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When George Bernard Shaw had said, “In gambling, the many must lose in order that the few may win,” he certainly couldn’t have imagined that his logic would one day well be apt to describe the people behind the gambling show, and not those engaging in it! A scandal has been running high lately in the global casino and gaming industry, and winning quick bucks or hiding mistakes seems to be the mantra.
While a Maryland casino dealer recently admitted in a Federal U.S. court that he helped players cheat the casino of over $1 Million at Baccarat games, the Oregon Lottery has found itself embroiled in a shocking controversy when its intentional silence on a technical glitch came to fore, once that mistakenly showed keno game winning tickets as losers, causing loss to players.
Usually you’d expect professionalism and integrity from the staff of a casino or gaming enterprise. Obviously, Ming Zhang, a Maryland casino dealer who recently admitted that he helped players cheat the casino of just over $1 Million in September 2017, didn’t believe so!
Zhang, a baccarat dealer has on Tuesday, pleaded guilty before a federal court in the Greenbelt, U.S., that he helped a number of players to cheat during games, in exchange for a share of the proceeds.
Zhang’s modus operandi was simple. He exposed part of a baccarat deck to a player who clicked photos of the unshuffled cards before the player and other conspirators placed large bets on hands. The scheming conspiracy caused a total loss of $1,046,560 to the casino.
In the court filing against Zhang, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Pulice pointed out that bettors can predict the outcome of baccarat hands with ‘near perfect accuracy’ if they know the order of cards in a deck.
While the name of the casino isn’t named in the court papers, casino MGM National Harbor located near Washington D.C. has confirmed that Zhang had worked for them.
“Ming Zhang is no longer employed by MGM National Harbor. We have provided our full cooperation with authorities throughout this investigation,” casino spokesman, Malik Husser said.
The Alexandria resident now faces a maximum five-year sentence in prison and sentence hearing is scheduled for January 31, 2019. Meanwhile, the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency is in the process of revoking Zhang’s license.
Cheating and fraud are often seen in an industry where money changes hands very frequently but who can one really trust, you’d ask, if a state Lottery messes up and actually posts the serial numbers of winning tickets as losers?
The incident has come to light in the U.S. state of Oregon where none other than the Oregon Lottery that runs an annual $1.2 Billion business tried to brush its recent technical glitch under the carpet! The scandalous blunder would have gone unnoticed had it not been for a local businessman who accidentally discovered it.
On July 23, the Keno game on the Oregon Lottery’s site glitched for nearly six hours. The lottery firm’s technicians were busy troubleshooting the issue but instead of shutting down the game, or posting a warning on the site, the Lottery company kept mum. As a result, around 172 winning tickets on the game were wrongly displayed as losing tickets.
The glitch would have never gone public but for keno player and businessman Scott Graf who had bought a ticket on July 22 that he thought was a $1,100 winner. But when Graf scanned his ticket the next day, the machine read out the message that it was a loser.
Graf then e-mailed the Oregon Lottery and wrote, “If I had not checked the tickets in my pocket the night before but only in the morning as I normally do I would have thrown away $1,152 and neither you nor I would have never known,” adding, “I do not believe, nor do I think you can prove this is a one-time occurrence or that you can be confident that this will not happen again.”
While the Lottery claims that the tickets misread by its scanners resulted in only $1,400 in unclaimed keno winnings, there’s no way for it to identify who the affected players were, except for Graf.
We don’t know yet if a lawsuit is in the offing for the Oregon Lottery but all in all, not a very encouraging bit of news from the gambling industry, we’d say.
For now, we leave you with these tidbits to ponder on, till we see you soon, with more gossips and shocks from the poker world!