Camera-Wielding Baccarat Cheaters Fleece Casinos

Vegas prepares for 'cutter' scam

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 2, 2011 3:04 PM CST

(Newser) – Las Vegas casinos are readying their defenses against a group of baccarat cheaters, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The group, known as "cutters" and described by police as "extremely well-organized," are thought to have stolen tens of millions from casinos worldwide. They take advantage of the baccarat custom in which the dealer allows a player to cut the deck after shuffling. Using a tiny camera embedded in a sleeve or cufflink, the "cutter" spreads the cards slightly, videotaping their suit, value, and order.

Armed with that information, a second group of cheaters sits down next to their secret colleague. The scam is thought to have been perfected in Asia and recently taken abroad, with Vegas as the newest target. Gaming Control Board agents thought they caught a group of cutters at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, but could not find the tiny camera—and were forced to let them go for lack of evidence. Their take? More than $1 million.

A table game section is adorned with red Chinese lanterns at the Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas in this Feb. 13, 2007 file photo.
A table game section is adorned with red Chinese lanterns at the Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas in this Feb. 13, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)
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