James Russel Cooper and accomplice Anthony Grant Granito are the latest names to be added to the Nevada Black Book.
The Black Book, which is actually silver, lists all persons who are banned from entering Nevada casinos. The two convicts have taken slot 33 and 34, banning them from entering a gambling establishment ever again.
Details of the Con
The two were convicted for theft and cheating at gambling after pleading guilty to avoid a further 60 counts if theft/cheating. The scam was run over two years from August 2012 until they were caught in July 2014. With the assistance of two more accomplices, the four men managed to scam $1 million from the Bellagio’s Craps tables.
The men used a scam involving a hop bet. Hop bets do not have a specific place on the Craps table to place one’s chips, and are made verbally with the dealer. The hop bet bets that the dice will roll specific numbers such as a 2 and a 4. To place the bet, you would request a 2 and 4 on the hop from the dealer.
The two dealers would work a single Craps table. The two accomplices would then join the table and mumble a hop bet, which the dealers would pay out. During the years of the scam, the men placed numerous losing bets to try and disguise their strategy however at 450:1 odds of winning they were eventually noticed and nabbed.
Today, only Branco is still in prison, and the rest of the guilty party have been released on probation.
The Black Book’s Purpose Revealed
The book was created as a means to protect the Nevada gambling industry and keep it crime free by banning known criminals from entering gambling establishments. A member of the black book commits an immediate criminal offense by entering a casino, and a casino does the same if it fails to report the person immediately.
In this way, the book prevents crime from getting out of control and therefore of no consequence to Congress which has the power to shut the industry down.
Establishments required to abide by the law are any establishments which have gambling tables and or more than 15 slot machines.
It is possible to appeal to have one’s name removed from the book. Over the years numerous attempts have been made to challenge the books use based on legal grounds, but all have been unsuccessful in both state and federal courts.