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Crown’s ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ moment

In what could be a story from a Hollywood blockbuster, James Packer’s Crown Limited (ASX: CWN) has reported that a thieves have made off with $32 million by infiltrating Melbourne’s Crown Casino surveillance system.

A foreign high roller who was staying at Crown has been implicated, while a staff member has also been caught up in the scam, according to reports in The Herald Sun.

The story goes that an unauthorised person was able to get remote access to the casino’s network of its surveillance cameras and watch high rollers play in an exclusive part of the casino. Somehow that person was able to signal what he was seeing to the gambler, giving him a massive advantage.

Police have been called in and Crown is reported to be confident of recovering much of the $32 million, although the company hasn’t confirmed the amount. Gambling security consultant Barron Stringfellow says he wasn’t surprised, as the problem with casinos is that they believe they are unbeatable, and yet time and time again we see that they’re not.

Mr Stringfellow said that scams at casinos happen all the time, but many are not reported as it’s bad for business.

Deakin University Professor Linda Hancock, who has written a book on Crown, says it appears the high roller and employee struck a deal. Professor Hancock has told ABC News that there is no compulsion to report any of these incidences, and most of what goes on in the casinos is extremely secret.

Foolish takeaway

With the vast amount of money being gambled 24 hours a day in many casinos, they appear to be targeted often by thieves and scammers. Certainly something to consider when investing in casino owners Crown, Echo Entertainment Group (ASX: EGP) or Sky City Entertainment (ASX: SKC).

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

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