Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ocean's 14

7-7-7 Busted!

Those of a certain age can remember the Rat Pack in Las Vegas, Sammy, Frank, Deano and the boys hung out at the old Sands, now just a memory where the Venetian now stands. Local legend has it that Frank got a little too rambunctious one night and was slugged by a Sands floorman. Not sure of the veracity of the story but over the years I've med probably a dozen local who claim to have been related to the floorman. He must have had a big family.

The Rat Pack was highly popular during the heady days of Las Vegas and they made a movie about a group of slick players who robbed a Las Vegas hotel. The movie was called Ocean's 11 and became a cult hit for Las Vegas visitors. Decades later the movie was remade followed by sequels Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13. Recently a real life happening has occurred which, were it a movie, would be called Ocean's 14. Of course this one is not nearly as romantic as the others. Nobody breaks into a vault. Julia Roberts doesn't flash any skin, and neither Frank Sinatra nor George Clooney are around to make teens and middle aged housewives swoon.

In the old days slot machines ate coins and spit them out when jackpots were won. In the interest of progress, however, machines are still able to eat coins, as well as dollars and chits issued by the casinos, but they only pay out paper tickets that must then be cashed in. It is not clear if the slot machines get indigestion by not being able to pass their coins when jackpots are hit but casinos save lots of coins by not having to pay change persons and others to attend the machines and pay jackpots that exceed the number of coins held by a machine.

In the real version a group of high tech computer nerds who were employed by the casino to work the slots were able to manipulate software in slot machines to print out phony jackpot payouts on tickets. Confederates posed as customers and cashed the tickets in. Gaming regulators estimate the thefts have gone on for more than a year and one hotel had been taken for more than a million.

Unlike the movie version the crooks were caught. At least one has pled guilty and agreed to pay restitution. But locals take this robbing the casinos stuff very seriously. Felony theft carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years in the hoosegow. It is estimated that casinos lose about six percent of their revenue to in house crooks. If you are considering trying to break the casino with a scheme, be careful, you just might end up doing hard time. A little blogging music maestro... how about "Jailhouse Rock."

Dr. Forgot

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