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Brother and Sister Convicted of Cheating at Casino

[Unpublished opinion.] In this consolidated appeal, the court held, among other things, that defendant-India’s conduct was such that a rational trier of fact could find that she cheated and that she intended to cheat. Also, a rational trier of fact could find that, by allowing India to place a bet after the ball landed, defendant-James “altered the selection of criteria which determine the result of a gambling game or the amount or frequency of payment in a gambling game.” Thus, there was sufficient evidence to support both defendants’ convictions for gambling activities – cheating at gambling.

They are brother and sister. James worked as a dealer at the casino. India contended that “cheating must be done knowingly and with an intent to defraud.” She argued that there was insufficient evidence to establish that she intentionally placed her bet knowing the outcome of the game. Evidence was presented that she went to the casino and sat at the roulette table where James was dealing. While she was sitting at James’s roulette table, he spun the ball in the roulette wheel and other gamblers at the table placed their bets. “As the ball began to lose momentum, James did not indicate to the players that no more bets were allowed. After the ball landed in the red 14 slot, James made a small hand gesture towards the layout, reached for the marker to mark the winning number, hesitated, and looked over his shoulder. At that point, India placed her bet on red, after the ball had stopped. By placing her bet after the ball landed, India eliminated, and thus altered, the element of chance that otherwise selects the criteria to determine the winner in a game of roulette or the amount or frequency of payment in roulette.” That she intended to cheat in this manner could be reasonably inferred from her “actions and words, including the fact that she sat at her brother’s table, that she placed a bet after the ball stopped following a spin during which her brother failed to wave-off, and the fact that she subsequently denied her relationship with James.”

James claimed that there was no evidence he cheated because he had no control over where the ball landed and he did nothing more than to allow India to make a bet “as the ball dropped.” However, evidence was presented that he was an experienced dealer but allowed India “to sit at his roulette table despite the casino’s policy, and he spun the wheel but did not indicate to the players that no more bets were allowed.” Further, the surveillance video indicated that he “allowed India to make a bet after the ball fell into the red 14 slot.” He also failed to “callout India’s large bet, and when confronted about India’s bet, James then denied their sibling relationship.” Affirmed.

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