Two reprobate Craps players who swindled the MGM Resort Bellagio out of US$1.5 million have earned their spots in the infamous Nevada Black Book that details individuals banned from gambling in the state. On Thursday the 15th of November 2018, James Russell Cooper and Anthony Grant Granito got their names entered on to the list of players who are not to enter any gaming facilities in all of Nevada.
Cooper and Granito were 2 of a team of 4 that got charged back in 2015 with several counts of felony theft and cheating. These stemmed from a con that the quartet ran at the Bellagio between July of 2012 and July of 2014. The fraud relied on Cooper and Mark Branco, both croupiers at the casino, paying out winnings that were unwarranted to Granito and a Mr Jeffrey Martin. These payouts were based on verbal directions made to the dealers, called Hop bets; at the exact moments gamblers threw the Craps dice. These bets were then declared to be whatever the dice ended up showing.
The four thieves plead Guilty in 2015, but Branco is the only member of the gang to still be in jail. Cooper and Granito chose not to try and defend themselves against their being banned, but Martin wants to challenge his fate. He intends to do so in December, at the next regulatory meeting.
It’s no small task to earn a designation in the Black Book, and Cooper and Granito are only numbers 33 and 34 in the entire history of the state’s legal gambling activities. Most of the original entries on this list were alleged to be figures from organised crime syndicates, but later additions have tended to be cheats and scammers.
Further north, in Connecticut, it has been reported that Ray Mariano, a one-time Blackjack dealer at the Mohegan Sun, has been sentenced to 5 years probation on Thursday as well. This penalty was handed out after Mariano was accused of issuing more than US$78 000 in excess payouts to an accomplice, also in 2015.
Although he pleaded Not Guilty originally, a plea deal was reached in February this year that reduced the charges of larceny against him from 1st- to 2nd-degree. Marlene Rivera, his partner-in-crime, got sentenced to a year in prison is September last year thanks to previous criminal activities. Mariano is also banned from the casino and the other gambling venue in Connecticut, Foxwoods Resort.