Magician Who Has Cheated Casinos Out of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Faces Lifetime Ban in Nevada

  • The NGCB has nominated Shaun Joseph Benward for a lifetime casino ban
  • His typical ruse was trying to distract and confuse roulette croupiers
  • The next step is for the Nevada Gaming Commission to hold a formal vote
Magician levitating the Ace of diamonds
A magician who has scammed large sums of money from casinos across the US faces a lifetime ban in Nevada. [Image:]

Facing the black book

A magician has been using his talents to scam casinos all across the US out of tens of thousands of dollars. Shaun Joseph Benward is now facing a lifetime ban from gambling facilities in Nevada, as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) nominated him on Wednesday to become part of the state’s “black book.”

Benward has cheated at casinos all around the country

Anyone on the List of Excluded Persons can never again enter a casino. Nevada Attorney General’s Office Gaming Division Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Somps presented the facts about the 36-year-old magician before the official nomination, explaining that Benward has cheated at casinos all around the country using the same scam.

A notorious cheater

Benward’s typical ruse is to have an accomplice distract roulette croupiers. The magician uses his charms to win over the staff member and then tries to place a wager late in a round. When the ball comes to rest, Benward attempts to convince the croupier that they accidentally put his chips on the incorrect number.

The accomplice would then back up the story. Sometimes the croupier would allow the bet, sometimes the Mississippi native would get caught.

on gambling exclusion lists in Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania

Benward has the distinction of already being on gambling exclusion lists in Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. He also has arrests and convictions relating to cheating in Rhode Island, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada.

Benward meets all four of the enforcement division’s criteria for potential exclusion, including violating a court order to stay away from casinos and having a notorious reputation.

A long track record in the state

Somps outlined in his presentation that 17 casinos in the state have kicked Benward out, most recently this year a Lake Tahoe property. The next step is for the Nevada Gaming Commission to hold a formal vote on the magician’s entry into the black book, though there is no indication of when this might happen.

Benward can have a hearing in advance of the vote to plead his case. The NGCB told him about the nomination ahead of the meeting on Wednesday, but he did not attend.  

In one specific incident, Benward and his accomplice scammed Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino out of $10,500 during a 24-hour period, successful in three of their five cheating attempts.

NGCB Chairman Kirk Hendrick believes that the magician is “an excellent candidate for somebody who should not be involved or allowed to enter into Nevada’s gaming establishments that have anything beyond slot machines.”

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