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Joe Ofahengaue sentenced for blackjack cheating

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Guilty to Cheating Blackjack – Broncos star Joe Ofahengaue was convicted by a Brisbane magistrate’s court of cheating at blackjack at the Treasury Casino back in the early hours of April 8.

Joe Ofahengaue - Guilty to Cheating Blackjack.

Joe Ofahengaue is a professional rugby player who currently plays for Brisbane Broncos. Details on the situation are sketchy, but according to reports, Ofahengaue is believed to have “slipped a $100 chip under his initial $15 chip after the bet was already won”. This sounds like he was attempting to “past-post” during the game.

This is a cheating method, sometimes known as ‘pinching’. It is when a gambler makes use of the sleight of hand to shift bets after the results. This results in increased stake and payout in the event that the outcome is favourable to the player. However, it’s a difficult trick to pull off. And while Ofahengaue may be a skilful young casino player, he clearly did not have the skills to beat the eye in the sky.

Guilty to Cheating Blackjack - Blackjack casino game in New Zealnd.

Guilty to Cheating Blackjack – Sentenced in Absentia

The incident was not spotted by the dealer but by security video surveillance staff who then approached the player. When they questioned his actions, Ofahengaue did not deny anything. He simply handed back his winnings.

The 21-year-old player was issued with a notice to appear in court over the incident in Brisbane’s Treasury Casino. Nonetheless, Ofahengaue wrote to the court to say he could not attend but entered a written plea of guilty.

In his absence, the magistrate gave Ofahengaue a fine of AU$400 but made no record of a conviction. At the same time, the Treasury Casino did not request any form of compensation from him. The Broncos (the rugby league he plays for) reported that they were made aware of the situation and instead of taking the matters into their own hands; they reported it to the National Rugby League.  

“We will allow the due course to run and then determine if any further action is to be taken,” said Paul White, the Broncos CEO. After all, gambling crimes are a serious offence in Australia. This is because land-based and online casinos contribute a lot of taxes to states. As much as winning is the goal for online gambling, we best advise our Aussie gamblers to play it safe and fair. It’s not clear what the National Rugby League will decide, but we’ll keep our Aussie readers posted.