On September 11 Tuesday, a baccarat dealer working at a casino in Maryland admitted to conspiring with players in exchange for getting a portion of their ill-gotten wins.
This month, Ming Zhang from Alexandria, Virginia, who worked as a baccarat dealer at the MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino, intentionally lifted the deck to reveal a part of the unshuffled baccarat deck, with which a player at the table would then take a photo of the cards. Players would then use this information to their advantage, placing huge bets at the best possible times.
Assistant US Attorney Erin Pulice explained that having knowledge of the card sequence allows players to predict the outcome of hands in baccarat "with near-perfect accuracy", and specified that the scheme got the casino cheated out of $1,046,560.
Zhang, as punishment for having a cut of the players' profits for his involvement in the scheme, faces up to 5 years in jail. Initially the casino remained unnamed in court documents or wasn't mentioned on Tuesday's hearing in Greenbelt, but in the end a spokesperson for MGM National Harbor named Malik Husser confirmed Zhang's former employment at their D.C. area casino, who said, "Ming Zhang is no longer employed by MGM National Harbor. We have provided our full cooperation with authorities throughout this investigation
According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency spokeswoman Carole Gentry, Zhang's gaming license is in the process of being revoked by the state regulatory agency.
A Repeat Offender
Before this fiasco at the MGM, Zhang was also present when an alleged co-conspirator did the same scheme at a different Maryland casino (there are 6 casinos in Maryland), which happened sometime between July 2017 and September 2017. Investigators revealed that Zhang accepted a $1,000 payment from his co-conspirator at a nearby hotel.
Zhang also asked for additional payment from one of his co-conspirators, who told him they would contact him soon. When confronted by investigators the next day, Zhang purportedly lied about the scheme.
Zhang is the only person so far who has been charged in this scheme.
He is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Judge Paul Grimm on January 31.