Nevada Considers Lifetime Casino Ban for Scamming Magician Shaun Benward

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Shaun Joseph Benward, a 36-year old self-promoted magician, famed for his alleged use of artful distraction to scam casinos, has been proposed for a lifetime ban from all Nevada casinos, following a nomination to the Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons popularly referred to as the “black book”. This nomination was put forward on Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board through a presentation by Michael Somps, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Gaming Division of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

Benward, known in the magic world as Shaun Mistery, has demonstrated his dexterity on social media platforms like YouTube where he posts performances from locations like the Almanett Hotel in Gulfport, Mississippi. While his magic tricks may amuse fans, casinos across the country are not impressed. According to Somps, the magician has conned casinos out of tens of thousands of dollars through a single scam. This claim is supported by multiple news reports.

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Benward’s modus operandi generally involves the assistance of an accomplice. He gains the trust of roulette dealers through casual and captivating conversation, then cunningly places his bet late in the game. When the roulette ball lands, Benward persuades his dealer that he made a mistake and placed his chips on the wrong number, a claim his accomplice corroborates.

However, his tactics do not always guarantee success. Often caught, his name appears on exclusion lists in several states including Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Michigan. He has been arrested and convicted for cheating in a number of jurisdictions, namely: Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, and Rhode Island. Furthermore, he has been expelled from 17 Nevada casinos over time.

The decision to officially incorporate Benward into Nevada’s black book now lies in the hands of the Nevada Gaming Commission. When this decision will be made is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, Benward, originally from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, reserves the right to a hearing prior to any final vote.