It's real-life '21' to beat the cheats at Ms. casinos

BILOXI, Miss. — It's been years since a camera was allowed into a surveillance room at a Mississippi casino. But last week the Mississippi Gaming Commission and Beau Rivage Casino showed the Sun Herald what it takes to crack an international cheating ring and why the government is partnering with casinos for homeland security.

The Sun Herald also interviewed "John Doe," an undercover special agent for the MGC, who identified how the Tran Organization cheated at least 16 casinos in the United States and Canada, including three in Mississippi, out of $7 million. He interviewed several of the ringleaders for the FBI and used Beau Rivage surveillance tapes to discover how the ring operated &mdash a complicated scheme in which dealers were manipulating the deck with identical reverse sequencing. Tran members using cell phones near the blackjack and mini-baccarat tables were signaling the deals.

Only one other unofficial person has entered the Beau Rivage surveillance room since the resort reopened after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. This wasn't the dark chamber made popular in Hollywood. It looked more like a typical computer workstation with four men seated at a long desk continually scanning the video monitors in front of them. Occasionally they peered up at the flat screens mounted on the wall and responded to a phone call by taking a closer look. At one point they zoomed in on a man they determined was counting cards.

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