5 Gambling Scandals that Rocked the World of Gambling

5 Gambling Scandals that Rocked the World of Gambling

The world of gambling is as interesting as it could get. There are many heartbreaking stories of people losing everything over gambling. And there are also inspirational stories of people going from rags to riches overnight. But probably the most interesting stories you can find in the gambling world are the scandalous ones. Stories that took the whole betting scene by storm. Stories about cheating the system and the cases afterward are always fun to know about. So here are five scandalous gambling stories that are as interesting as they get. 

1. The MIT Blackjack Team

One of the most fun stories on the list is probably when MIT’s famous blackjack team card counted their way into millions of dollars. And they did it for almost two decades. From the ’70s to the ’90s some ex-students of MIT, Harvard, and some other institutions came together to form a group of more than 100 blackjack players who used their scientific and organized skills to earn millions off of casinos. Their leader was Bill Kaplan who trained all of them. This story was so popular that it inspired a Hollywood movie called ’21’. Casinos put a stop to this and the team broke up at around 1993. But some of them continued this endeavor into the 2000s. 

2. Louis Colavecchio (The Coin) 

Louis Colavecchio, whose famous alias was ‘The Coin’, used fake slot machine coins to make thousands of dollars off of slot machines. He did not even have to spend a single dime to win this money. Colavechhio was arrested and convicted for making these coins. He spent 27 months in federal prison. He was also again arrested for counterfeiting in 1997 when he was 76 years old. 

3. Ron Harris 

Ron Harris was a software engineer for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. His job was to design anti-cheating software. But he designed it in a way that enabled players to get jackpots if they inserted the coins in the machines in a particular sequence. Harris made accomplices who will be gambling on his behalf to win money. He rigged about 30 machines and walked away with a few hundred thousand dollars. Harris was finally arrested in 1996. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. 

4. The William John Brennan Case 

This one is a little different than the other ones. While the previous cases were of cheating, this one is of stealing that remains unsolved to this day. A sportsbook cashier, Brennan worked in the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. One day in 1992, he walked out of the hotel with no less than $500,000 worth of chips and cash. Nobody ever saw him again. Most importantly, none of the cameras installed in the hotel recorded him leaving either. He was never arrested and the case is still unsolved. 

5. Richard Marcus 

Since we are on the topic of people cheating the system, we have to talk about Richard Marcus. He used to be a baccarat and blackjack dealer in Las Vegas. Marcus learned the games inside out and used his knowledge to win money. When gambling he would play a hand with a low wager and see if he had won. If he did, he would swipe the lower value chips with higher value chips and win huge amounts of money. He made about 5 million dollars through his amazing sleight of hands. He was caught but never convicted. And to this day, he writes books about his story. 


These stories are some of the most famous scandals of the gambling world. There are many more stories like this. These incidents show us where misguided brilliance can lead people. Cheating and stealing might seem easy and that is why a lot of people do it. But the consequences can be severe. What people need to understand is that the casino world is already very risky. There is always risk involved in every hand you play. You cannot think about getting into gambling without also thinking about the risks you are getting into. These people surely cheated the system but that does not mean what they did was right in any way. But one thing is for sure, that they make for really good stories that generations of gamblers are going to talk about.

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