If you watched a casino heist movie, you probably wondered: “Is this based on a real heist? Could someone actually pull this off in real life?” If you have, you’re not the only one. We all do it, and movie makers do it in reverse. They find out about an astonishing casino heist and decide to make a movie out of it!
With that in mind, we wanted to take a look at five extraordinary and massive casino heists from history that could one day become blockbusters! Who knows, one of you might even turn one into the next Ocean’s 11.
The funny thing about the amounts stolen is how much lower they are than the biggest slot winners. Progressive slots frequently exceed a million dollars when they pay out and at a minimum deposit casino, Canadians have the opportunity to get their name featured in the story instead.
1. The Bellagio Heist in Las Vegas ($1.5 million)
The first heist on our list happened in December 2010. It was orchestrated by Anthony Carleo, who’s more commonly known as The Biker Bandit. Orchestrated is probably a too-good of a word for what he did. He came to the main entrance of the Bellagio on his bike and went in wearing only his helmet and holding a gun.
He ran directly to the craps table and took a massive amount of chips that was worth around $1.5 million. Then he ran for the exit before the security could reach him.
It was bold but ultimately pointless. You see, the chips had tracking devices in them, so the Biker Bandit never got the chance to cash-in his craps “winnings.” However, he wasn’t arrested instantly. He got to the point of selling the chips online, but the buyer was an undercover cop who ended up arresting Carleo. The bandit was subsequently sentenced to 27 years in prison.
2. The Soboba Casino Heist in Las Vegas ($1.58 million)
It seems that Las Vegas is the favorite spot for wannabe robbers. This heist occurred only three years before the Bellagio one we just discussed. It was arranged by Rolando Ramos, an employee of Soboba, and another guy called Eric Alan Aguilera.
It seems that they were motivated by the famous Ocean’s 11 movie. However, their heist was far less complex because Ramos worked as a security camera installer in the casino, so he had the perfect opportunity to steal without ever being found out.
The two men simply entered the casino, pepper-sprayed, and tied up the staff, then filled in their duffel bags, just like they did in the movie. Then they ran for the getaway vehicle they prepared and managed to get out of the scene of the crime.
Ultimately, they didn’t manage to keep the money, because one of the staff alerted the police while the heist was happening, who then chased the perpetrators. They caught up with Ramos and apprehended Aguilera a few days later. The police found half a million dollars in his apartment, while the total amount they tried to steal was just shy of $1.6 million.
3. The Ritz Casino Heist in London ($1.9 million)
In 2004, three people managed to win $1.9 million from the famous Ritz Casino in London, using only a mobile phone, a computer, and a laser. They did it by playing at the roulette tables in two visits.
They used the laser on their cellphones to guess where the ball would land by determining the speed of its orbit. The information they gained at the spot was transferred to a computer and some software calculated the exact number where the ball would land. That way, they were able to place bets on winning numbers.
It sounds ingenious, and it is, but they got greedy. The trio started placing the best bets which, naturally, got people’s attention. As soon as their winnings hit one million (in pounds), the casino alerted the police.
At the trial, they managed to win and keep their earnings because there was no law that prevented them from doing what they did. However, they were banned from all casinos in London and the laws were changed accordingly.
4. The Circus Circus Heist in Las Vegas ($2.5 million)
This one is simple. It happened in 1993 and it was committed by the armored vehicle driver named Heather Tallchief, a Circus Circus employee. Her standard assignment was to drive the vehicle with tons of cash to the bank, but she simply decided not to do it.
She drove home, took her boyfriend, and fled the country. She managed to stay hidden until 2005 when she suddenly decided to hand herself to the police. The guilt ate her alive, but not her boyfriend who is still free somewhere, probably spending the rest of the money.
5. The Crown Casino Heist in Perth, Australia ($32 million)
This heist tops all the ones before when we consider the amount of money it garnered. It happened in 2013 with two men — one a disgruntled staff member and one a high-roller from abroad.
They did a simple thing: the staff member monitored the cameras at a few of the card tables, and discussed what he saw with the high-roller. The idea was so simple and could have been successful, were it not for their greed. They wanted the high-roller to win some fairly regular amounts for someone of his stature, but they ended up taking millions. The high-roller was constantly winning, which was naturally very suspicious to other staff members. He was caught but was let go because no money ever left the casino grounds. Also, security measures have subsequently been changed.