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Trio acquitted of duping The Star Sydney

Wed, Feb 20, 10:12am by Staff Writer

Three people accused of fleecing Sydney’s The Star casino out of $3 million dollars have been acquitted after it was found that no one had been “deceived” a court has heard.

Two gambling high rollers and a card dealer were accused of using hand signals and cheating during games of Baccarat.

Baccarat is a popular casino card game played between two hands, the “player” and the “banker”.

During each baccarat coup (round of play) there are three possible outcomes: “player”, “banker” and “tie”.

Cards are assigned a point value, with cards two through nine worth face value; tens, jacks, queens and kings have no point value (are worth zero) and aces are worth one point. Joker cards are not used.

Hands are valued based on the rightmost digit of the sum of their constituent cards.

For example, a hand of 2 and 3 is worth 5, but a hand consisting of 6 and 7 is worth 3 (the 3 being he rightmost digit in the combined points total of 13).

Prosecutors in the case are appealing the decision, which ends the NSW District Court case against the three men and is seeking a retrial.

The trial was held late last year before Judge Peter Whitford and heard that two gamblers – who have had their identities supressed – made bets of up to $250,000 over a 10-day period in July 2016 while in a lavish private gaming suite monitored by cameras.

In a hearing before the Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday, Crown prosecutor Brett Hatfield said the dealer used “sleight of hand” to see the forthcoming cards and used hand signals or “phone communication” to help the men place winning bets.

Peter Neil SC, who represented one of the high rollers, said there were photos of other dealers “at the very same place … using precisely the same hand movements”, which, the court heard, lasted between three and 30 seconds.

Each man was charged with participating in a criminal group as well as up to 20 counts each of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

The men applied for acquittal following the completion of the Crown’s evidence in the trial, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

They walked free after Judge Whitford found there was no evidence of a link between the alleged cheating and the winnings.

On appeal, Mr Hatfield said the judge’s decision was an “error of law” and there was “absolutely no ambiguity’ about what the case was.

“There was footage of the games at the casino … of every shoe that was played, he said, adding that every offence had been identified with precision, “down to the precise time” it occurred.

The acquittal of three men in New South Wales comes not longer after a pair of cunning Darwin men cashed in a $53,000 Keno ticket that wasn’t theirs.

Darwin pair sentenced over Keno rort

A customer of Darwin’s Sky City casino presented a ticket worth $53,353.60 to Michael John Rich Tomas on September 27, 2018.

Mr Tomas told the customer that the ticket he presented had not won anything, when he knew it had won and subsequently pocketed it.

He drove his brother-in-law Jonathan De Guzman to the casino the next day to cash it in.

The scheme came unstuck when the casino employee that Mr De Guzman presented the ticket to became suspicious after remembering he had sold the ticket to someone else, the court heard.

Police were alerted and discovered A$50,000 deposited in De Guzman’s bank account along with A$6,000 in cash at his home.

In Darwin Local Court, Mr Tomas received a 10-month jail sentence and Mr De Guzman eight months after pleading guilty to obtaining a benefit for deception.

They will be released after serving five months and four months respectively in home detention.

The true winner has been paid in full, but the two men will also have to pay back an outstanding A$7,353.60.

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