Bellagio Craps Table Robbed

By now, most everyone should have heard that a motorcycle helmet wearing bandit walked into the Bellagio and held up a craps table. Beyond the question of where was security during this whole fiasco, I have been asked many questions about this robbery and was a little surprised by peoples lack of knowledge concerning the casino industry.

I will start with the questions about security. At four in the morning on a weekday there really are not that many customers in the casino and even fewer security guards than you might think. A property the size of Bellagio could have a dozen security guards on duty and it would still be difficult to find one. The second thing I was asked about was the man entering the casino wearing a helmet. Absolutely, security would make him take that helmet off as soon as they reached him. Nobody can enter a casino with their face covered and that extends as far as hooded sweatshirts at most casinos. The guy probably pulled up on the bike and just jumped off and made a beeline into the casino before anyone noticed him. Surely the first employee to notice him would have walked to the nearest phone and called security.

The next misconception is that the bandit got away with over a million dollars. This is far from the truth. The robber stole gaming chips off of the table and no actual money. The number of chips stolen remains a matter of some debate. He would have needed a backpack or duffle bag to get away with any number of chips. Loading them by hand requires a person to grab stacks of twenty chips one at a time and throw them into the bag. Even grabbing forty per second would take a full minute to load 2400 chips into the bag. This would be a decent amount in a regular backpack and just a decent guess at what could have been taken in a quick robbery. The denomination of chips was $100 to $25,000. A stack of twenty of the big ones would be a half million and he could have gotten a few stacks off the table. That would explain the rumors of $1,5 to $2 million in missing chips.

The biggest thing that needs to be cleared up is that the $100 black chips are worth more than the $25,000 chips. A hundred dollar chip could easily be brought into the casino and cashed at the cage. The $25,000 chip is worthless because it can never be cashed in for money. The casino will be on high alert for these high denomination chips and the larger the chip the tighter the inventory control. There are very few if any of these floating around in circulation and if anyone has some of them casino is well aware of who they are and how many they have. I would gladly buy the hundreds for $80 each and be able to cash them out at a later date. I would not touch the $25,000 chips for free. Most people would have no idea how to go about cashing anything larger than a hundred dollar chip. I could launder some slightly larger chips but I would only be interested at a hugely discounted price. A $100 chip could fetch $80 cash and a $500 chip could bring $200 cash. The $5000 chip would bring about the same $200 if not slightly less. The $5000 chip would bring maximum risk and may not be able to be liquidated ever. Once before when a casino was hit for a large number of chips they took the chips out of circulation and replaced them with a new design giving players 30 days to cash any chips they held. The MIT blackjack team famously used a whole herd of strippers to cash out all of there $500 chips at the time.

I guess I am sharing a little wisdom to let the world know that the robber was an idiot and the casino was not really hurt in this little fiasco. A little bad publicity will hurt the casino far more than losing a bunch of chips.


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One Response to “Bellagio Craps Table Robbed”

  1. Thomas deArth Says:

    Hey Victor,

    Hmm, that was an interesting article. I was in Vegas all last week and while I was there another casino was ripped off but for a lot less. After reading your article it is obvious that the robber was clueless.

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