A 19-year-old blackjack dealer from the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish — on the Kitsap Peninsula near Seattle in Washington State — has been arrested after he allegedly helped players beat the house while playing 21.
Steven Darnell Singer was charged with first-degree cheating — a Class C felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine — after he allegedly looked at cards and then let players know whether they should ask for another card, according to a report from the Kitsap Sun news site.
In one reputed instance, a player was able to score 21 to beat the house, due to Singer’s assistance.
Caught on Tape
The teen dealer was charged Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court after an investigation this month was initiated following another casino dealer reporting seeing him allegedly colluding with players. The actions were then verified with captured surveillance video.
Singer has worked at the casino since last April, according to the report. Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort is one of a few Native American casinos in Washington where 18 to 20-year-olds can gamble — 21 is the minimum gambling age in most of the state and throughout most US states as well.
According to Washington State law, a person is guilty of cheating in the first degree if he or she cheats or “knowingly causes, aids, abets, or conspires with another to engage in cheating” and “holds a license or similar permit issued by the state of Washington to conduct, manage, or act as an employee in an authorized gambling activity,” according to the state's legislative page.
A judge can fine an adult defendant up to $20,000 on top of the prison time and fines mentioned earlier.
As of this past weekend, Singer's bail was set at $10,000, the Kitsap Sun said. It's unclear if he has been released.
How Common is Casino Employee Cheating, Anyway?
Singer certainly isn't the first casino dealer or employee to be arrested for cheating in recent years. But a few examples of other workers who tried to cheat casinos and lost include:
A baccarat dealer at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy charges last September, after being accused of working with a partner on what amounted to a million dollar cheating scheme. Dealer Ming Zhang was charged with conspiracy to transport stolen funds. Officials allege that the crimes took place in September 2017 and Zhang faces up to five years in prison. It's unclear if a trial date has been set.
In Australia, a Crown Casino Melbourne croupier and his three high-rolling associates appeared in a courtroom Down Under last April, where he stood accused of attempting to bilk the casino out of more than AU$400,000 (US$286,327).
According to prosecutors, the croupier exposed a portion of the baccarat deck to his co-conspirator. That partner would then take a picture of the deck, and when the croupier ensured that the exposed portion of the deck wasn’t shuffled, the co-conspirator was able to know what cards would be appearing in upcoming hands.
Then in November, the Missouri Gaming Commission recommended that the Mark Twain Casino in LaGrange be fined $50,000 for multiple cheating incidents that took place between December 2016 and August 2017.
The commission’s preliminary order for disciplinary action indicated that the incidents involved a lack of supervision at table games, which allowed dealers to aid players in cheating, as well as a failure to report those incidents in a timely manner.
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