The Few Times that the House Didn’t Win (Almost).

You probably feel robbed every time you leave the gaming floor, so it might be of some comfort to know that there have been times when someone managed to rip off a casino.  These robberies are almost never publicized and the details kept top secret.  Still, it’s fun to think about how the powers that be must have felt at the time.

A perfect example of a casino keeping it under wraps is the robbery of the Mandalay Bay in 2005. Two armed men held up a change booth and made off with an unknown amount of money.  At least unknown to us since the full details have never been disclosed.  They are so concerned about it happening again that they won’t even talk about which booth or entrance was used.

1 does not always get you the other.

1 does not always get you the other.

It must be embarrassing for a casino considering the millions spent on security.  This is probably the reason why the amount is rarely mentioned, like in the 2000 robbery of Treasure Island. This time it was a main casino cage, and the cashier was hurt.  The good thing is the bad guy in this one got caught and was later found guilty.

Vegaster Tip: CRIME NEVER PAYS!

Vegaster Tip: CRIME NEVER PAYS!

Then there was the 45 second smash and grab at the Hilton in 2008.  Two guys in motorcycle helmets pulled out their guns and made off with an estimated half mil.  Not a bad haul for less than a minutes worth of work.

Thanks to a book and movie, one of the biggest Las Vegas heists is also the most well known. Starting in the early 1980’s groups of students from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, rotated in and out of various Las Vegas casinos and robbed them blind.  They used their knowledge of math to count cards at the black jack tables and walk away with millions.

It took over a decade for the casinos to catch on to the scam.  Meanwhile, they were treating these college kids to every perk imaginable, from free tickets to the best shows to free weekends in the high roller suites.  Little did they know that the longer these supposed high rollers stayed, the more the casino got taken for.high roller suites.  Little did they know that the longer these supposed high rollers stayed, the more the casino got taken for.

This team was so well organized that by the early 90’s they were using computer technology to further increase their odds.  Greed eventually got the best of them, and they were finally fingered by every security team on the strip.  Good thing for them card counting doesn’t get you any jail time, but it will get you barred from the casino for life. Vegas without casino access is jail!

Vegaster Tip: DO NOT COUNT CARDS!

Vegaster Tip: DO NOT COUNT CARDS!

In true ironic fashion the book options were bought by MGM studios to make a movie based on the clever kids.  So in the end at least one of the casinos that was hit was able to get some of their money back.  But who knows if another round of freshmen hasn’t already invaded the floor?

To tell the truth, there are at least 10 reported casino robberies every year, and more than half are never solved.  That’s a lot,  when you consider how much we get taken for every time we throw our chips onto a table.

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