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Alleged Baccarat Cheat Banned

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A gambler accused of cheating while playing baccarat at SkyCity casino is bewildered by the charges, claiming that he never cheated and has lost $25,000 there in the past year.

Petronius Linsao Cortez, 52, appeared in Auckland District Court today on nine charges after spending Sunday night at the casino.

Court documents said the Glenfield resident “knowingly contravened the rules of the game… by placing bets after the outcome had already been determined”.

Cortez said he was unaware he had acted illegally and was confused when security pulled him from the tables and contacted the police.

“The dealer, he’s the one that controls the table, and he was accepting those late bets,” said Cortez.

When asked how much he had won from the casino, the father of three was candid with his response.

“Actually I’m losing a lot there,” Cortez said.

Filipino-born Cortez said he had been going to SkyCity about once a week for the last year. He started off playing blackjack, and he’s avoiding the New Zealand poker rooms but recently had moved to baccarat, hoping for a change of luck.

Unfortunately Cortez said he was down about $25,000 – “all blown away in the casino”.

Banned

SkyCity would not comment on the case as it was before the courts, nor would they discuss the security systems apparently used to catch the alleged offender.

“Undesirable activity potentially attracts a maximum ban of up to two years,” a spokeswoman said.

Though she would not disclose the penalty against Cortez, she said he had indeed been slapped with a two-year ban.

The charge of contravening the Gambling Act by cheating is a rare one – only 10 people have faced the charge in the last five years.

Gambling news previously reported in August that three people were convicted of rigging roulette games at Hamilton’s SkyCity casino.

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