unit each hit and in most cases one needs to look twice to confirm this action. Even cheekier is the way in which they lift up the dolly from the winning number, during the pay-off and still manage to get away with placing a hundred underneath the winning chips, in this particular operation timing is of the essence but they have this ability, to choose that moment when everybody’s attention is focused elsewhere.
The Italian Cheat Team
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