The 10 Most Amazing Casino Heists in History
Casino heists are considered the most daring kinds of heists given the fact that casinos are usually more secure than banks. Casinos invest heavily in surveillance among many other types of security systems so the thought of cheating in casinos is frightening enough let alone getting caught stealing.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped some very daring people from attempting to rob casinos. Most have failed but a few have succeeded. Since the beginning of casinos, very many heists have taken place. In this article, our focus will be on the most daring casino heists in history.
Below we will attempt to rank the 10 most daring casino heists in history. Forget about fictional casino heists portrayed in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Trilogy. Movie casino heists have nothing on the genuine heists discussed below. It should go without saying that most of the daring casino heists in history took place in Las Vegas (Las Vegas has been, and is still, home to the best/most luxurious casinos in the world).
Let’s get right into it.
10. Treasure Island Casino Heist (Location: Las Vegas, Year: 2000, Score: $30,000)
The Treasure Island Casino had been subject to many botched robberies before 2000. The tables, however, turned in October 2000 when Reginald Johnson burst into the casino, wielded a gun and walked away with $30,000. This was after Johnson had attempted and failed to rob this same casino twice before. Johnson’s general incompetence - as well as the habit of returning to failed crime scenes - led to his arrest in January 2001. Johnson’s daring spree of casino heists has him serving a 130-year sentence.
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9. Bellagio Cashier Heist (Location: Las Vegas, Year: 1998, Score: $160,000)
Another high profile and daring casino heist took place in Las Vegas in 1998. Two armored men entered the Bellagio Casino, jumped over the cashier’s cage counter and drew guns. A third man watched the casino’s entrance. The three stole $160,000 (in both cash and chips).
The three men identified as Oscar Sanchez Cisneros, Jose Manuel Vigoa, and Luis Suarez were later apprehended by police. Cisneros committed suicide in Jail awaiting trial. Vigoa pleaded guilty and was sentenced to spend his life between bars after being found guilty of killing two security truck drivers in an unrelated robbery. Suarez was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The three clearly executed one of the most daring casino heists but approached it all wrong with their armed robbery strategy and the fact that Vigoa’s face was caught by surveillance cameras during the heist.
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8. ''Casino Royale'' (Location: Multiple places in London, Year: 2000, Score: £200,000)
Three Londoners, perhaps taking inspiration from the James Bond movie Casino Royale, armed themselves with high-tech equipment and set out to hit six casino’s across London.
One of the robbers had armed himself with a miniature camera hidden inside one of his sleeves to film cards while they were being dealt and feed the images to one of his accomplices sitting in a van parked on the street. The accomplice in the van reviewed the footage in slow motion and gave appropriate instructions to his inside man using a small earpiece. The three shady gentlemen were arrested for hitting 6 casinos successfully in the first ever daring high-tech casino heist in history.
7. Severance Pay (Location: The Stardust, Year 1992, Score: $500,000)
Las Vegas features again in this list with another daring casino heist at The Stardust Casino in 1992. The heist can double up as one of the most daring ways of tendering your resignation. While serving as a sportsbook cashier at the time, Bill Brennan decided that his job was no longer fulfilling so he made off with $500,000 in cash and chips.
Brennan simply vanished after stealing the money leaving his colleagues and employer speculating that he must have been killed by an accomplice. More than two decades later, Brennan is still nowhere to be found.
6. Ritz Laser Swag Heist (Location: The Ritz, London, Year 2004, Score: £1.3 million)
The Ritz Casino made an unintentional £1.3 million payout to three cheaters in 2004. The cheaters used lasers installed in their cell phones to measure the speed at which roulette wheels rotated. Incredibly, they predicted the outcome of the spins accurately winning a staggering amount of money in the process. Although the men were arrested, the presiding judge ruled that they hadn’t committed any crime letting them off scot-free.
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5. Brute Force Heist (Location: Las Vegas, Year: 2005, Score: $1.5 million)
This is another daring casino heist executed using high-tech gadgets. Some brute force was also used to rob the Soboba Casino in Las Vegas. Eric Alan Aguilera and his accomplice Roland Luda Ramos relied heavily on fancy gadgets and tried-and-true techniques to rob the Soboba. The two burst into the casino, bound and gagged some three employees while holding another seven at gunpoint before stealing $1.5 million. Sadly for them, they didn’t get far after hitting the road with their ill-gotten gains. The two tried to outrun pursuing police cars in vain.
4. Circus Circus Armored Truck Heist (Location: Las Vegas, Year: 1993, Score: $2.5 million)
Las Vegas features again with yet another most daring casino heist this time at the Circus Circus Casino. Two lovebirds, Roberto Solis and Heather Tallchief, while on a couple’s tour in Las Vegas, decided to steal $2.5 million at the Circus Circus escaping in an armoured truck. Solis, however, decided to keep the loot to himself and disappeared leaving Tallchief $1,000 only. Clearly, thieves have no honour.
3. Riches of The Sole (Location: Many casinos in California, Year: 1970s, Score: Nothing!)
Although this heist failed miserably, it was pretty daring. In the 1970s, several enterprising students from the University of California developed miniature computers capable of reading roulette wheel movements. Each student hid a computer, receiver and emitter into their shoes. They hoped to measure as well as predict roulette spin outcomes accurately. Unfortunately, the computers malfunctioned short circuiting and electrocuting the students feet. Their socks even caught fire. What a daring failed casino heist!
2. The Crown Casino All-Seeing Eye Heist (Location: Perth, Year: 2013, Score: $33 million (AUS))
This heist stands out as the most recent daring casino heist having taken place just 2 years ago. An innovative uber-nerd scored a hefty loot by hacking into The Crown Casino’s surveillance system in Perth, Australia.
The gentleman manipulated the casino’s camera array sneaking peaks at dealers’ plays. He was able to successfully feed his winning strategies to his accomplice on the inside via an earpiece after which he would pocket most of the winnings. The Crown Casino was able to apprehend the inside man - even if the hacker is still at large.
1. The MIT Blackjack Heist (Location: Various casinos worldwide: Year: 1979 to 1993, Score: Multi-millions)
This casino heist qualifies as the most daring casino heists in history given the large-scale nature in which it was conducted as well as the score. The heist also qualifies as the longest most daring heist of all times given the fact that it started and lasted for a record 14 years. For almost one and a half decades, a team of MIT math geniuses ran the biggest most prolific card counting ring in history under the guidance of Bill Kaplan, a Harvard MBA graduate at the time.
The MIT crew managed to steal millions in high-stake blackjack games globally. The group allegedly dissolved in 1993. Many splinter groups and imitators have however come up to carry on their infamous legacy.
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