Casinos are large businesses focused on gaming and entertainment. However, the prevalence of cash and the anonymity that casinos offer can make them targets for various types of criminal activity. Here are some of the common types of crimes that occur in casinos:
Theft: With so much cash and chips moving around casinos, theft is fairly common. Patrons may steal chips or cash from the gaming tables when dealers are not looking or distracting. Employee theft is also not uncommon, with employees stealing cash or chips from the tables, slot machines, vaults or from patron's bags or belongings. Some casino theft involves sophisticated scams to trick patrons out of their winnings or cash. Due to the large volumes of money, even small theft incidents can add up to significant losses for casinos.
Fraud: Casino games are designed so that the house will always win over the long run, however, some try to illegally manipulate the games to guarantee wins or fabricate wins/losses. This includes cheating using devices like fake chips or marked cards, colluding with dealers or other patrons, or trying to manipulate slot machines. Credit application fraud also occurs, where people lie on credit applications to get access to cash advances or lines of credit to gamble with no intention or ability to repay. These types of fraud are illegal and if caught, perpetrators face criminal prosecution.
Money laundering: Casinos deal with large amounts of cash and this volume can make them targets for money laundering schemes. Criminals may buy chips or gamble with illicit cash as a way to give their money a legitimate source. While casinos have compliance programs to prevent and detect money laundering, some are still able to get through. International anti-money laundering laws have been put in place to help combat these types of schemes and impose penalties on casinos that do not have strong enough controls.
Violence: While less common than theft or fraud, violence does occur in casinos sometimes. This may involve fights or physical altercations between drunken or overly aggressive patrons, especially around the gaming tables or at bars. There is also the risk of armed robbery, especially with the amounts of cash that are visibly transported and stored in casinos. Although casinos have significant security to prevent and respond to violence, there are still incidents that occur, which can put patrons and employees at risk.
Casino customers caught committing crimes can also face significant consequences, including:
- Immediate removal from the casino property. If a customer is caught cheating, stealing, or engaging in other illegal activities, they will be promptly removed from the casino by security.
- Ban from the casino property. Customers caught committing a serious crime may be banned from returning to that casino and potentially other casinos as well. This ban can be permanent.
- Criminal prosecution. Customers who commit felonies like fraud, theft, or violence can face criminal charges from the authorities, which may result in fines and even jail time.
- Civil lawsuit. The casino may sue a customer in civil court to recover financial losses from the customer's illegal actions. This could force the customer to pay significant monetary damages to the casino.
Also any casino employees caught committing crimes on the job can face significant consequences, including:
- Immediate firing from their job. Theft, fraud, and assisting in illegal activities are all grounds for termination from a casino.
- Criminal prosecution. If an employee's actions constitute a serious crime, the casino and authorities may pursue criminal charges against the employee. This can result in fines and even jail time for crimes like theft, fraud, or money laundering.
- Ban from the casino property. Employees caught committing a crime may be banned from the casino property and potentially other casinos as well, preventing them from being able to work in the casino industry again.
- Civil lawsuit. The casino may sue the employee in civil court to recover any financial losses incurred as a result of the employee's criminal actions. This could result in the employee owing significant monetary damages to the casino
In summary, while casinos are entertainment venues, the prevalence of cash and anonymity puts them at risk of various types of illegal activity. From small acts of theft to large scale money laundering schemes, casinos must have robust security and monitoring in place to detect and prevent crimes. With stiff penalties including criminal prosecution for those caught committing crimes in casinos, they still remain targets for those willing to take the risk. Casinos also take crimes by employees very seriously and will pursue all appropriate consequences to send a strong message, protect against future abuse, and recover any losses. With the trust and responsibility placed in casino employees, their actions are closely monitored and criminal offenses are not tolerated.
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