Las Vegas Lawsuit Exposes Underworld Of Chinese Highrollers
The crackdown on corruption in Macau has resulted in many Chinese high rollers looking to gamble in the U.S. where they are under less scrutiny. In an effort to avoid being identified there is a system of shills who operate in Las Vegas casinos like the Venetian and Palazzo in less talked about exclusive baccarat rooms. The inner workings of this largely unreported underworld was highlighted recently when the Las Vegas Sands tried to collect on gambling debts to the tune of $6.4 million by baccarat players.
The most interesting part of the story is the defense of the two alleged gamblers Xiufei Yang and Meie Sun who through their attorneys claimed that they were indeed simple housekeepers and far from high rollers.
They are what is known as shills who act as a front for the real gamblers who choose to remain anonymous as to avoid scrutiny back home and in the U.S. It is alleged that this practice is well known to Sands officials who were well aware of the practice which allowed millions to be taken out in credit by the shills and handed over to the real gamblers who were sitting nearby.
The attorneys for the accused two claimed that all charges should be dropped as it is clearly known by all sides that the real money was intended only for the high rollers and the women were simple victims. Baccarat is one of the most popular games for Asian gamblers and over the last decade makes up 40% of the take from all the games on the Strip. It is estimated that Asians make up as much as 90% of baccarat gambling in Las Vegas with the Chinese making up the majority. Also in terms of high rollers, Asians make around 75% of this vital sector according to industry experts.
The legal battle as to who is ultimately responsible for gambling debts will continue but these revelations on the inner circle of high stakes gamblers gives us a fascinating insight into the back rooms far away from the packed casino floors most of us visit.