Fake Borgata Poker Chips Discovered Flushed Down a Toilet
The story of the counterfeit poker chips that forced Atlantic City’s most luxurious hotel/casino property, the Borgata, to shut down an event at its 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open last week is turning out to be one of those real life tales that is stranger than fiction.
According to an article that appeared yesterday in the Press of Atlantic City, $2.4 million worth of the ersatz poker chips were discovered in a sewer pipe at the Harrah’s property in Atlantic City.
Employees dealing with plumbing problem uncover chips
Harrah’s employees called on to fix a plumbing issue were the first to make the discovery, the Press said.
A connection was quickly made to the case involving the Borgata Winter Open, whose Event 1 was forced to stop with 27 players remaining when the counterfeit chips came to notice.
The police quickly tracked down Christian Lusardi of North Carolina, who was not only a player in the tournament but was also a registered guest in the room in which the chips had apparently been poorly disposed of in the toilet.
Lusardi, who is 42 years old, was taken into custody by the New Jersey State Police, who had been investigating the matter ever since the chips were found to be fakes, on Friday and charged with several charges, among them rigging a publicly exhibited contest, according to the paper.
Though he had days to make a getaway, he apparently chose not to do so. The police found him not at Harrah’s, but at another hotel in Atlantic City, where the arrest was made.
Situation will have no bearing on Borgata’s online facing business
Joe Lupo, the Senior Vice President of the Borgata, expressed surprise at the rather unprecedented turn of events.
“This is the first time we’ve had anything like this happen in our 10 years in business, and it’s the first time I’ve seen this in my 27 years in gaming,” Lupo was quoted as saying.
At the time the word broke of the breach in tournament security, there was some speculation as to what impact – if any – the scandal would have on the Borgata’s newly launched online gambling business.
Since regulated Internet betting got underway in the state of New Jersey in late November of last year, the Borgata, which is paired up with bwin.party to offer the Party Poker brand to Garden State residents, in addition to a real money online casino site, BorgataCasino.com, has led the pack of companies offering such games.
Because the issue with the counterfeit chips was quickly identified, and the apparent culprit relatively quickly apprehended, the situation reflects well on the responsiveness of the Borgata.
The impact on its online business, however, was never likely to be severe, given the high measures of security that are in place for New Jersey’s iGaming operations.