Casinos have featured in movies throughout the history of cinema. From Casino Royale with it’s spies and the glamour of James Bond to the comedy of The Hangover. The Croupier had the cool British elegance of Clive Owen and then there was the infamous Mob history of Las Vegas in Casino. Then there are the Real Life Casino Heists movies. Ocean’s Eleven being the first that springs to mind for most people. The classic story of an ex-con who pulls together the old team to do one big final job, this time against a casino. It’s not just a tale about getting rich through illicit means but also revenge and it shows the casinos in all their glamour, glitz and flashy neon lit ways. They did such a good job they went back to Vegas again for Ocean’s Thirteen for the third movie in the trilogy some years later.
What about in real life, has anyone taken down the casinos like Danny Ocean. Let’s check out Real Life Casino Heists :
Real Life Casino Heists: MIT Card Counters
This group tried to do exactly that. Although it has been made into a movie called 21 it was based on the book Bringing Down House which tells the story of a group of MIT students who spend their weekends in Vegas counting cards. While it is not actually a heist they do set up a system of card counting so efficiently that on one trip during Superbowl weekend the team won $500,000. While the book and movie stretch the facts to breaking point there was indeed a team that was hitting the casinos and counting cards. Eventually they were so feared that security all across Vegas were constantly on the look out for this gung ho crew. There are no tales of card counters in online casino sadly.
The Bellagio Biker Bandit
Anthony Carleo, the son of a High Court Judge no less, decided that robbing The Bellagio was the way to make his fortune. In 2005 he started up his motorbike and drove to The Bellagio. There was no Danny Ocean style plan here to break into the vault. Instead Carleo walked to the craps table and at gunpoint brazenly took $1.5 million of chips.
Carleo actually made a clean getaway from the scene of the crime. His downfall came when he tried to get rid of the chips. Through either naivety or stupidity he tried selling them online under the name ‘Biker Bandit’ while the police were hunting for a bandit who robbed The Bellagio on a….bike. Our hapless criminal was caught while trying to sell some chips for $25,000 to an undercover police officer. Carleo was jailed for 9 years. Before he was arrested he bragged about his crime and felt so confident he even returned to the casino to try and use the chips.
Lunch Break at The Stardust
Bill Brennan was a trusted and long time employee at The Stardust in Las Vegas. As a cashier he had access to cash and chips and had never put a foot wrong which is how he pulled off one of the most incredible casino heists. Did Brennan assemble an Ocean’s Eleven style team and break into the vault? No he simply filled a bag with cash and chips and walked out the door. It was September in 1992 and it was Breenan’s lunch break. He filled the bag with around $500,000 and just left.
Brennan was placed on the FBIs most wanted list but has never been caught and is suspected to have gone overseas straight after the robbery.
Mandalay Bay Masked Bandits
In 2005 Mandalay Bay in Vegas was targeted by two masked robbers. They simply approached the change booth and held it up at gunpoint. There are reports that warning shots were fired but no one was hurt. Despite security and Las Vegas law enforcement the two robbers escaped. The amount that the thieves got away with has remained a tightly guarded secret which has led to rumours that it was a significant amount and left the casino embarrassed at the ease that they lost so much in such a simple way.
There have been no reports of any arrests connected to the robbery so it seems likely the the robbers got away with the cash.
Circus Circus Security Scam
The Circus Circus Casino in Vegas has been hit more than once but this was the biggest. Heather Tallchief was working for a security company in 1993 when she hatched her plan with Roberto Solis. Tallchief was working undercover looking after the casino truck used to fill the ATMs in the resort. The robbery was simple. The pair took the truck to a warehouse nearby and simply stole $3 million from it. They fled the country with the cash and went on the run. Tallchief was just 21 at the time whereas Solis was a convicted murderer and armed robber.
The life on the run didn’t last too long as Solis proving that you should never trust a thief took all the cash leaving Tallchief with just $1,000. Tallchief handed herself in over ten years later and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Solis has never been caught.
There have been other casino robberies and scams over the years but you don’t need to plan one to enjoy trying to take the house’s money.
Real Life Casino Heists: Bring Down the House
Although it isn’t recommended that you plan a casino heist there are other ways to try and bring a casino to its knees. When looking for a casino online compare the sign up bonuses. You can register with more than one online casino. Use the free to play games for practices and learn the rules so you can employ different strategies in blackjack and craps to increase your winnings.
Many gambling sites will offer loyalty bonuses and if football betting is your thing then check out any bookmakers that offer a weekly free bet. This is often given if you gamble a certain amount in a week but remember to only gamble within your limits.