June 28: Stolen Jackpots: How Slot Cheating Rings Raked in Millions
SLOT CHEATS VS. GAMING INVESTIGATORS, SLOT MACHINE MANUFACTURERS AND CONSULTANTS
Slot cheating rings managed to con casinos out of millions of dollars—until gaming investigators caught up.
Dick Charlesworth was part of a ring that ripped off millions in jackpots from the 1970-1990s. For the first time, he will spill insider secrets from his slot cheating days.
Prepare to gain rare insights into the battle between slot cheaters on one side and gaming investigators, slot machine manufacturers and consultants on the other.
As well, hear compelling stories about the uses of slot cheating devices and schemes, such as:
- YO-YO: The godfather of all slot machine scams. Tie a string around a coin and place it in the machine until it pays out. Then pull the string and coin out of the machine and do it all over again – like a yo-yo.
- SHAVED COINS: Slot machine makers fight back against the yo-yo scam with optic verification sensors. But cheaters found if they lightly shaved the coin’s edges, the sensor would reject the coins. Essentially the yo-yo scam without the string.
- MONKEY PAW: One of the first scams against computer-controlled slots. A guitar or piano string attached to a bent metal rod would fish inside the machine until it released the coin hopper, making the slot spit out money.
- AND MORE: Light wands, the top-bottom joint, fake coins.
Courtroom Conversations are an ongoing series of moderated panel discussions exploring special insights into the history of Las Vegas, the Mob and law enforcement, featuring prominent speakers and high-profile public figures.
Dick Charlesworth was one of the most prolific slot cheats in Las Vegas history. As Charlesworth says, “I grew up a third generation outlaw. My grandfather was a legitimate businessman until the Great Depression. He and his brothers owned service stations and oil storage tanks around Santa Barbara but the Depression wiped them out. My grandfather put poker rooms and slots in the back rooms of his service stations. That was the beginning of three generations of male members of my family being involved in unlawful gambling activities.”
Charlesworth began his career as a gambling cheat in his teens, when he learned “handmucking” at blackjack, making $150 in less than a minute. When he turned 18, he bought his first new car, a 1958 Oldsmobile ’88, and, as he says “was on my way.” He has worked his cheating rings in casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Paris, London, Monte Carlo and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Bruce Gates is a retired Senior Agent/Analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. He previously spent more than 31 years as a Nevada Peace Officer. From 1968-1975 he worked for the Las Vegas Police Department as a patrol and plain clothes officer. 1975-1980 he worked for the Nevada Division of Investigations and Narcotics, 1980-1999 for the Nevada Gaming Control Board with five years as a Senior Agent assigned to major investigations, surveillance and undercover projects, five years as a shift supervisor, and nine years as an Agent and Analyst in the intelligence and operations section. From 2000-2014 he owned and operated Bruce Gates Consulting, conducting gaming seminars, with clients that included the Native American Casinos, The National Indian Gaming Association, State Gaming Regulatory Agencies, UNLV and The National Judicial College.
Beverly Griffin has been in the gaming industry since 1967 and is president of Griffin Investigations, the pre-eminent company for tracking gaming subjects and scams. The company is known worldwide, and has been spotlighted on television shows such as The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, The History Channel, 48 hours, The BBC, a “Behind Closed Doors” special and an “Oceans 13″ Special. In addition, several publications, including The New York Times, National Geographic, Cigar Afficionado and Wired Magazines have run feature stories on Griffin Investigations.
She is a member of the Nevada Society of Private Investigators, and takes an active role in staying current in gaming and private investigation law.
James Taylor is the Deputy Chief of Special Investigations and Support Services for the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. He previously supervised the board’s organized crime squad for more than a decade where he was responsible for criminal, financial and intelligence investigations of organized crime activity and major casino cheating groups. During his career with the GCB, Taylor has worked on numerous local and federal investigations and task forces involving sophisticated cheating devices, bookmaking, drug trafficking, credit card fraud, money laundering, terrorism and major criminal organizations.