Casino robberies - NOT here at Grande Vegas!

Ever since the early casinos started to emerge in the 1930s, they have been a target for robbers who craved the piles of cash that they imaged to be inside. Even today, when those piles of cash are likely ensconced in an online bank or in the casino’s cybercurrency wallet, thieves, scammers and cheats aim to try to figure out ways to relieve casinos of their money.

Casino scammers have become more sophisticated over the years. Whereas at one time, it was common for bandits to stuff wooden nickels into slot machines to trigger winning payouts, todays scams take the form of cyberattacks on the casinos’ networks and phishing attacks on customers’ emails.

Casinos have always invested a tremendous amount of personnel and technology in efforts to protect their games and income but some enterprising crooks have managed to scoop up casino cash.

Join the Grande Vegas online casino to explore stories some of of history’s most creative casino heists. They include:

The Crown Casino Heist

The Crown Casino heist of 2013 involved a partnership between a VIP services manager at the Crown Casino in Perth, Australia and New Zealand businessman James Manning. Manning and the VIP manager breached security cameras so that the manager could send signals to Manning which enabled him to win eight hands of blackjack for a cool $33 million in payouts.

All this happened in one evening and since Manning never cashed out, he was not arrested but was simply ejected from the casino floor. The manager, needless to say, was fired, but it was a lesson to casinos around the world that, despite the best technology, a heist still boils down to the humans who instigate thefts.

Blackjack Card Counting

Casinos make great efforts to keep card counters away from their tables but it’s not always easy to determine when a player is mentally keeping track of the cards that have been played which allows him/her to figure out which cards are still left in the deck.

That’s what happened when Bill Kaplan gathered together a group of MIT, Harvard, Princeton and U of Chicago students – America’s top universities – and taught them to count cards and how to play according to strategies based on the knowledge of which cards were still left to be played.

Estimates are that over two decades, the card counters took in up to $57 million dollars – no one knows exactly how much. Much of the success had to do with the fact that the card counters were constantly switching so the casinos could never know when a new group of card counters was visiting.

The team made their way around the United States, from Atlantic City casinos in the East to Vegas in the West, and succeeded in achieving significant success in all areas.

Stardust Casino

The Stardust Casino robbery doesn’t come close to the tens of millions of dollars netted by the Ivy League card counters or the Crown Casino blackjack scam but it deserves points for because the thief was never caught and the money was never returned.

Bill Brennen was a sportsbook cashier at the Stardust Casino which, in 1992, was located along the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, Nevada. When he counted the money from the cash after a heavy night of Monday night football gambling he eluded the cameras and disappeared into the night with a combination of casino chips and cash valued at just over $500,000.

Brennan has not been seen since, making this one of the few casino robberies that has never, and may never, be solved.

Bellagio Casino

The Bellagio casino of Las Vegas experienced one of the casino world’s most brazen robberies in 2010 when Anthony Michael Carleo walked onto the casino floor, brandished a gun and walked out with $1.5 million in chips from a craps table. Carleo, the son of a judge, had already stolen $20,000 in chips from the Suncoast Hotel & Casino a few days earlier. He rode away on his motorcycle, earning him the name “biker bandit.”

Carleo checked into a hotel and proceeded to live it up on the loot. For six weeks he spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes, drugs and … gambling. It was his gambling that was his eventual downfall because he used chips from the robbery. Carleo was eventually caught and sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Circus Circus

In 1993 Heather Tallchief got a job with Loomis Security. She drove armored vehicles in Las Vegas that transported cash that filled casino ATMs. At a routine stop at the Circus Circus casino, when the other transport guards were inside the casino,Tallchief drove away with approximately $3 million in cash. She moved out of the country with her boyfriend but turned herself in in 2005, claiming that her boyfriend had all of the money and that she didn’t know where he was.

Roselli Brothers

The Roselli brothers ran a sophisticated scam operation from 1995 to 2000 which, it is believed, netted a total $40 million from casinos across the United States.

The Rosellis hacked data which uncovered the names of people with perfect credit scores. They stole these individual’s identities and then opened credit accounts with a number of casinos. They deposited money into every account which gave the casinos confidence to extend credit to these “players.” They slowly paid down their markets and were able to obtain increases in their credit lines which, at one point, were worth over $1 million per account.

They then took their money to Vegas where they won big and then, they vanished. The casinos, for their parts, were pursuing the people whose identities had been stolen and credit lines used. The Roselli brothers disappeared and authorities have never been able to identify their real identities nor trace the money that was stolen.


A group of 4 thieves made off with $84,000 from a Cannes casino in 2011 by marking cards with invisible ink while playing stud poker. They drew symbols on the cards that corresponded to their value and then returned to the casino, wearing special contact lenses that were designed to reveal the ink to their eyes while they played.

When the group returned to the casino a second time, the management picked up an alert about an unlikely sequence of events and started watching them more closely. It took time to discover the invisible ink but the casino security services eventually identified what was going on and the gang was arrested.

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