Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Razzle Dazzle Carny Board Game Arcade Scam

The game, known as Razzle Dazzle, is an old arcade scam in which unwitting victims are lured into a rigged betting scheme. Once popular at old-style carnival midways, the game relies on slick-talking barkers to convince players that a big payoff is just one bet away.

According to police, young women will lure tourists into the front door with a coupon for a free gift. Once small talk confirmed the customers are tourists, the women escort the victims to the playing area, where several Razzle boards are set up on top of glass display cases.

Working the boards are "agents" who offered a free pair of beads or, better yet, a chance to win a T-shirt or cash by playing a game that involves rolling marbles onto a board.

The Razzle board is a flat playing surface with 120 holes numbered 1 to 6. Players roll eight marbles onto the board. After each of them settles into a hole, an agent adds the total score. The agent then points to a laminated card with a confusing grid of points.

To win, a player must tally 100 points, but the odds of scoring that many are next to impossible. To reel a victim in, the agent deliberately miscounts to give the impression the player is earning points.

After a free roll or two to get the game started, the agent begins charging, starting with $2 and increasing with each roll. Once the player is close to 100 points, the agents stops miscounting and subsequent rolls produce zero or a harmless free roll.

Meanwhile, the agent tries to keep the victim betting by offering substantial amounts of money once the score hits 100.

Razzle gambling games were being set up during the Mardi Gras Carnival inside of stuffed animal kiosks along parade routes, and occasionally at smaller fairs and festivals, to rip-off tourists.

During Carnival one operation included five or more employees who conducted, managed and directed the gambling business from the remote vendor stands which routinely made over $2,000 on a single day .

Razzle Dazzle Con Game Rips Off Tourists, Bribes Police - article

Razzle Dazzle Scam Busts - article and links to related ones