Top Casino Heists in History

Gambling has been an ongoing phenomenon for at least a few thousand years. Nowadays, it’s one of the most popular forms of entertainment with more than a quarter of overall population gambling regularly, and more than half gambling at least once a year. But apart from that, casinos are an opportunity for organised criminals to conduct their operations, as they, firstly, hold a lot of money. Secondly, there are ways to cheat the house. Still, regular heists are far more doable than hacking, so the practice of robbing online casinos (kasyna online) is not very prevalent at all.

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While this concept seems like an excellent idea for a movie such as the Ocean’s series, such heists have been done in reality. Maybe not as elaborate as Danny Ocean’s perfect plans, but some were just as lucrative, bringing millions of dollars to the successful people standing behind them. While not as prevalent as bank robberies, casino heists have definitely made their way into our history with some being fairly fortunate. Others were far less so, resulting in their participants being locked up in prison. Here’s a list of some of the best casino heists in history.

MIT Blackjack Team – 1979-2000, many casinos all over the world

This is one of the most famous instances of a casino heist operation. An MIT blackjack team comprised of mathematically skilled students found an effective way of cheating in casinos. Led by a Harvard graduate, Bill Kaplan, their achievements have been immortalised mainly due to the publication of the movie 21, which regards their activity.

It is said that the MIT Blackjack Team has made as much as $22 million during their twenty years of operations. The history is this: Bill Kaplan has found a way of getting an edge over the house via card counting techniques. After turning $1000 into $35000 during the first year, he contacted some students at MIT and started teaching them how to count cards.

The team grew rapidly, utilising their technique in many different parts of the world, but soon enough, the casinos have become aware of their methods and soon banned many of them from further playing. While it’s not a heist per se, it’s one of the most successful long-term operations that allowed the participants to accumulate $22 million.

Crown Casino – 2013, Perth, Australia

One of the many inside jobs, the Crown Casino heist was certainly one with some of the highest payouts. James Manning, a New Zealand millionaire, has announced that he’d be purchasing the famous $12,500 cocktail, made with Titanic-stocked cognac. This was a part of an elaborate plan to cheat the casino and acted as a cover-up.

Because Manning has announced that he’d be buying the cocktail, the casino authorities immediately put him under the care of VIP services and let him play at the high-roller table. Needless to say, the cognac has proved to be somewhat unlucky to the casino, as Manning managed to scam the players for $32 million with a “lucky” streak.

Because it was such an unlikely win, the casino’s security guards decided to check the recordings. It became apparent that one of the members of Crown Casino’s authorities cut a deal with Manning and provided him with information about the other players’ cards. The casino worker was shortly laid off, and Manning got away with getting banned from the casino for life. Because the majority of the money hasn’t been withdrawn, Manning was let off with some minor punishments.

There was another issue for the Crown, though. It has already been announced that somebody would be purchasing the cocktail and the Guinness World Record Committee were notified. A bottle of $150,000 Cuvee Leonie 1858 has already been ordered as well. They had to find somebody who’d buy it. So they asked a frequent at the Crown Casino to purchase the drink instead. He agreed although it was all a hoax, with his money being given back to him after the transaction.

The Ritz – 2004, London, The UK

This heist was one of the most successful ones, perhaps one using the most sophisticated technology available. A team of three thieves, all coming from Eastern Europe, decided to cheat the Ritz, one of the world’s most popular casinos.

Their methodology consisted of laser scanning to read the roulette wheel’s velocity, giving them a pretty good idea of where the ball would land. They made £1,3 million in total and managed to get away with it. The casino quickly found out that something fishy was going on and the police were called to arrest the trio. Because there were no laws against cheating the casino at the time, the three were let off without any charges and were able to keep their money.

Stardust Casino – 1992, Las Vegas, USA

Perhaps one of the most popular scams involved a man named Bill Brennan, a casino employee. One perfectly ordinary day, Bill suddenly disappeared. And $500,000 from the cash register disappeared along with him.

Because Brennan was a respected, long-term employee, nobody would suspect him of stealing from the casino. Perhaps by taking advantage of that, Bill chose to vanish. Knowing the security guards’ routes and shifts, he managed to pack the money into a bag and leave the casino undetected. Brennan got away with it and was never caught by authorities. In this case, the plan’s simplicity worked in his favour.

Circus Circus Casino – 1993, Las Vegas, USA

This heist belongs to the most successful ones to date. Heather Tallchief, an armoured truck driver for the Circus Circus, managed to get away with $2,5 million in cash one day. Her job was collecting money from ATM machines. On the day of the robbery, she didn’t show up and drove off with the money in her trunk.

Soon, authorities were warned that a heist has happened and a search has begun. They never found her. It’s widely assumed that it wasn’t a one-person job, and she was cooperating with a criminal Roberto Solis. Heather turned herself in after twelve years, but the money has never been found.

She got off with five years sentence in prison, as she told the authorities that Roberto escaped with the money, leaving her only $1000.