Police charged two men over their alleged involvement in a betting scam at Star Sydney casino. The men are accused of being part of an elaborate betting scam at the casino’s baccarat tables.
The New South Wales Police Organised Crime Squad’s Casino and Racing Investigation Unit led the investigation into the betting scam. It created Strike Force Aintree in early September following reports of possible wrongdoing at the Star Sydney casino.
Police arrested Mr Hiew Duc Lam and Mr Ziyi Liu following an in-depth investigation. Mr Lam is a former Star Sydney employee who is alleged to have dealt cards to Mr Liu. The offences took place in a private member’s suite. Mr Lam and Mr Liu stand accused of communicating with each other on three occasions.
September 9 was the date police swept in and arrested the betting scam pair. They arrest Mr Liu in a casino car park and Mr Lam at his home in Canley Heights.
Officers executed a search warrant at Mr Lam’s home and found a stash of cash and casino chips. They found $270,000 in cash and a further $2,000 in U.S. currency. Electronic storage devices were also uncovered.
The police raided a unit in Ryde where they discovered an additional $300,000 cash and $169,000 worth of casino chips.
Betting Scam Participants Charged
The same charges were brought against both betting scam participants. Mr Lam learned his fate at Fairfield Police Station while Mr Liu was at Downing Centre Local Court. Both men return to court on November 11 facing the following charges:
- Three counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception
- Participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity
Court documents show Liu played baccarat three times between September 7-8. He won $24,000, $32,000, and $44,000 during those sessions.
John Cosgrove is the Detective acting Inspector for the organised crime squad’s casino and racing investigation unit. He gave some insight into how they uncovered the betting scam.
“These types of things were picked up fairly quickly with the system and processes at the casino and the police investigated that, and gathered the evidence to put these men before the court. In general terms, there is a lot of cameras, you are under constant surveillance down there and your actions and your movements are being continually monitored.”
Strike Force Aintree continues looking into the pair despite bringing them before the court. They found $570,000 in cash and $170,000 in chips, yet Liu’s three winning sessions only total $100,000. It’s possible their betting scam stretched further than Star Sydney.
Huge Baccarat Cheating Saga in the United States
This isn’t the first baccarat betting scam the industry has seen and won’t be the last. One long-running saga ended in July in New Jersey, United States.
Prominent professional poker player Phil Ivey stood accused of cheating high stakes baccarat games. It wasn’t a betting scam, but Ivey and an accomplice stacked the odds in their favour using edge sorting.
Edge sorting isn’t illegal but it is frowned upon by casinos. High stakes baccarat players often bet $100,000 or more per hand. They’re high-value VIPs who casinos bend over backwards to keep happy. Ivey and his accomplice noticed printing faults in the backs of playing cards. They requested those essentially marked cards be placed a certain way round in the deck. This allowed them to bet big when they were likely to win and less when facing losses.
The 10-time World Series of Poker champion won more than US$10 million at the Borgata in New Jersey. The casino paid Ivey out but then started legal proceedings to recover the money.
Borgata argued it was the victim of a high stakes betting scam and chased Ivey through the courts. Courts allowed Borgata to seize some of Ivey’s poker winnings and property. Ivey, however, hid his assets well and only paid back a fraction of the US$10.1 million.
Both parties came to an agreement six years after the betting scam first broke. No terms were disclosed but it appears the legal saga is over. Poker fans are delighted because it means Ivey can play poker in the U.S. again.