MGM Springfield Crook Who Cheated Ordered to Repay Casino $30K

MGM Springfield Crook Who Cheated Ordered to Repay Casino $30K

Posted on: April 4, 2022, 12:44h. 

Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 12:44h.

Devin O'Connor

MGM Springfield will be made whole on more than $30,000 a Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to swindling from the casino.

MGM Springfield casino crime theft bet capping
Table game players at MGM Springfield. The casino was the site of a $30,000 theft that occurred in early 2019. The man behind the scheme has pleaded guilty and has agreed to pay back the stolen funds. (Image: MGM Springfield)

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, on March 24 pleaded guilty to one count of Cheating and Swindling.

The Cheating and Swindling conviction stems from Ruiz confessing to using a sleight of hand scheme while playing Four Card Poker in January and February of 2019. Healey explained that during that time period, Ruiz visited MGM Springfield on multiple occasions 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 For example, at blackjack, a player might have originally made a $20 bet, but when the hand goes in their favor, the cheater tries to increase their bet while the dealer is distracted,” explains Casino.org’s Scott Roeben.

Ruse Detected

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.

Prosecution First

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, as well as alleged cheating.

The Gaming Enforcement Division works in conjunction 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.