There are many famous names in the casino and gambling industries, and some of them are legendary the world over. We’re sure you’ve heard of famous names like Archie Karas, and Wild Bill Hickok, but, in modern times it’s been difficult to get more notorious than Louis Colavecchio. His name is one of the industry's most recognised, and not for good reasons!
If you’ve not heard of him, allow us to paint you a picture of the man behind the name. Louis Colavecchio was best known as a professional gambler and casino counterfeiter. He earned the nickname The Coin due to his propensity for creating Andy using counterfeit coins. He used these in casinos across the country, earning a fortune, and fleecing casinos in the process.
Many gamblers use tactics and strategies to help them play the system. And though they are frowned upon, and hated by casinos, the majority of these tactics are perfectly legitimate and legal. However, in the case of Colavecchio, he was flat out committing fraud, and swindling casinos out of tens of thousands. Many looked at this as a Robin Hood sort of act, and view Colavecchio as something of a cult hero as a result.
After starting his own business as a young man, Colavecchio had a vested interest in the jewellery market. It was this market that he would use to his advantage when creating his counterfeit coins. His jewellery business became so successful that he was living an opulent and luxurious life, but then everything went downhill. Louis had grown used to the standard of living he already had, and he wanted it to continue.
This is what inspired him to turn, as many do, to the gambling industry. But, rather than basing his fortune on pure chance, Louis was determined to give himself an edge. He would frequently the casinos of Atlantic City, specifically Caesar's Palace, playing on the slot machines with counterfeit coins he developed through machinery and contacts in the jewellery industry.
He started focusing on one casino, but as he became more confident and greedy, he started to test out other casinos as well. However, as is often the case, things caught up with Louis in a big way. Caesar's took their annual inventory and thought it was strange that they had a lot of extra coins. They called in the gambling authorities who discovered the coins were counterfeit.
After this, it was only a matter of time before Louis got caught, and this happened a few weeks later in Atlantic City. After he and his girlfriend had left the casino, it was discovered that the machines they’d used were full of counterfeit coins, and they were arrested.
Following his arrest, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his crimes. It is speculated that he negotiated a lighter sentence by revealing how he had managed to make such good counterfeits. Following his release in 2006, he went back to his old ways and was promptly arrested again.
The tale of Louis Colavecchio is a cautionary tale, but, it also helped casinos to improve their security in the long term, and brought about better and stricter methods for dealing with counterfeiting.