Las Vegas isn’t nicknamed Sin City for nothing. If you can’t find the Seven Deadly Sins for sale in this town, they’re certainly available for rent. Avarice is the top seller, but lust and all the others get a look in from time to time too. And no, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…
Exposing the Crown Jewels
When the booze is flowing and the non-stop excitement of the city has you all hyped up, who wouldn’t be in the mood for a saucy game strip billiards? The UK’s Prince Harry certainly wasn’t going to say no in August 2012, especially not with some sexy ladies to impress at the party.
Sadly for the prince, the pictures of him in all his naked glory were then leaked to the media, which at least answered any queries about whether he was a true ginger or not. It took the British royal several years to live down his reputation as a Vegas party animal and become better known as a tireless champion of philanthropic endeavours.
OJ Gets Tried and Convicted
He may have been acquitted of the 1995 double murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, but the law eventually caught up with former football star and actor OJ Simpson 13 years later in Vegas.
OJ claimed that he and his partners in crime were simply trying to retrieve spots memorabilia that had been stolen from him, but a Nevada jury disagreed. He was convicted of more than a dozen charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery, and sentenced to up to 33 years in jail. He was released this year.
Roselli Brothers’ 5 Year Scam
One of the great unsolved scandals of Vegas involved ‘the Roselli Brothers’, who from 1995 to 2000 managed to take casinos in Nevada, Puerto Rico and New Jersey for a total of $37-million, while never spending a dime of their own money. The scam involved identity theft: a computer hacker researched people with excellent credit records for the ‘brothers’, who then opened bank accounts in those names.
Casinos accepted their false identities, and the ‘brothers’ were advanced a line of credit when their credit histories checked out. After a blowout night in Vegas on New Year’s Eve 2000, in which they ran the scam through dozens of casinos and pocketed enormous winnings, they disappeared forever. The real Roselli brothers were later found to have died many years before, and the scammers’ true identities have never been discovered.
The Cutter Gang Rigs Baccarat
Baccarat is one of the few casino games in which the player gets to cut the cards. With a tiny camera in his sleeve, a member of the Cutter Gang could learn the value and suit of the card above the cut, and then excuse himself from the table to remove the device and relay the information to other members of the gang.
This allowed the accomplices to play Baccarat with a much better chance of beating the house, and they cleaned up frequently in Vegas casinos. They were detained at The Cosmopolitan in 2011, but not enough evidence was found to press charges. The casinos’ only recourse was to ban identified members of the gang from their operations.
The MIT Blackjack Team
Anyone who has seen the film 21 knows this story. From 1979 into the 1990s, a team of maths geeks at MIT used statistical analysis to raise card counting to a science, and began winning at Blackjack in Vegas.
They weren’t cheating, and they reaped the rewards of their mathematical expertise for almost 15 years. Whenever a member of the team was identified by casino security, of course, they would be banned, but another team member would replace them quickly. The fact that the operation ran as successfully as it did for as long as it did is a scandal that Vegas would like to keep very quiet indeed.