SINGAPORE: After getting to know a dealer at the Marina Bay Sands casino he frequented, a punter suggested giving her tips if she managed to spin the roulette wheel in his favour.
As a result, he won S$2,330 (US$1,700) from 174 games under the dealer.
He was also introduced to a second dealer, winning S$1,215 for the 18 games he played at this dealer’s roulette table.
The collusion among the three Singaporeans was uncovered through a routine check by MBS’ surveillance department.
The gambler, 33-year-old Daniel Koh Tze Zhou, was sentenced to 28 weeks’ jail on Monday (Oct 23).
He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Casino Control Act of colluding with the dealers to cheat while playing roulette.
One of the dealers, 25-year-old Soh Xuan Rong, pleaded guilty to a similar charge and was sentenced to 28 weeks’ jail.
The other dealer, 27-year-old Ting Zhi Ping Marcus, was jailed after a previous court hearing.
The court heard that Soh was working as a dealer at one of the roulette tables when she noticed that Koh had a unique way of placing bets.
He would place bets only on three numbers that were next to each other on the roulette wheel – 32, 15 and 19 – his favourite numbers.
Soh began chatting with Koh when he next played at her table and they exchanged contact numbers.
Soh later suggested investing money with Koh in roulette games, so she could obtain a share of his winnings.
Koh rejected her suggestion. He made a counter-proposal to tip her S$70 each time Soh managed to spin the wheel so the ball fell onto any of his three favourite numbers. They agreed that the tips would be paid outside the casino.
Sometime after February 2021, Soh roped her colleague Ting into the gig.
Koh would contact Soh to find out when she or Ting were working, using the secret self-destruct chat function on Telegram to communicate.
Whenever Soh or Ting spun the roulette wheel such that the ball landed on his favourite numbers, Koh would pass tips to Soh outside the MBS casino.
Between Jul 1, 2021 and Jul 12, 2021, Koh played 174 games of roulette at Soh’s table. In total, he won S$2,330.
His largest net winnings in a single day were S$4,305, while his greatest loss was S$5,000, on a day when he played 22 games and won nothing.
He paid Soh about S$1,000 in total as “tips” for her help.
On Jul 2, 2021, Koh played at Ting’s roulette table at the casino, finishing 18 games and betting only on his favourite numbers.
He won a total of S$1,215 for the games he played and paid Ting S$50 in tips.
Over 2021, he colluded with Ting on other occasions, paying him between S$500 and S$1,000 for his help.
The collusion was uncovered by MBS’ surveillance department and a police report made in end-July 2021.
The prosecution sought 30 to 40 weeks’ jail for Koh and Soh, saying Koh was the mastermind of the scheme, which had a high degree of planning and premeditation.
Defence lawyer Wasiur Rehman asked for a lower jail term for Soh, saying his client had donated blood thrice, was remorseful and had made restitution in full.
Koh’s lawyer, Mr Navin Naidu, argued that his client should be given the same respective jail term for the charges that correspond with Soh and Ting.
He said his client was not the mastermind. Instead, Soh was an employee of the casino and the one who brought Ting into the scheme.
From the start, it was Soh who wanted to pocket customers’ winnings, said Mr Naidu, saying the prosecution was omitting her “significant culpability”.
“Soh is an employee of the casino. Effectively, a gatekeeper has smashed the gates open,” said Mr Naidu. “My client is not an employee of the casino.”
In response, the prosecutor said that while Koh did not have the obligations of an employee, he was the one who concocted the scheme and came to an agreement with two dealers.
The judge granted both Koh and Soh deferments of their jail terms to December.