New Jersey Man, Who Won Nothing, Was Sentenced to 17 Years for Trying to Cheat Casino

Derek Bethea, a man from New Jersey, was sentenced to 17 years in a state prison for attempting to cheat three separate Atlanta Ccasinos. According to Reuters, Bethea was placing craps bets after the dice had already been rolled.

The story goes like this, the man was at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlanta and placed a $1,100 bet after the dice had rolled. The payout was received but the very next day was detained in a different Atlanta casino where winnings were confiscated as video showed that the cheating had occurred.

That didn’t stop Bethea from trying again. Just two weeks later, he stopped in Resorts Hotel & Casino and placed a $505 bet after the roll. The casino saw what had happened and refused to payout the winnings. Did he stop? Nope, he left and went to Revel Casino the next day and tried his scheme again with a $240 bet. Again, the casino realized they were being duped and refused to payout.

It appears that Bethea has quite the gambling, or cheating, problem. In fact, in 2001 he was sentenced to three years and 2005 sentenced to eight years for similar offenses only with roulette instead of craps. In each of those cases, Bethea served his sentence, was released and cheated again. Newsday reports that the new incidents at the craps table actually occurred just weeks after he was released from his eight-year prison sentence for similar cheating charges.

In all three cases, Bethea walked away from the casino with nothing. No winnings were brought home with him. However, that didn’t stop a judge from laying a harsh sentence on the man for swindling and cheating at a casino: 17 years. Interestingly, Bethea chose to represent himself in court without a lawyer.

In total, Derek Bethea will have a combined 28 years in prison for early betting charges. Will he ever learn his lesson?

Though cheating at a casino is illegal, it is not illegal for a casino to refuse to service you if you are too good at gambling. In fact, Dana White was banned from a Las Vegas casino for being too good at gambling. Mental card counters are also frequently thrown from casinos or asked not to play when their winnings get too large.

What do you think of Bethea’s sentence? Should he have been sentenced to 17 years even though he got away with none of the casinos’ money, or is it justified since he appears to be a habitual cheater with no end in sight?

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