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Posted on: September 6, 2023, 09:08h.
Last updated on: September 6, 2023, 09:12h.
A magician who allegedly uses his knowledge of distraction to scam casinos was nominated Wednesday to Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons. That’s the infamous “black book” banning people for life from all casinos in the Silver State.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board nominated Shaun Joseph Benward, 36, following a presentation by Michael Somps, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Gaming Division of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
According to Somps, Benward has cheated casinos across the country out of tens of thousands of dollars by perpetrating a single scam — an allegation backed up by multiple news reports.
Benward’s MO is to work with an accomplice to distract roulette dealers. He wins their confidence through conversation, then places his bet late in a game.
When the ball lands, Benward tries convincing his dealer that he mistakenly placed his chips on the wrong number. His accomplice backs up the story.
Often, a flustered dealer will allow the bet to be played. Often, however, Benward is caught.
This is why his name appears on exclusion lists in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Michigan — and why he has cheating arrests or convictions in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, and Rhode Island.
According to Somps, Benward has been kicked out of 17 Nevada casinos over the years.
It is up to the Nevada Gaming Commission whether to formally vote Benward into its black book. When that might happen is unclear,
Benward, a native of Ocean Springs, Miss., has the right to a hearing before the vote.