MGM National Harbor Dealer Cheated Casino Out of $43K, Prosecutors Claim

A Maryland blackjack dealer has been accused of cheating while employed at the MGM National Harbor casino.

Late last week, Jamie Smith, 31, was charged by the Maryland State Attorney’s Office with theft, conspiracy to commit theft, and embezzlement. The charges relate to a one-week period between October 2 and October 8, 2023.

During that time, Smith is alleged to have subtly allowed three players she knew to see her cards while dealing blackjack, giving them foreknowledge of advantageous or losing positions. 

“Economic crimes are very, very damaging,” said Prince George County Attorney Aisha Braveboy, speaking to local media.

 “They’re damaging to companies, they’re damaging to institutions and individuals.”

The Charges 

Smith had worked at the Maryland casino for several years before the time of the alleged cheating incident in October 2023. 

Casino surveillance footage reviews triggered the investigation after security personnel noticed a suspicious hand. 

The case against Smith took several months to build up, as investigators meticulously analyzed the footage. 

Prosecutors say they determined that Smith’s usual play was to reveal her cards to the players, letting them adjust their bets with prior knowledge of the hand.

They also allege that, on several occasions, Smith went so far as to allow players to change their bets after the cards had been dealt, as well not collecting on hands she won as the dealer. 

The total amount lost during the seven-day period amounted to $43,350, prosecutors said. 

The Consequences 

Because of her employment at the casino, Smith also faces embezzlement charges. If convicted on all counts, she could face up to 10 years in prison. 

“Because she was working as an employee of the casino, it was her responsibility to make sure that that money was handled appropriately,” said Joel Patterson, an assistant state attorney under Braveboy. 

The lead Maryland prosecutor said she would be bringing the full extent of the law down on Smith to show that such crimes against businesses are not victimless. 

“It’s not just a theft from the casino,” Braveboy said in a statement. 

“Stealing from MGM or any other casino is like stealing from our children. Money from the Education Trust Fund helps provide crucial services and resources for our public schools.”

There has been no word on any investigation into Smith’s three alleged accomplices in the scheme.

This kind of inside cheating is not an uncommon occurrence at U.S. casinos, although smash and grab thefts or pickpocketing are more frequent crimes, according to Patterson.

“It’s not unique, but it’s certainly unusual,” he said. 

Just last month, a woman was arrested in Nevada for allegedly cheating at a poker table in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. Nevada Gaming Control Board agents allege that Yuk Wong conspired with her boyfriend, an unnamed poker dealer at the resort, to cheat at 17 hands of poker worth thousands of dollars in winnings.

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