Tennessee man charged with cheating at Toledo casino

Prosecutor: Gambler has ‘postbet’ in 4 other states

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    Ellis Quinn, Jr., is so good at cheating at craps tables that surveillance video of his moves were once used to train law enforcement officers in Missouri.

    And while he’s good — a “prolific cheater,” as Charles McDonald, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, called him in court Thursday — the Memphis man has been caught and arrested in at least five states for “pastposting” bets, a form of cheating in which the gambler places a bet or increases his bet after the dice stop rolling.

    On Thursday, Quinn, 51, was in Lucas County Common Pleas Court where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony casino cheating for pastposting bets at Hollywood Casino Toledo on March 7. Judge Ruth Ann Franks set his bond at $75,000 at the prosecutor’s request.

    “He did here what he’s done numerous times elsewhere which is to ‘postbet,’ which is to bet after the result of that particular game is known,” Mr. McDonald said after the hearing.

    Karen Huey, director of enforcement for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said pastposting bets to increase winnings is one of the two most common forms of cheating that gaming agents see. The other is “pinching a bet” or removing chips when players see they’ve lost.

    “It’s a pretty simple move,” Ms. Huey said. “Some of these folks we see are very practiced and experienced at this. They’ll create diversions for the dealers. They’ll identify dealers they think they can take better advantage of. … They might have associates who will distract the dealer, that type of thing.”

    Hollywood Casino spokesman John McNamara said the casinos leave law enforcement to the gaming agents, although casino employees are trained to identify cheaters and the ways people cheat.

    Ms. Huey said Quinn was observed allegedly pastposting a bet at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus earlier the same day he was caught and arrested in Toledo. Gaming agents stationed at the casinos are trained to watch for what she calls “travelers.”

    “Since the casinos opened, we were well aware we would be hit by travelers — people who are well-practiced at cheating at casinos and try to take advantage and move from state to state,” Ms. Huey said. “And that’s how I would describe Ellis Quinn.”

    In 2007, the Missouri Gaming Commission placed Quinn on its exclusion list, thereby banning him from any riverboat casino in that state. In 2008, Louisiana state troopers went to St. Louis to arrest Quinn on casino cheating charges the minute he was released from a Missouri prison for serving time on the same charges. At the time, he had cheating charges pending in Mississippi and Nevada.

    Just before Quinn’s arraignment on Thursday, a Defiance man who took out his frustration over losing at the casino on some of the slot machines was sentenced by Judge Franks.

    Randy Marks, 58, used his fist to damage nine video slot machines at Hollywood Casino Toledo on June 23. Judge Franks said the casino reported repairs to the machines cost $8,439 and estimated it lost more than $55,000 in revenue while the machines were out of commission.

    The judge placed Marks on community control for three years and ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution to the casino, serve four months at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, and complete a drug and alcohol program. She also barred him from entering the Hollywood Casino.

    Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.