The Nevada Gaming Commission has recently made an addition to its notorious “Black Book,” inducting Shaun Joseph Benward from Mississippi as the 36th individual on the Excluded Person list. Benward, known for his history of casino cheating, notably skipped the meeting to address his involvement in a roulette cheating scheme.
His absence from the meeting was not unexpected, considering his past misconduct in various US casinos.
Nevada Becomes 5th State to Officially Exclude Benward
Benward has been a person of interest to Nevada gaming authorities for quite some time, first coming under investigation in 2017 for cheating at roulette. In just two months, July and August of 2020, he was expelled from nine casinos in Las Vegas, followed by a ban from a Lake Tahoe casino earlier this year.
After years of deceptive practices, the commission deliberated over Benward’s activities for 40 minutes before deciding to place him on the GCB Excluded Person List for his roulette cheating. Prior to this, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Benward, a magician and illusionist, was ousted from 17 Nevada casinos before his September nomination for the list.
In addition to Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, and Missouri have also barred Benward from their casinos. He has faced convictions or arrests in several other states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, and Rhode Island, for similar offenses.
The Method Behind Benward’s Roulette Cheating
Renowned for his roulette scams, Benward used a relatively straightforward method, fitting for a magician and illusionist. He employed tactics to distract and bamboozle roulette dealers, tricking them into paying him even when he hadn’t placed a winning bet. Michael Somps, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Gaming Division of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, described Benward’s method in a CDC Gaming Reports article:
“Mr. Benward orchestrated a fraudulent scheme in casinos while playing roulette, where he would claim to have instructed the dealer to place his chips on the winning number, deceitfully securing winnings.”
Benward’s strategy involved befriending the roulette dealers during play and then persuading them that they had incorrectly placed his chips once the game concluded and the ball had landed. With an accomplice to corroborate his story, the bewildered dealers would often acquiesce and pay him for the supposed error.
This scam has proven relatively successful across various states, as Benward has repeatedly been expelled from casinos without facing jail time. His technique has been so effective that he managed to swindle multiple casinos across different states out of tens of thousands of dollars over many years.
Shaun Joseph Benward’s repeated roulette cheating across multiple states, culminating in his banishment from numerous casinos and induction into Nevada’s Excluded Person List, underscores the persistent challenges faced by the gaming industry in tackling fraudulent activities. His ability to evade severe penalties over the years highlights the need for more stringent measures and vigilance within the casino sector.