Amanda Lee Myers
CINCINNATI: Five people in the Cincinnati area were indicted Tuesday after prosecutors say they cheated at Ohio’s fourth and newest casino.
The five were caught either adding or removing chips from bets after they knew the outcome of the game, prosecutors said. They were captured on surveillance cameras in March, the same month the casino opened, and identified using their own players’ cards and Bureau of Motor Vehicle records.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said at a news conference that the suspects cheated despite at least 1,000 surveillance cameras inside and outside the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.
“For someone to believe that he or she can get away with it like these individuals did is idiotic,” Deters said.
He said that he’s also sure the five people were “shocked” about the indictments, since they’re facing charges of cheating in March and probably thought they had gotten away with it.
Warrants have been issued for their arrest but Deters said he didn’t think they had yet been taken into custody by Tuesday morning. If convicted, they could face anywhere from probation to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Karen Huey, director of enforcement at the Ohio Casino Control Commission, traveled to Cincinnati from Columbus for the news conference and said that cheaters have showed up at all four casinos almost immediately after they first opened.
“The trend is once the casino opens, we do see a flurry of cheating cases,” she said. “We attribute that to the newness of the dealers, the newness of the facility. A lot of people try to come in and test the facility.”
All four of the state’s casinos, approved by voters in 2009 to boost Ohio’s economy, opened within 10 months of each other this year and last, beginning with Toledo and Cleveland in May. Columbus’ opened in October, and Cincinnati’s opened March 4.
The state has caught about 10 cheaters each month since Cleveland’s casino opened.
State officials say cheaters not only steal from the house, but also Ohio’s counties, cities and schools because the state collects 33 percent in gross revenue taxes from the casinos.
With gross revenues at about $616 million between last May and through the end of last month, that amounts to roughly $203 million in taxes so far.