In a story seemingly taken from the screenplay of Ocean’s Eleven, Australia’s largest casino, the Crown Casino in Melbourne, was recently the victim of a $32 million robbery carried out by a foreign player, a casino employee and other possible accomplices. The casino’s own pan, tilt and zoom features on its surveillance system was manipulated in order to execute the job. Although no names are being released, a suspect has been identified, and a member of the casino’s VIP staff has been dismissed as a result of the incident.
Smooth Operators take their Cue
A security consultant for the casino explains how it all worked. “It’s very easy to intercept the signal from many casinos that don’t take precautions,” ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) radio was told. “The problem with casinos is that they think they’re unbeatable, but we see over and over again that they’re not.”
Apparently, the casino employee fed information to the gambler through an earpiece, alerting him to where the security cameras were pointing at any given time. Whenever the offender was being watched, he was told and would then adjust his conspicuous behavior accordingly.
Nobody’s Talking and the Investigation is Private
A Victoria Police spokesman said that the incident had not been officially reported to police, but officers were made aware of the matter and, in some cases, have been assisting in Crown’s private investigation. Crown spokespersons remain optimistic that the casino can recover the majority of its losses on its own and, therefore, are not commenting in detail to either the media or the authorities.
Barron Stringfellow, a name seemingly right out of Hollywood, is an international consultant for gaming security. He is investigating the elaborate scheme and hopeful road to Easy Street that will likely end up giving the perpetrators a serious haul of hard time in a place not nearly so elegant.
Crown Casino Melbourne is No Stranger to Heists
Crown has been the victim of previous gaming rip-offs; one was a similar inside job among high-rollers and employees. In July 1998, a baccarat dealer collaborated with a Chinese businessman to scam $1.8 million through faulty dealing.
In November 2011, thousands of dollars in chips were being stolen in the midst of a rash of such crimes. At the time, a single pit boss monitored up to 48 tables, which is impossible according to industry standards. Having added additional security measures in the past year, the Crown was less expectant of such a crime and likely less vigilant as a result.
In an instance of life imitating art, the plot is very much reminiscent of the popular movie Oceans 11. With the amount of blame placed on the entertainment industry for gun crimes, drug use and underage sexual activity, one can only wonder when the fingers will begin to point in this case. The media has already latched onto the notion, but authorities and politicians have yet to connect the dots. It’s possible that, because it’s a one-time instance as opposed to a rash of behavior, no issue will be made of it. But should there be a repeat occurrence at another location, the fallout could be significant. This is the sort of thing that got the Anarchists’ Cookbook banned.