What are the biggest gambling scandals in Rock Las Vegas?

There have been numerous gambling scandals in Las Vegas over the years and this, in short, should really come as no surprise – it is the mecca of entertainment, after all. Making a list of the greatest, therefore, seems almost impossible.

How do we start? What criteria should be used? How can we ever navigate such troubled waters?

Sure, it’s a tall order, but it’s by no means impossible. Below, you’ll find a curated list of the biggest gambling scandals to ever rock Las Vegas. We did our best to be as objective and thorough as possible but, again, there was so much to choose from that a few gems must have flown under the radar.

In any case, these scandals serve as a warning and proof that in the end, everybody gets caught no matter how careful (or seemingly resourceful) they are.

Or, almost everyone, but more on that below!

Rigging Slots for almost twenty years

Those familiar with Las Vegas’ biggest gambling scandals will already know the name Tommy Glenn Carmichael.

He had managed to steal millions and millions of dollars by rigging slot machines in many different ways; this list of “patents” includes his now infamous “monkey’s paw”. As slot machines became more and more elaborate, so did Tommy’s rigging efforts. He was eventually arrested by the FBI and subsequently banned by the Nevada Gaming Commission from entering casinos for life.

The Roselli Brothers

A list of the biggest gambling scandals simply wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the “Roselli Brothers.” We put that in quotes because their real the identities are still unknown to this day.

What the “Roselli brothers” achieved from 1995 to 2000 is a real feat of ingenuity.

Their nefarious idea revolved around identity theft. A hacker friend of theirs searched for people with great credit histories and then opened new bank accounts in their names. So whenever casinos checked their credit history, they were always greeted with perfect results – no one suspected a thing.

After “earning” a total of $37 million, the “Roselli brothers” disappeared without a trace. Unlike many others, these two individuals obviously knew when to stop – their pride didn’t get the better of them.

The “MIT Blackjack” team

For nearly twenty years, a team of outstanding students from top colleges – MIT and Harvard, primarily – have taken card counting to a whole new level. The whole operation was run by a guy named Bill Kaplan.

He had supposedly trained over a hundred players over those twenty years and had also banked several millions for his efforts. The best part? Counting cards in blackjack was not illegal; they were just ahead of “the game”.

A few key lines of code

Ron Harris was a software engineer working for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. His work? Totally Vital: He was tasked with creating anti-cheat software.


Unfortunately, he gave in to temptation and actually wrote a few lines of code that would “trigger” a jackpot whenever the user inserted coins in a specific sequence.

He also had many accomplices who aided him in his nefarious endeavors – that is, to cheat the casinos with their money. Their greed eventually got the better of them, leading Harris to spend seven years in prison.