Nevada Adds 36th Person To Black Book For Cheating At Roulette

Written By Marc Meltzer on December 27, 2023
Detailed View Of Casino Roulette Game

The Nevada Gaming Commission recently announced it added a person to its infamous “Black Book.” Shaun Joseph Benward from Mississippi is just the 36th entry to the Silver State’s Excluded Person list.

Benward’s banning isn’t much of a surprise. He didn’t appear at the meeting to discuss his part in the cheating scheme.

He likely chose not to appear because he isn’t new to cheating inside US casinos.

Nevada is the 5th state to ban Benward

Nevada gaming regulators have had their eyes on Benward for years. He was first investigated for cheating on roulette in 2017.

Broward was kicked out of nine Las Vegas casinos in July and August 2020 alone. Earlier this year he was kicked out of a Lake Tahoe casino.

Years of cheating finally caught up with Benward. The gaming commission discussed his future in Nevada casinos for 40 minutes before they ultimately added him to the GCB Excluded Person List for cheating at roulette.

Nevada is just the latest state to take serious measures against Benward. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the magician and illusionist was kicked out of 17 Nevada casinos before being nominated for the Excluded Person list in Sept.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, and Missouri casinos have already banned Benward from their respective casinos. He’s been convicted or arrested by casinos in:

  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Ohio
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island

How did he cheat on roulette?

Benward is a long-time roulette cheat. His technique was relatively simple for a magician and illusionist.

He would distract and confuse roulette dealers into paying him despite not placing a winning bet. Michael Somps, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Gaming Division of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, shared details about the scheme in a CDC Gaming Reports post:

“Mr. Benward engages in a scheme to defraud casinos while playing roulette, where he essentially claims to have told the dealer to place his chips on the eventual winning number in an effort to fraudulently claim winnings.”

Benward would befriend roulette dealers while playing. He would then convince dealers that they incorrectly placed his chips after the ball landed game was over.

He had an accomplice with him to support his claims. The distracted and confused dealers would agree and pay the player for their “mistake.”

Many casinos in many states have kicked out Benward but this has been a relatively successful scam. He’s often freed and released without being jailed.

This technique worked so well that he was able to cheat numerous casinos in multiple states each for tens of thousands of dollars for many years.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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