Casino Chip Grabber Added to Nevada’s Black Book


Posted on: April 18, 2024, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: April 18, 2024, 11:15h.

Neal Ahmed Hearne, a man who grabbed thousands of dollars worth of casino chips from table games at 15 Las Vegas casinos, has become the 37th person added to Nevada’s so-called “black book.” That’s its list of individuals who are forever banned from entering any casino in the state.

Neal Ahmed Hearne is a resident of North Las Vegas. (Image: Nevada Gaming Commission)

The five-member Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) unanimously approved adding Hearne to its list of Excluded Persons at a hearing on Thursday.

Hearne was invited to the hearing to present his defense, as are all persons nominated to the Black Book, but chose not to attend.

Chips Fell Where They May

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal coverage, questions were raised about whether the crime of stealing chips was serious enough to qualify for black book inclusion.

“Are we … going to place anyone who’s grabbed chips from a table in a casino on the excluded list?” Commissioner Brian Krolicki asked. “Or if they’ve done it more than 10 times? I just want to make sure of whatever precedent we’re setting, or if this is something we want to do as a policy going forward, great, let’s do it.”

Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela informed Krolicki that at least two other chip thieves have had their names added the Black Book. In addition, he pointed out, Hearne met three of three criteria for inclusion on the list:

  1. A prior felony conviction
  2. A conviction of a crime of moral turpitude
  3. A judicial order banning him from a casino.

Fitting just one criteria is enough for inclusion.

The NGC also viewed casino surveillance video showing Hearne casually approaching a blackjack table at Aria, quickly snatching a handful of chips from a tray, then bolting off as the dealer and several stunned players watched.

Last December, the commission unanimously voted to add Shaun Joseph Benward, a Mississippi illusionist who allegedly uses his knowledge of distraction to scam roulette dealers, as the black book’s 36th excluded person.

Every few years, the attorney general’s office will review the whereabouts of individuals on the list and seek regulatory action to purge the names of those they can confirm have died.

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