Derek Bethea Sentenced to 17 Years for Cheating at Cards in New Jersey

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 | Written by April Bergman
Derek Bethea Sentenced to 17 Years for Cheating at Cards in New Jersey

Derek Bethea, 57 New Jersey resident, received 17 years in prison for swindling and cheating at casino gambling. Mr. Bethea was caught placing bets at a craps table after the dice had been rolled at three separate casinos. The three incidents happened over a two-week period in August 2013.

The Atlantic City incidents were not the first time Derek Bethea had had similar troubles with the law. On two separate occasions, Mr. Bethea had served time in prison for cheating at the casino. In fact, he had been released from a multi-year prison sentence for the same offense only a month before he tried cheating again.

Derek Bethea’s Third Offense

During the trial at Atlantic City Superior Court, Derek Bethea represented himself. After being convicted in May, he was sentenced on Thursday by Superior Court Judge Donna Taylor.

The incidents this time around began at the Borgata Hotel & Casino on August 13. After the come out roll, Derek Bethea placed a $1,100 bet and collected his winnings. Video surveillance showed the incident, but he had left the casino before casino personnel apprehended him. On August 14, he was at another Atlantic City casino when he was detained.

Similar Attempts at Resorts Casino & Revel Casino

Two weeks later, Bethea tried again to place a $505 bet while at the Resorts Hotel & Casino. In this case, casino personnel noticed his attempt and refused to honor the bet. The following day, Bethea tried to make a $240 at Revel Casino while using the same technique. Again, staff noticed and the casino refused to honor the bet.

In 2001 and 2005, Bethea was convicted of similar crimes. In these cases, the bets were placed at roulette tables. In either case, he was sentenced to significant time in prison for his actions. In fact, Derek Bethea has spent very little time on the street, because of his repeated violations. Now, he will spend more than a decade in prison, even with good behavior.

Casino Staff Missed the Switch

Some have wondered how the dealer crew at the craps table in the Borgata did not notice the wagers. A craps table typically has four dealers–not one. The idea that four people did not notice the late wager is somewhat incredible.

Borgata v. Phil Ivey

The Borgata Hotel & Casino is currently in a more profile case with Phil Ivey. The Borgata is suing Phil Ivey for $9.626 million, claiming he used the technique called “edge sorting” to win millions of dollars unfairly. The specific charges in the lawsuit are breach of contract, fraud, racketeering, unjust enrichment, conversion, and civil conspiracy.

According to reports, Phil Ivey learned that a specific series of cards manufactured by Gemaco Inc. had unwittingly marked the cards in the production process. Ivey and a friend entered the Borgata and asked for special conditions while playing. Ivey agreed to bring $1 million to the table, while placing $50,000 minimum bets on his gaming session. He wanted his own playing pit, a guest seat at the table, and a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese. Finally, he asked for an eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco Borgata playing cards.

Used Gemaco Playing Cards

Over three sessions of gaming, Phil Ivey won $9.626 million at the table. A spokesman for the Borgata claimed the casino felt cheated, because Phil Ivey was playing at an advantage. The spokesman said, “At all relevant times, Borgata was not aware of the defect in the playing cards or Ivey’s true motive for negotiating special arrangements.”

Gamblers who have lost their share of money while playing at a disadvantage at the brand name casinos have been derisive in their reaction to the story. These players feel the casinos play at an advantage all the time, and if they offered a game of their own free will which had them at a disadvantage, that was their fault and not Phil Ivey’s.