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Singapore – Marina Bay Sands thwarts S$324,100 baccarat scam

By - 22 November 2023

Marina Bay Sands has successfully thwarted a foreign syndicate that produced a baccarat formula to record cards dealt and won a sum of S$324,100 (€300,000) over eight days in December 2022.

Tan Kian Yi, a 35-year-old from Malaysia, recieved a three years and four months jail sentence, having pleaded guilty to four counts of recording cards dealt during a game provided under the Casino Control Act. Tan was believed to have been part of a five-person syndicate who used a formula to improve the odds of the game in its favour using an an Excel sheet, card counting a secret formula.

Each of the group were given roles from marksman, a sorcerer, a tank and an auxiliary.

The marksman was located in a hotel room where he received information regarding the cards that he keyed into the formula and told the sorcerer what bets to place. The female in the group played the role of sorcerer using her long hair to cover Bluetooth earphones so she could listen to the marksman. 

Casino employees began to take notice of the syndicate’s behaviour, by going through closed-circuit television footage with police arresting one man at the casino and Tan in Kuala Lumpur. Casino chips worth around S$790,730 were taken from hotel rooms reserved by the syndicate. This case was the first prosecution for an offence under Section 171 of the Casino Control Act for using a device to count or record cards dealt in a casino game.

The prosecution said the crime ‘struck at the heart of Singapore’s engine for growing tourism – the MBS casino.’

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Shao Yan said: “The syndicate leveraged technology and devices to record cards dealt in the casino, which illegally tilted the odds in its favour.”

Tan’s lawyer, Adrian Wee said: “It would appear from the statement of facts that none of the accused persons understood how the formula worked. It is thus impossible to determine whether the effect of the formula would have been to change the odds of a game beyond that envisaged by the casino, thereby crossing the line into fraud or cheating at play.”

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