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National

Chinese high-rollers play 'shill' game in Vegas

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Opening sequence

National

Chinese high-rollers play 'shill' game in Vegas

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COMING UP:Chinese high-rollers play 'shill' game in Vegas

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas and our Reuters investigation reveals that if you're rich enough, that's true. White collar crime reporter Joel Schectman discovering high stakes Chinese gamblers at some Vegas casinos are keeping their bets off the books by using low-level intermediaries known as shill players.
00:00:21
>> A shill player is a player that's used by high stakes baccarat players to allow them to gamble without having their names on the books. The shills sign for the credit, for the chips, in their own names. They get the chips and then they sit down close to the real players passing the chips to them over time.
00:00:40
>> But the arrangement backfired badly for two Chinese housekeepers living in Las Vegas, who are now on the hook for millions of dollars. The gamblers they claim they shilled for at Vegas casinos, didn't pay their debts.>> Now Las Vegas has a very unique law in Nevada, that allows the casino, if they're not paid back that debt, they can actually bring criminal charges against the players.
00:01:04
Now in this case, the casino brought criminal charges against the two women from millions of dollars, that they said that these two women owed. The women came back with their kind of a really startling allegation against the casino though. They said that they were actually being employed as shill players and that they had been asked by casino employees to take out credit in their names.
00:01:30
>> Often, wealthy Chinese gamblers are employees of the Chinese government or state-run firms. Chinese gambling center, Macau, has recently cracked down on high rollers using embezzled or illegal funds, prompting a possible shift to Vegas.>> It's not entirely clear why the players didn't pay back their own debts rather than leaving the debt on the shills.
00:01:50
Some of these players have played with the women multiple times over the years. And it appears that in the past, the real players had always paid back the debt. One possibility that the defense attorneys for these women has raised is that tougher anti-money laundering enforcement both in China and in the US may have made it tougher to get money transferred from Macau.
00:02:13
>> Which could leave two innocent women facing years in jail.