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Chip-grabbing felon added to Nevada ‘black book’

Updated April 19, 2024 - 7:08 pm

A North Las Vegas man who grabbed thousands of dollars worth of casino chips from table games at 15 different casinos has become the 37th person added to Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons, commonly referred to as the “black book.”

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved placing Neal Ahmed Hearne to the list, forever banning him from setting foot in a Nevada casino.

Hearne was invited but did not attend Thursday’s hearing.

Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela told the Nevada Gaming Commission that Hearne fit three criteria for inclusion on the list including having a prior felony conviction, having a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude and receiving a judicial order banning him from casinos. Any one of those three factors are enough for consideration of a permanent ban from the state’s major casinos.

Before the vote, commissioners had a brief policy discussion about whether it was appropriate to add a chip thief to a list that has included mobsters, casino cheats and fraudsters.

“Are we, as a Nevada Gaming Commission, 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.”

Michela said on at least two other occasions, a chip thief has been added to the list.

The five-member board agreed it was appropriate to list Hearne after seeing the evidence Michela presented. That included casino surveillance video showing him casually walking up to a blackjack table at Aria and in one swift motion scooping up a handful of chips from a tray as stunned onlookers and the table’s dealer watched as he bolted away.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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