The One-Million-Pound Scam at the Ritz

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Two Serbian men, aged 38 and 33, and a 32-year-old Hungarian woman have been arrested on suspicion of swindling more than £1 million from a casino at the Ritz in London in a sophisticated hi-tech scam.

The suspects were held after scooping the haul on roulette, and police are investigating the possibility that they used a James Bond-style gadget consisting of a hi-tech laser scanner inside a mobile phone.

The device could have been used to calculate the speed of the ball when released and its probable finishing point on the wheel. By the time the calculation was made, the gambler would still have several seconds before the croupier called “no more bets”.

Management at the exclusive casino, a favourite of Arab princes and international playboys, became suspicious of the amazing run of luck on 16 March.

es are monitored using video cameras and experts looked at the tapes before calling in Scotland Yard.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, said: “I haven’t heard of a laser scanner being used before bitcoin dice but on roulette, mathematical systems have been used for years based on the speed of the ball and where the croupier puts it.”


The suspects were taken to a police station and then bailed until 30 March.


Online Casino U.S. Advertising Ban


The popular online search engines run by Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. are banning ads from online casinos, reacting to a federal crackdown on Internet gambling.


Mountain View, Calif.-based Google expects to drop all casino ads by the end of this month. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo is simultaneously phasing out the casino ads in its U.S. market, but allowing them to continue to appear in 14 countries where the company operates Web sites.


Yahoo’s decision also affects Microsoft Corp.’s MSN site, whose search engine depends on a Yahoo subsidiary, Overture Services, for its online casino ads.


Both Google and Yahoo are imposing the ban as federal authorities increase the pressure on the media to stop “aiding and abetting” offshore Internet casinos that have been illegally accepting bets in the United States.


The push recently prompted broadcast giants Clear Channel Communications and Infinity Broadcasting to stop broadcasting the ads of online casinos.


Overture spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens attributed the casino ban to a “lack of clarity in the current environment” and a desire to conform with its parent company’s policies. Yahoo stopped accepting banner ads from online casinos in 2002.


Google believes its action will help “provide the best search and advertising experience for its users.”


Critics of the advertising ban against online casinos say it compromises the media’s right to distribute information.


This isn’t the first time Overture and Google has shunned illegal businesses that previously were allowed to buy ads. Both companies late last year announced an ad ban against unlicensed pharmacies. Google is still trying to develop a system to distinguish between the legal and illegal pharmacies that operate on the Internet.