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Former Baccarat dealer at Sydneys Star casino sentenced to two years in jail

Senior Reporter

It’s not just guests that attempt to cheat casinos out of money during various table games - sneaky employees also get caught up in questionable activities at times. Some manage to get away with it, while others test their limits to the point where they begin to feel invincible. Hieu Duc Lam, a former Baccarat dealer at the Sydney’s Star casino in Australia, happens to be one of them as he “reaches for the stars” and gets caught cheating his workplace out of almost $500,000. 

Former Baccarat dealer at Sydneys Star casino sentenced to two years in jail
Image: pixabay.com

Back in August of 2020 a security footage at the Sydney’s Star casino captured several employees running a little game of their own to pocket a considerable sum of money. A man named Hieu Duc Lam happened to organize this sly scheme and came up with a plan that would turn the Baccarat games he was conducting into some extra income he could sneak away for his mini scheme team. 

The footage revealed the Baccarat dealer sneakily memorizing the cards that he would then use to his advantage in the next game. Not without an accomplice, of course. One other individual who also worked at Sydney’s Star casino would communicate with Hieu via what they both thought would be a non-traceable texting App. 

Text messages included information on the order of the cards Hieu had memorized, and his “sidekick” would then use said information to finesse the next gambling game. Sure enough, the plan was quite successful at first as the masterminds piled up as much as $467,700 in less than three weeks. 

What’s more, is that two other Sydney’s Star workers also got caught back in March for trying to loot $30,000 worth of gaming chips during their shifts. Both were fired from the casino and charged as soon as the illegal activities were brought to light. 

But it wasn't long until Hieu also got quite the punishment for cheating the casino out of half a million dollars. And despite his dishonest actions throughout his shifts, he came clean and pleaded guilty at Sydney’s Downing Centre local court in January of 2021. Not that he had any other options - the security footage says it all. 

The 15 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage cost the trickster two years in jail, followed by 250 hours of community service work. It’s only been a month since Hiue landed himself behind bars, so there’s still a long way to go until justice is served. Good thing there might be playing cards available in jail; perhaps the former casino dealer will be able to conduct makeshift Baccarat games there to pass the time. 

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chair, Philip Crawford, backed the Sydney’s Star casino’s decision on reporting Hieu to the authorities and permanently suspending his gaming license. Crawford stated the following,

“A casino special employee is licensed to supervise and facilitate gaming activities...Their role is to help safeguard the integrity of casino operations from criminal influence, serious misconduct or exploitation, and a special degree of trust is placed in them. This case demonstrates a clear breach of that trust.”

It’s refreshing to see gambling facilities take these types of matters seriously, as letting suchlike activity go unnoticed would serve as a green light for other casino employees to attempt scams of their own. It’s essential for businesses to carry out justice in order to restore undermined trust of guests who may be questioning the fairness of games that involve their hard-earned money. 

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