An Auckland man who says he won $125 on card tables at
SkyCity is now before the courts accused of cheating.
Petronius Linsao Cortez, 52, appeared in the Auckland
District Court today facing nine rare charges of breaching
the Gambling Act arising from a night at the casino on
Charging documents allege he knowingly contravened the rules
of baccarat with intent to gain a financial advantage by
placing bets after the outcome was determined.
If convicted, Cortez, who lives in Glenfield, faces a maximum
penalty of one year's jail or a $20,000 fine.
He entered no pleas today and away from court told APNZ he
would be seeking legal advice about his position.
Cortez said he didn't realise he was doing anything wrong as
nobody told him while playing.
On Sunday night he laid down $125 and got back $250, a profit
of $125, he said.
"I didn't know if it was late I'm very fast," he said of
laying bets at the table.
Department of Internal Affairs games rules state any player
undertaking casino table games agrees to undertake relevant
rules through his or her participation.
The rules for baccarat say immediately before a round starts
and all bets are on the table, the dealer will call "no more
bets" and then begin dealing cards. Nobody can bet after that
Cortez claimed that at times on Sunday the dealer didn't make
He was informed about the alleged wrongdoing later on Sunday
night and was trespassed from SkyCity for two years.
"It's okay I stop gambling."
He said he wasn't a high roller or problem gambler but he had
gone to SkyCity's casino for 10 years.
A SkyCity spokeswoman said she was unable to discuss the
specific case, or disclose information about the casino's
surveillance and security systems "that might compromise its
"But our stance is always clear we have zero tolerance for
cheating and theft. We take our responsibilities in this area
very seriously and work with the authorities to prosecute and
trespass these individuals, so customers can continue to be
assured of the integrity of all of our games."
In 2012, a VIP group's winnings of $4.5 million were withheld
while SkyCity investigated suspicions of cheating, but no
evidence was found. The group was subsequently arrested in
Asia for gambling fraud.
Two years earlier a man playing baccarat was found with a
mechanical device strapped to his forearm and a SkyCity
playing card in his possession. The device was used to remove
a card from play and substitute it with another.
An Internal Affairs spokesman said since September 2011,
there have been three criminal convictions for wrongdoing at
"Casinos are responsible for the conduct of gambling on their
premises and SkyCity advises us of any untoward incidents on
the gambling floor," he said.
A team of casino gambling inspectors ensured gambling in
casinos was "fair, honest, lawful and remains free of
criminal influence of exploitation".
Part of their brief was to deal with concerns and complaints
about the way gambling is conducted at casinos.
What is baccarat?
A card game in which the aim is to bet on the hand closest to
9, which is the highest possible hand.
Cards are allocated points those from 2 to 9 are worth their
face; aces are worth 1; 10, jack, queen and king are worth
In a hand, the right digit when the two cards are dealt
together is what counts.
For example, a 6 and 7 (total 13) is worth 3, a 2 and a king
is worth 2, a 9 and a 9 (total 18) is worth 8.
- Jimmy Ellingham, APNZ