Real-Life Danny Ocean Robs Bellagio Of $1.5 Million

A gunman allegedly robbed the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, and he didn’t need to split his take with an acrobat, explosives expert or Matt Damon. The thief sauntered into the casino, made off with $1.5 million in chips from a craps table, then sped off on a motorcycle.

The Los Angeles Times reports Las Vegas police suspect the robber is the same guy who took $20,000 from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in July. This was the 10th casino robbery in the city this year, and one of the largest in recent memory, a police spokesperson told the paper.

The hardest part of the caper may be yet to come, the spokesperson said:

“Casino chips are not like cash. At some point they must be redeemed for cash at the Bellagio.”

Gunman robs Bellagio of $1.5 million in chips [Los Angeles Times]


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  1. rdm says:

    Do they have some way to track these chips to identify them from the other billions of Bellagio chips out there?

    • cynical_reincarnation says:

      If im not mistaken, most casino chips now have RFID tags in them…

      • cynical_reincarnation says:

        It really comes down to if they are just for verification or if they are serial numbered…

      • nucwin83 says:

        Yes, they do. It’s a step to prevent counterfeiting. An audit of the system would show which chips are missing and they can invalidate those chips. What will likely happen is this guy will sell the chips at a discount to someone by claiming that he won’t be going to vegas anytime in the foreseeable future.

      • jrs45 says:

        Bellagio doesn’t have RFID in their chips. Currently, it’s only the Wynn in Vegas. They’ll have a very difficult time proving that specific chips were stolen.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      Yeah I was thinking the same thing, the article says it was mainy 1K-25K chips those seem kinda high but IANAG. I would try to take some chips with me into the casino go gamble a bit and combine my “winnings”, wash rinse repeat until I have cashed them all, this sounds difficult and probably isn’t worth the risk though

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    It should be interesting to see how the Ferrari salesman reacts when he tries to pay for it with $100 Bellagio chips.

  3. Darrone says:

    He can easily sell them off to fences for 80% value who will cash them in in smaller denominations. You sell a few thousand at a time over a six month period, and you’ve got 1.2 million dollars.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Really? Where, and to whom?

      Who’s going to buy a $25,000 Bellagio chip, knowing it’s hot and likely to get confescated as soon as it hits a table?

      • Darrone says:

        There is no way of knowing the chips are hot. And im sorry, have you been to vegas? The guy buying 25k is going to sell them at 1k a piece to degenerate gamblers (of which there is no shortage). They are going to be spread to so thin that no one can tell the difference.

        • Murph1908 says:

          Considering this story is all over the internet, all over the news, and probably a hot topic in Vegas itself, I think it would take a moron to not suspect the 25k Bellagio chip being sold on the street is one of the hot ones.

          Will there be a moron or 2 to fall for it? Sure. But I doubt you’ll move anywhere near 1.5 million in chips before one of your marks sets you up, taking the more sure bet of turning your ass in.

          • Warble says:

            Um, try a moron or two hundred thousand. Just because a news story is popular and widespread doesn’t mean everyone knows, and just because someone hears about this incident doesn’t mean they’ll remember in three to six months, which is the minimum amount of time this guy will be sitting on those chips. Also, these are gamblers we’re talking about. Moving these chips is going to be easy.

            • Murph1908 says:

              Still not buying it.

              You can’t just go onto the strip, craigslist, stripclubs, or wherever and advertise you are selling chips. How are you going to find these 2000 degenerate gamblers who don’t listen to the news and who don’t have a memory beyond 6 months?

              Please. Tell me your plan to find people to buy $25k chips. And when your first buyer gets pinched, or decides to set you up with the police on a second buy, what’s your exit plan?

              We’ll come back in 6 months and see how this story turned out.

              • kujospam says:

                Most people in the northern states don’t even remember there was an oil problem in the gulf just 6 months ago. And you think this is going to mean something?

              • Putaro says:

                If I were doing this, I’d sell the chips to the Mafia. They have bookies and the bookies know who among their clients go to Vegas regularly. The original thief is definitely not going to get 1.5million for it, probably 10 cents on the dollar if he’s lucky.

        • semanticantics says:

          80% of 25K is not 1K.

    • sonneillon says:

      It would just be easier to have a friend go in and change them out 2 or 3 chips at a time.

  4. The Porkchop Express says:

    Can’t he sell the chips in little amounts to people who go there a lot? I mean sell $100 in chips to one guy and so on.

    If there is no tracking on the chips, people with gambling issues would gladly buy the chips off of him for 50% or so.

  5. FireJayPa says:

    “Casino chips are not like cash. At some point they must be redeemed for cash at the Bellagio.”

    Yes, and because of that it will be easier to fence them. It’s not like they have a sequential number of chips that are missing. Unless the Bellagio replaces all their chips (they won’t) this guy is fine. He can sell them off 75 cents on the dollar and still come away with a ton of bank.

    With that being said, shame on him. I like the Bellagio – it’s nice there.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Except the RFID in the chips is better than a serial number.

      When you are dealing with that sort of dough, you don’t think they have systems in place?

      When those chips hit the rack at the craps table, they were probably checked in automatically with the system va RFID. They likely know every chip that was in that rack at the time of the robbery.

      When that chip hits a table or a cage in the future, the cashier and security will know before you can say, “you want this in large bills?”

      • FireJayPa says:

        In that case, I’ll just tip strippers with $1000 chips. Making it rain baby!

        • Murph1908 says:

          I was going to write that comment myself, that the best place to move these might be the strip clubs.

          But I wouldn’t make it rain. Too many Bellagio chips hitting the floor would surely prompt a phone call.

          You’d have to do it slowly, one or two chips at a time, across multiple clubs. That’s still a lot of exposure. And you still won’t be moving the $25k chips, or anything over $500 or even $100.

      • lordargent says:

        What happens if you nuke the chips to destroy the RFID chip?

        /can it be done without damaging the outer portion of the chip (I think so since they’re clay chips, right).

        /how often/closely do they check chips of large denominations to make sure they’re tagged with RFID?

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:


  7. Murph1908 says:

    Dude is screwed, I think. If the chips are RFIDd, they’ll nab you if you try to play them or cash them.

    Some of those chips are $25k chips. No way you move those without someone running the scanner on them.

    You might be able to move some of the $100 chips, if you have some cash on you. Go to a $25 blackjack table, buy $1000 in chips from the dealer, play a few hands at $25, and then color up, slipping a few of the stolen $100 chips into your stack. If they aren’t scanned on the table, you’ll mix your chips in with the others in the rack.

    Hopefully, they’ll be given to the next guy who sits at the table.

    If they are scanned at the table when you try to color up, you are boned.

    If a keen pit boss, dealer, or eye in sky noticed you buying 1000 in chips to play 5 hands at $25, you are boned.

    If they are scanned at the door as you walk in, you are double boned.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      wow there is a lot of boning in this scenario, and not the good kind either. I didn’t know that chips were RFID’d, I posed a scenario where he could cash them earlier but your info kinda shoots that down.

      • Murph1908 says:

        Actually, you are probably better off trying to get boned the good way with these chips. At least the $100 ones.

        The girls working the casinos would probably accept them as payment. Then they get boned after getting boned.

        But, alas, that victory is short lived. The girl then says where she got them, and they track you down by your room reservation.

    • chuckreis says:

      According to a link someone posted on a Vegas message board I am a member of, as of middle of 2009 Bellagio was not RFIDing chips.

      • Murph1908 says:

        If the thief had this information, it could be why he targeted the Bellagio.

        And this would change his outlook considerably.

        Though those 25k chips will still draw attention, he could more easily move the smaller denominations.

    • akmofo says:

      I worked at Wynn Las Vegas, the first Vegas casino to use RFID chips.

      Even if the chips were RFID’d, they only have RFID scanners at the cage. As long as you play them at the table first to exchange them, you’d be fine.

  8. italianbaby says:

    oceans 12 in the making…

  9. cmdr.sass says:

    This isn’t the 1970s. Fencing the chips won’t work. Chips of those denominations have RFID tags. The IDs for each chip are recorded when they go out and come back in, so the casino already knows which tags are missing.

  10. SaltWater says:

    People….hello…he didn’t do it for the money.

  11. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Eh.the earlier Oceans Eleven with Sammy Davis Jr. is more entertaining, iyam.

  12. KlueBat says:

    I’m curious how this works from an accounting standpoint. Is this actually a “loss” for the casino? In theory they have not lost any money yet, outside the cost of the chips of course.

  13. TuxedoCartman says:

    And he made his getaway on a motorcycle? I’m trying to figure out if the boy’s been playing too much Grand Theft Auto, or not enough. Because if there’s one thing I can say I’ve learned from video games, it’s that making a run from the cops on a motorcycle is the surest way to die a bloody, horrible death.

    Ballsy move, either way.

  14. Ben says:

    If the chips are RFID tagged, can’t he go and get, like, an RFID machine and change the tag?

    • nutbastard says:

      probably not, though a short bit of microwave will wipe them out.

      not sure if that would help, though.

      • ThePlaz says:

        Exactly and then when the casino notes that all the chips don’t read anymore, they will know what’s up. Plus aren’t serial # also printed on the side?

  15. Thaddeus says:

    The real question is will it cost less than 1.5 million to completly replace all of the casinos chips? The smaller ones will be easy to deal with but the $25K chips, those will be a pain in the butt to try and cash in, fenced or not.

    • lordargent says:

      The chips have no intrinsic value, it’s no more costly for them to produce a $1 chip than it is for them to produce a $25,000 chip.

  16. BigSchem says:

    He could easily sell them on CList or Ebay and then those people could redeem the chips for cash (or play them)

  17. BigSchem says:

    He could easily sell them on CList or Ebay and then those people could redeem the chips for cash (or play them)

  18. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “Run and hide, my friend. Run and hide.”

  19. akmofo says:

    A lot of casinos will let you cash in chips for other casinos. For example, my girlfriend is a cocktail waitress at Wynn, and often times will receive chips as tips for other casinos. At Wynn’s cage, she can cash those out.

    Bellagio is an MGM property. Likely, the thief can cash them in at any other MGM property.

    The RFID scanners have a range of a couple inches at the most. I set some of these up at Wynn when I worked IT there. They only have these at the cages, not at any of the tables.

  20. Mcshonky says:

    Scatter half a mill in cjps in the street and you’ll still cash a million in over a year…….

  21. gman863 says:

    If you saw the video of the robbery you may have noticed he was wearing a motorcycle helmet with a rather unique design.

    My guess is the authorities are attempting to identify the make/model of helmet based on its graphics and do a reverse search of what dealers bought them at whosale and who bought them at retail. This sounds strange; however the tactic has worked before for tracing shoe sales linked to a footprint at a crime scene.

    The moral: If you’re using a motorcycle helmet as part of a disguise, stick with basic black or solid white.