Former casino dealer to stand trial

July 15, 2014
An exterior view of The Meadows Casino - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A former dealer at The Meadows Casino was ordered to stand trial Tuesday on charges that he violated state gaming laws by telling a confidential informant what numbers to wager on at a roulette table while working last July.

Robert M. Valle, 56, of Wintersville, Ohio, was ordered held for court by District Judge Jay Weller on charges of conspiracy and using trick or sleight of hand to win cash or reduce a loss.

An audiotape was played for the court by Agent Robert E. Marsili of the state attorney general’s office in which Valle allegedly tells the informant to place wagers on the numbers 4, 16, 23, 33 and 35. The informant was also reportedly told by Valle that in order to increase the odds of winning to “go wide” and add 14 and 21 in order to get three numbers on each side instead of two. Valle allegedly claims he “aims” at the number 4, calling it a middle number. Valle also allegedly claimed another customer won several hundred dollars, but also said there were no guarantees.

Marsili, who filed the charges against Valle with state police Cpl. Paul Mumau, said the taped conversation between Valle and informant lasts about 35 minutes and took place at a blackjack table.

Defense attorney Christopher Blackwell called three employees of the casino, including pit manager Daniel Gillies. Gillies said dealers are allowed to advise players how to bet and on betting technique and to give them favorite numbers.

When asked whether a dealer may tell players he is trying to hit a certain number, Gillies said that may happen.

“You might tell them that, but it is not going to hit,” Gillies said. “There is not a dealer in the country that can do that. It is too much a random chance.”

Blackwell asked Weller to dismiss the charges, noting that the statute indicates that the person must win for a customer using a trick or slight of hand.

“But there is no evidence or indication that he can or has ability to get what he says he is aiming for,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell also pointed out that dealers are not allowed to look at the wheel when spinning it. The defense attorney said the state had no evidence that he was looking at the wheel.

Weller denied the request.

“I have a problem with use of the word ‘aim,’” Weller said. “I think that crossed the line when he told them he was aiming at a number. This case should be heard by a jury.”

Valle is free on his own recognizance and is banned from the casino. He is scheduled for formal arraignment Sept. 24.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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