Excerpt from "Beat the Players" by Bob Nersesian
Griffin Investigations Inc.
Amongst advantage and professional gamblers, few persons or companies are more vilified that Griffin Investigations. Simply, they are the bad guys. Griffin Investigations makes the lives of advantage gamblers miserable. Some facts about Griffin, nonetheless, may prove surprising.
It is a “mom & pop” organization. Its payroll totals, maybe, six. As of the close of 2005, they were Beverly Griffin, two full-time investigators, and clerical staff. That’s it. All the terror and terrorization felt by advantage gamblers having their information disseminated throughout the world stems from these six people. So how can they do that?
Griffin publishes the Griffin Book, a compilation of known and suspected cheaters, card counters, shuffle trackers, team players and others that Nevada gaming licensees find undesirable. It is subscribed to by gaming licensees.
First, Griffin’s subscribers work with them. The subscribers are the casinos. They will forward the photos taken of players as they are held in the security offices. This is why it is worthwhile to prevent a photo if possible.
Second, Griffin apparently fails to undertake much in the way of double checking its sources. One of their investigators recently admitted that information in his file came from a person at one casino forwarding on a security alert to a friend at another casino who passed it on to a source who then forwarded it to Griffin. The person had been trespassed from a downtown casino. He was a hole-carder. By the time the information reached Griffin, or possibly at Griffin, accusations had been added that labeled the person a card bender, a cheater and a trespasser. Without ever having been arrested, and certainly never convicted, of cheating, this gambler then found himself published by Griffin as a cheater and a card bender. Curiously, the Griffin investigator that catalogued the event states that he came to the conclusion that the incident involved “hole-carding” rather than “card-bending.” Still, the subject was published in Griffin as a “card-bender,” a felony far removed from the legal activity of hole-carding.
Further review of information published by Griffin finds that it is replete with false statements. “Conspiracy” is a crime. Hole-carders are published as having committed “conspiracy” even though no crime is present. An Asian advantage gambler gets tagged as a member of the MIT team; he is not and never was. Machine players fall into 21-team designations. Card counters playing a $5 to $50 spread are mistaken for experienced hole-carders. And once Griffin labels a player, the ascription appears to become permanent.
Then there is the case of the serial associates. Griffin not only lists persons, but regularly provides a list of associates. You cannot control this. It is a chain list. When someone you associate with is seen associating with someone else, then the someone else may become your associate in Griffin’s annals as well. It is not even necessary that you play to make the book. Innocent people sitting at a team table totally unaware of what is occurring find themselves associates of the team.
So where does all this errant information originate? Per a Griffin investigator, the information is forwarded by “sources in good faith.” Per Robert Griffin, the information is forwarded by some of the most reliable people in the world. The sources are identified as casino security and casino surveillance. When pressed for the indicia of “good faith,” the investigator has no knowledge except to allude that there is no reason for falsification. He then balks at the idea that a gaming licensee may have any agenda concerning advantage gamblers, and any reason to lie or exaggerate.
This blind eye permeates the organization and its reporting. And the ramifications are far reaching. Gaming enforcement agents use Griffin on site at investigations for background. If you ask Gaming point blank whether the State subscribes to Griffin, they will swear it does not. Indeed, this is true. It appears that Griffin Investigations provides its service free of charge to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. When pressed, Robert Griffin admits that the Griffin Service is provided “In exchange.” In exchange for what? This we do not know. What, other than protection, does Gaming have to offer in exchange?
Griffin will also be on the property of gaming licensees checking for listed persons on premises. They then inform the casino, and sometimes return to their office and write up a self-serving bulletin for the balance of the community stating that this “cheater” was seen at such and such location. Soon, the criminal designation of cheater permeates the community, and persons who have never cheated are finding themselves in holding cells at the Clark County Detention Center.
When asked as to the source for the information on the bulletins, Griffin will incredibly cite its own erroneous publications for support. A person who is “suspected” of being a cheater becomes a cheater. A person who is arrested for the felony of cheating, and who is then released after the district attorney concludes that going forward with the prosecution will fail, remains branded as a cheater. “Isn’t he an alleged cheater?” Robert Griffin is asked. “Why no! The information on cheating comes from the most reliable sources—casino employees. What reason would they have to fabricate such a claim?”
Rocket science is not needed to know that a casino would like to not lose, would like to recoup winnings, and would like to punish even legal advantage gamblers. Motive is apparent. This apparently never enters into Griffin’s calculations.
Nor do changes in circumstances. At the time this was written, there was a monthly arrest report kept on site at Griffin alphabetically listing persons who were arrested in the past month by the Nevada Gaming Control Board agents. The arrest is published for the subscribers. When the arrest proves fruitless, no modifications to the database maintained by Griffin occur. Being arrested for cheating is the sine qua non of being a cheater in Griffin’s parlance. The question might also be asked as to what authority the policing authorities in Nevada are operating under when arrest reports with information such as social security numbers are forwarded to Griffin Investigations? The specter of the “exchange” referenced above comes to mind.
This is the organization which reigns terror over the gamblers. Police and the State of Nevada provide access to information forbidden to all others. Casinos and the State embellish card counters into computer users, hole-carders into benders, slot pros playing with positive expected value into gaffers, and all big winners into money launderers. This is reported to Griffin who turn reports it back to the casinos. When asked to support their conclusions, they cite their own prior false conclusions. A vicious circle of pyramiding assertions created, and it becomes a crime to win. A chief facilitator appears to be Griffin.