Posted on: April 4, 2022, 12:44h.
Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 01:07h.
MGM Springfield will be made whole on more than $30,000 a Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to swindling from the casino.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced last week that a Holyoke resident has agreed to probation and restitution of $30,025 for his criminal acts at the MGM Resorts property. Healey’s office says Daniel Ruiz, 41, pleaded guilty on March 24 to one count of cheating and swindling.
The cheating and swindling conviction stem from Ruiz confessing to using a sleight of hand scheme while playing Four Card Poker in January and February 2019. Healey explained that Ruiz visited MGM Springfield on multiple occasions during that period. That’s where he engaged in bet capping, an illegal practice that involves adding or removing chips from a bet after the outcome is known.
“Capping is when a player tries to surreptitiously add additional chips to his or her bet (often called pressing) after a result has been announced. For example, at blackjack, a player might have originally made a $20 bet, but when the hand goes in their favor, the cheater tries to increase their bet while the dealer is distracted,” explains Casino.org’s Scott Roeben.
It didn’t take long for MGM Springfield to take notice of Ruiz’s Four Card Poker play. As he continually won large sums — his winnings tallying more than $30,000 — casino security began closely monitoring Ruiz’s actions.
Surveillance footage discovered how he managed to keep walking away up big. Security officials said Ruiz would typically ask the table game dealer to exchange a large-value chip for smaller denominations. While the dealer was breaking down the chips, Ruiz, using a sleight of hand, would add chips to his bet that had just won.
Known as capping, late betting, pressing, and past posting, such cheating is the most commonly used ploy by criminals looking to steal from brick-and-mortar casinos.
Ruiz agreed to plead guilty to the cheating and swindling charge in exchange for paying back his deceitful winnings. He will remain on probation for two years, but will avoid time behind bars, assuming he follows through with paying MGM Springfield the $30,025. Somewhat surprising is that Ruiz has not been placed on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Exclusion List, meaning he could legally gain access to a casino in the future.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Gaming Enforcement Division is tasked with enforcing the state’s 2011 Gaming Act. The unit investigates and prosecutes illegal activity, such as gaming-related money laundering and other financial crimes and alleged cheating.
The Gaming Enforcement Division works with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Massachusetts State Police, local police, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Despite the first legal casino — Plainridge Park — taking its first bet in 2013, Healey says Ruiz is the first individual in the commonwealth to be indicted for cheating at a Massachusetts casino.
The public is urged to send tips to Healey’s office should they suspect a gambling violation. The attorney general maintains an online and toll-free tip line at 844-507-0637.