Gala casino scam exposed

Martin Fitz has been sentenced in an English court under an ancient law for his role in an intricate roulette scam at the Gala casino in Russell Square.

Fitz, from Hendon in North West London, was sentenced under the Gaming Act 1845 for cheating at play. Fitz now faces an undetermined length of community service. The law is so old he is the first ever person to be charged by it.

The scam, which is known as ‘top hatting’, involves the distraction of the dealer, casino inspectors, the casinos remote security staff and other players just at the moment that the ball settles on a number. The scammers would then slip their chips on the winning number.

Fitz was accompanied by Martin Kwong Lee, of Mitcham, Surrey, and Shuhal Miah, of Bethnal Green. Kwong Lee was sentenced to a 180-hour community service and ordered to pay £170 for one count of cheating and Miah was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £800 for two counts of cheating.

It is not the first time that Kwong Lee and Miah have been found out for cheating at casinos. Both men were arrested in 2003 at the same Gala casino for a similar scam.

"This was a well-thought through and skilful cheating scam,” said Detective Constable John Wedger of the Metropolitan Police’s Gaming Unit.

"Lee, Fitz, and Miah were prolific gamblers and used numerous identities to gain access to various casinos to which they had been banned,” he added.

Police added that if the scam was not found out, the trio could have defrauded thousands of pounds from casinos all over London.

Editor, - 2007-01-15 10:59:00

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