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by Vinny DeCarlo

Vinny DeCarlo is the author of How to Beat Casino Surveillance Ė Insiderís Secrets for Card Counters. He is a retired veteran casino man with over 20 years of upper management experience. His expertise covers the pit, security, and surveillance, and he even served as a General Manager for two different casinos. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. He also appeared on the Getting the Edge radio show from Las Vegas ( According to Vinny, there are two types of casino employees - those that know him, and those that claim to know him; therefore, never believe what you hear.

Note: This is a continuing series of cheating by Vinny DeCarlo, who worked in casino surveillance for many years. His previous articles described cheating by casino employees or players. This story is different: It involves theft by a cashier in a casino buffet.

This incident occurred roughly six or seven years ago. I was working in surveillance for a Strip casino in Las Vegas when my boss asked me to figure out why their buffet was "losing money." Initially, I couldnít figure out how management could even notice something like this. Thatís because I always viewed their buffet as troth, where the pigs go running while knocking stuff (and people) over so they can stick their heads under the sneeze guard and get to munching. However, I soon learned that they inventory all the plates (and glasses) in the buffet (hence, the reason you have to use a new plate for every trip to the buffet).

After watching a few of the employees that worked in the buffet, I noticed a young Asian girl, who worked the cash register and kept a side count of nickels in a cup next to the register. Why pull nickels out of the register and place them in a cup, I thought? In addition, I noticed that at the end of her shift, she would count the nickels and dump them into the register. I decided her actions needed more scrutiny.

I got directly above the cash register (in the catwalk) and drilled a small hole through the sheetrock, and placed a pin-type camera lens through it and started recording the shot with my mobile VCR kit. After a few days, I reviewed the tape and sure enough, her system gave her away, which was as follows. The buffet was $9.95. She was charging customers $10 but not ringing it up. Instead, she left Cash register drawer open or hit the "Change Only, No Sale" button.

She kept track of how many $10 sales that never were rung up by taking a nickel out of the register for each sale and placing it in a cup. At the end of her shift, she would count the number of nickels, and steal that number of $10 bills from the cash register.

Her stealing had been going on for well over six months and she had cleared over $180 a day. You do the math and see if you come up with the same amount; a lot.

When she was shown the evidence of here wrong doings, she admitted to everything. She was arrested by Metro for felony theft, robbery, and a few other things. When the time came for her court appearance, her attorney requested a continuation. In fact, five years passed due to their continuations and I had to leave Nevada so I never really knew how it ended.

Face it; crime pays very well (if you can get away it).

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