Remember Ocean’s Eleven (Twelve, and Thirteen?) the movie about an elaborate casino heist set to silky smooth jazz featuring a bunch of suave characters? They easily elude the rather inept security guards and crack witty jokes along the way. You know, the same security guards charged with the task of protecting some overly large diamond, or an ornate jeweled egg… thing. If you don’t remember, you can see the synopsis here.
If you work in the security industry, you might also remember thinking, “This is so ridiculous. This would never happen.” However, I think you can guess already where this is going: it happened.
It happened bad.
- The location: Australia
- The Casino: The Crown Casino (Australia’s largest)
- The amount: $33 million
The scam was actually fairly straightforward: a group hacked the security feed for the casino and fed information about the cards to the operator seated at the presumably high stakes tables, raking in pile after pile of chips with near-omnipotent oversight on the cards being played.
How easy is it to pull off something like this? As it turns out, easier than writing lines for George Clooney on ER.
When we think “hacking a casino” a lot of us think up the archetypal scene of a Mountain Dew-infused nerd sitting in front of a small battleship of highly specialized, extremely sensitive computer equipment that can only be assembled through elaborate backdoor channels branching out all over the hacking subdomains of culture.
However, Las Vegas-based casino consultant Barron Stringfellow states that the theft in question was accomplished using some basic $20 equipment from a local Radio Shack type of establishment during an interview with ABC News, in Australia.
What Can the Casino Do about This?
When asked what the chances are that the casino recover the money, Stringfellow was not optimistic.
“Chances are zero,” he said.
Typically, if you manage to leave the casino grounds with a win fall on you, stolen or legitimately won, you’re in the clear. Casinos generally do not request the help of law enforcement when it comes to cases involving theft.
How Often does this Happen?
You probably don’t hear about very many casino robberies because casinos are usually completely loath to disclose the fact that they lost any amount of money, but especially a loss of this magnitude.
Still, casinos do regularly suffer theft ranging from minuscule all the way up to, well, $33 million dollars. Casino security is an opaque wall to the rest of the world. No one really knows what is going on beyond those shaded domes—you know, unless you hack your way in.
If you would like to read about some more stories of some of the best casino heists in history, check out this Casino Heists: the Worst and Best Bandits in the History of Casino Fraud blog post.