Las Vegas Man Arrested for Scamming Investors of $350K on “Guaranteed” Betting System
A Las Vegas man was arrested this week for luring investors into a business venture in which he would use a “guaranteed system” of betting to make money. Two potential investors offered a combined $350,000 of investments in the scam, in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
53-year old Mark Georgantas convinced one man to invest $300,000 and another to invest $50,000 in the guaranteed system. The alleged fraud took place from July 2013 to March 2014, but Georgantas was arrested this week at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
Laxalt Announced the Arrest
Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced the arrest to the Nevada media this week. Laxalt said Georgantas misrepresented his ability to win at the casinos, because he claimed to have a system which was guaranteed. Those familiar with gaming probabilities and the house edge understand such claims are farcical.
Though experts, experienced gamblers, and casino owners understand how ridiculous it is to offer a “guaranteed system” to beat the house edge, not every person understands the math. In fact, a significant percentage of casino reveneus come from gamblers who do not understand how difficult it is to beat the house edge.
“Unscrupulous Investment Scheme”
In a press release, Adam Paul Laxalt said, “My office is committed to ensuring that Nevadans are protected from unscrupulous investment schemes. I encourage Nevadans to be skeptical of investment offers that claim to guarantee profits, and to report any suspicious activity to my Office.”
Mark Georgantas is scheduled to appear in the Eighth Judicial District Court on April 8 to be arraigned and enter his plea. The Fraud Unit of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office is set to prosecute the case.
Given the time which has elapsed between the alleged crimes and Mark Georgantas’s arrest, it can be assumed that Nevada state law enforcement members investigated the case thoroughly, collecting evidence. Anyone offering $50,000 (or $300,000) for an investment is likely to have significant resources. When such a person is scammed, they are likely to go to police and be heard.
Beating the Dealer
Few games in a casino can be considered games of skill. Fewer games can be beaten. Certainly, if a person gets lucky, they are going to leave the casino with a lot of money. Guaranteeing a win is out of the question, which is why it’s a crime to promise such results.
Blackjack players who use a combination of basic strategy and card counting can attain a positive expectation, meaning they can expect to win more than they wager. While counting cards is not illegal, casinos can throw out card counters and ban them from future play. A few full-pay video poker games also offer positive expectations, but these are few and far between.
History of Casino Scams
Presumably, Mark Georgantas promised a betting system which would beat games not normally seen as beatable. He is not the first person to make such extravagant suggestions. For decades, people have claimed the zig-zag method would beat the slot machines, even after slots no longer used mechanical means to determine results (the claims were bogus from the beginning).
Ask any random gambler and they are likely to have a system for beating roulette. The Martingale System and other progressive betting systems have been proposed for beating the casino. In lottery gaming, the ring system is supposed to provide a guaranteed win.
The House Edge
None of these techniques have been proven, while several of them have been exposed over the years. Some have been exposed over and over, yet gamblers still use them. The Martingale betting scheme, for instance, has been run as a simulation on a computer over a billion hands. It was compared against flat betting (the same bet on each hand) and proven to produce worse results, because it has a higher “risk of ruin” — it is likelier to cause the player to lose all of their money.
The house edge in a casino game is a mathematical advantage based on probability. While it does not mean a player is going to lose any given hand, it assures that the casino — over many thousands of hands — is likly to win a lot of money. That is why casinos are so grand and showy, because the house edge lets the owners generate tremendous revenues. No method of betting or “guaranteed system” is going to change that.
Why Someone with a System Wouldn’t Sell It to Others
Cheats have existed, but they only exist for a short time, before casinos and their game designers learn the trick and stop it. Card counting works, but while the math behind card counting is easy enough, it is hard to do in a casino setting, because the player must pretend he or she isn’t card counting, while also varying bets in a way which is almost certain to attract notice.
Anyone suggesting they have a new and inventive way to gamble which is guaranteed to win is, in all likelihood, scamming a person. Casino game designers have a lot more time and resources to analyze games and spot patterns. If a gambler has a “can’t miss” system, the last thing they want to do is show it to others, so the casino will notice and change the game. That gambler would want to keep their method secret, so they could win with an ever-increasing bankroll.