Van Thu Tran, the mastermind behind one of the largest casino cheating rings in Canada and the US, was sentenced today in San Diego to 26 months in prison. For several years, Ms. Tran, together with several others, cheated the casinos out of US$7 million by various card false shuffling methods during blackjack and mini-Baccarat. Court documents also show that members of her organization bribed casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles, thereby creating “slugs,” or groups of unshuffled cards. After tracking the order of cards dealt in a card game, a member of the group would signal to the card dealer to perform a “false shuffle,” and other members of the group would then bet on the known order of cards when the slug appeared on the table. By doing so, they repeatedly won millions of dollars. They also used sophisticated mechanisms for tracking the order of cards during games, including hidden transmitter devices and specially created software that would predict the order in which cards would reappear during blackjack games. Tran was sentenced for, amon gother things, racketeering and money laundering. See earlier post here.
Interesting article here on Swissinfo.ch on the expansion of gambling in Switzerland and the fact that approximately 120,000 Swiss have a gambling addiction or a problem with gambling. According to the article, research by the Neuchâtel University’s Institute of Economic Research, determined that the social costs of gambling addiction is between CAD$564 million and CAD$681 million annually.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced today that Madrid has been selected as the site of its next multibillion dollar casino and hotel resort, and not Barcelona. The proposed casino resort will cost approximately €18 billion and will include 12 hotels with 36,000 rooms, six casinos and three golf courses and will be built over a decade. The corporation will inject 35% into development and the remainder will come from external financing.
Europeans dubbed the proposed casino resort "EuroVegas" and the news media in Europe focused almost daily headlines on the fierce competition for the project between Madrid, the nation's capital, and Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city.
Spain is facing an economic crisis with an unemployment rate of more than 24%. According to reports, EuroVegas developers promised that the casino resort would generate up to 250,000 jobs. The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has apparently said that it will lobby to change the non-smoking laws in Spain to allow gamblers to smoke while they gamble.
Last year, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. surpassed Caesars Entertainment Corp. as the world's largest gaming corporation, posting profits of US$1.27 billion in 2011. The Las Vegas Sands operates, among others, the Venetian and the Palazzo casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip; the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore; and the Venetian Macao and Sands Macao casinos in Macau.
International Game Technology (IGT) today announced a land-based partnership with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for its DoubleDown casino application. The application will be hosted on the Hard Rock's website and will give gamblers a chance to compete online for virtual chips. First-time users of the appication will receive USD$1 million in virtual chips to start playing. DoubleDown casino is a free Internet-based gambling website, purported to be the world's largest online gambling website.
Macau's gambling industry earned CAD$3 billion last month, the second highest ever in its short history, according to figures released by the Gaming Inspection Coordination Bureau ("DICJ"). Gross revenues rose 5.5% over last year, representing the slowest growth since 2009. Gross casino receipts were up 6.3%. The figures alleviate previous concern that the cash-flow from gamblers originating from China has dried up. As a result of Chinese banking regulations which restrict funds that can be removed from China to approximately $50,000 per person per year, gambling in Macau remains a popular vehicle for removing currency from China. Macau has 35 casinos, 5,498 gaming tables and 17,035 slot machines and is one of the most active gambling markets in the world.