High Tech Fraud
THREE people have been arrested on suspicion of swindling more than £1million from a casino at London's famous Ritz hotel using a hi-tech scanner, it emerged today.
The two men and one woman, all from Eastern Europe, were held after scooping the massive haul on roulette.
Police are investigating the possibility that they used a James Bond-style laser scanner inside a mobile phone to cheat.
The device could have been used to calculate the speed of the ball when released and its probable finishing point on the wheel.
By the time the calculation was made the gambler would still have several seconds before "no more bets" was called.
Bosses at the exclusive casino - frequented by Arab princes and international playboys - became suspicious of the amazing run of luck on March 16.
All tables are monitored using video cameras and experts looked at the tapes before calling in Scotland Yard.
Two Serbian men, aged 38 and 33, and a 32-year-old Hungarian woman were arrested and police also seized their winnings and mobile phones.
The suspects were taken to a police station and then bailed until March 30.
Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, said: "I haven’t heard of a laser scanner being used before but on roulette mathematical systems have been used for years based on the speed of the ball and where the croupier puts the ball.
"It is reliant on calculations being done very quickly and when you have got technology involved it improves the chances."
The alleged scam happened at one of the world’s most high-profile gaming houses.
The secret rooms of the Ritz Club casino are tucked away off London’s Piccadilly in the former ballroom of The Ritz Hotel.
It opened as a casino in 1978 and is now one of the world’s most exclusive, privately owned members-only clubs featuring chandeliers, ornate ceilings and plush red carpets.
A spokeswoman for the casino said today: "We have no comment to make."
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "Three people have been arrested on suspicion of obtaining money by deception through gambling.
"A significant amount of cash was seized and inquiries continue."