10 charged with cheating at new Columbus casino

Woman tried to use counterfeit $100 bills

Gamblers play the slot machines as the Hollywood Casino Columbus which opened in October.
Gamblers play the slot machines as the Hollywood Casino Columbus which opened in October.

COLUMBUS — Ohio authorities said today that 10 people have been charged with cheating at the new Hollywood Casino Columbus, including some defendants who continued after they were warned to stop and one who admitted he was cheating and told investigators, “So what?”

More charges involving the casino are coming, including a woman who tried to use counterfeit $100 bills and a man who tried to re-enter with a gun after he was ejected.

The counts outlined today involve suspects who tried to increase or decrease their bets after the results of a game were known.

One type of cheating, “capping” a bet, involves players who see that they've won and try to secretly increase their bet. A related type, “pinching,” involves players who try to reduce their bet after they see that they've lost.

The charges allege cheating at table games including blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat.

Charges were filed against repeat offenders, not against individuals who might have tried once after getting carried away or having too much to drink, said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien. One defendant was charged with 10 counts but was observed 23 times, he said.

O'Brien said one man ignored investigators even after he was warned.

“It was kind of like, well, ‘So what? I'm entitled to cheat to try to beat the game,’” O'Brien said.

But the opposite is true, said O'Brien, a Republican who's prosecuting the cases even though he opposed the 2009 initiative that allowed casinos in the state.

“Whether it's marbles when you're 7 years old or whether it's on the sports field in high school, everybody knows that cheating's wrong,” O'Brien said. “People shouldn't have any kind of attitude that cheating's OK merely because it's at a casino.”

Revenue from casinos goes to cities, counties and schools in Ohio, added Karen Huey, director of enforcement for the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

“If a person comes in and steals from the casino, they're stealing from the state of Ohio,” she said.

If convicted the defendants face up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

More than 60 people have been charged with cheating at casinos statewide.