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Riu Punta Cana / casino scam

1 Dominican Republic Review updated:
Contact information:

On May 19th my wife and I flew from Philadelphia to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We were going to a friend’s wedding. The resort was the RIU Palace Punta Cana. This is advertised as a 5 star, all-inclusive resort. I booked the trip through Liberty Travel. After dinner on Wednesday night a group of guests decided to go over to the casino. The Casino was located within the hotel connected to our resort. It was inside the RIU Palace Macao. The casino is listed on the RIU website and on all the resort pamphlets. There are no disclaimers that the hotel does not own the casino.

When we entered the Casino a young woman greeted us at the door and said that they had a new game in the casino and gave us each a $5 chip to play the game. The dealer explained that the game was easy and if we began to play he would show us how to play. I played the game by throwing a cup full of seven red balls into a wooden wheel similar to roulette. As the balls dropped in to the various numbered holes the dealer would spin the wheel towards himself so that he could quickly count the total. I did not question this since in the beginning of the game I was winning a large amount of the time. As I later found out this is a key part of the scam. Why would anyone question a winning spin?

The goal of the game is to accumulate 100 points to win the jackpot. I quickly accumulated 99 points. Now that I was only 1 point away, the only number totals I got were the ones that doubled the amount of the next bet and jackpot. At this time the dealer slows down and shows you how the balls fell into holes that total the number that does not win any points but doubles the bet and jackpot. Since I’ve already gotten 99 points so quickly the thinking is that it would be easy to get just one more point. The dealer is cheering for you saying that someone just won a huge jackpot last week and he hopes that you will tip him when you win. He says that the only way the house wins is if you can’t make the next bet. Since the bet and the jackpot have been doubled many times at this point it was a 10, 000 bet to win 400, 000. The scam is that I was never getting any of the red balls into numbered holes that would total a number that gave points to me.

As I checked online I found many similar stories of people being scammed. I felt comfortable using the Hotel casino where I was staying. It is a International corporation and it was a five star resort. As it turns out there is no casino oversight and enforcement in the Dominican Republic.

The casino manager never explained that the credit card was being used as a cash advance. They also never explained that they were charging larges fees on top of the cash advance. They charged two different credit cards for a total of $33, 000.

Once went online and discovered how many people had experienced the same scam I tried to contact the hotel manger of both the RIU Palace Punta Cana and RIU Palace Macao. I left several messages and neither returned my calls or answered the phone when I called. The casino manger never returned my call either.

I contacted a customer service number for RIU Resorts. The person who answered the phone was in Mexico. They said they had no names or phone numbers of anyone I could speak to in regards to this problem. They offered me an email address. I sent an email and after a week of not getting a response I called the customer service number again. I explained that I needed a response and was given more email addresses. I got a response that told me it would be four weeks to hear back after they investigate my issue.

I called my Bank of America mastercard the next day to tell them to dispute the charges. they said that since I willingly gave the card that there was nothing they could do. I asked them to send me a dispute form anyway, which I have never received.

Sort by: UpDate | Rating


  • Ri
      3rd of Apr, 2009

    Riu Palace is the worst. They are dirty and will rip you off.

    +1 Votes
  • Ri
      4th of Dec, 2009

    Riu resorts is a filthy rip off. the casino is a scam!!!

    +1 Votes
  • Fe
      26th of Dec, 2011

    lost $12000 on the exact same scam at the dreams casino. No answer from the hotel manager at rio. The dealer will not let you see the numbers because he is inflating them in the begining. He makes you feel at ease because points come so easy.
    As he takes you to within a point of your total, he suddenly slows down and lets you count with him. At this point you are unable to even get a point.
    I am surprised sunwing and rio bamboo would allow their client to be robbed so easy.

    +1 Votes
  • Ti
      7th of Sep, 2012

    I know of this game te scam is not about what you think, i had the same thing happen to me, I was given promo chips and brought to some table, the trick is you will end up either spending more than the jackpot or not having access to enough money to win. I was down 16, 000 and they wanted to collect before I could continue. Well they collected the 16k and I was out of money! And they where going to close my game out after I had lost everything, however my wife put out her MasterCard with a 60k limit, we rolled maybe 10 more times an won a jackpot of 51000.00 dollars! The game isn't the trick here it's the money. If you play you. Best be prepaid, I it wasn't for the MasterCard we would have lost 16, 000.00 !!! Beware

    +1 Votes
  • Da
      14th of Jan, 2013

    I just fell victim to the exact same scam at the Riu Macao Casino in Punta Cana and lost $5500. Be very aware and do not accept the free chips as they will suck you in.

    +2 Votes
  • El
      18th of Jan, 2013

    We just got back and fell victim as well. We lost $1200.00 in 15 minutes..what a scam..They should be ashamed of themselves...I did not expect this from Riu.. There are enough victims that we should be able to sue them as a whole...I will try to dispute whatever I charged.

    +3 Votes
  • An
      19th of Feb, 2014

    Has anyone here been scammed at the Riu Palace Punta Cana

    +1 Votes
  • Ed
      9th of Mar, 2014

    You guys have willingly given money to casinos...thousands of dollars. wouldn't you rather invest in a startup? At Devinx, we have several startups in need of funding...since you like gambling, wqhy not gamble and maybe the startup goes ahead and not only makes you your money back, but it may actually make you a decent profit.
    Email [protected] to find out more.


    0 Votes
  • Pl
      24th of Aug, 2014

    There is one big winner here and no complaint. Greed drove the rest of the players. They play a high risk game and lose. What, s the complaint?

    0 Votes
  • Ya
      31st of Jul, 2015

    I have been reading about this casino scam on the internet for about 3 months prior to my vacation. They lure you in through a casino 'promotion' with $20 in free play. Once you get lured in they have you throw 8 balls into a roulette and the dealer acts so surprised and tells you that you are so close to the jackpot. They then ask for a credit card so you can continue rolling but your bets keep doubling. The game is nearly impossible to win and there are stories of people loosing up to $40, 000! The casino says that they aren't involved with the game and that it is a private table that rents out space. This is a true scam by real con artists. I have attached a picture of the game, read the rules carefully. The game is very attractive by instinct but it is a scam. If you try to watch players play in the casino security will approach you and say this is a private table so you cant see the people loosing their life savings.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
      13th of Oct, 2015

    All these stories sound like mine coincidence think not my wife and I got to 49 pretty quick and our jack pot also grew as did our bet . Jack pot is at 100, 000 and each bet is 2500 amazing how a 20$ bet grew to 2500$ the house was honest about them saying that most don't have the funds to continue to play and want you to cash out or should I say DEBT OUT .YOU can win if you have deep pockets and that last point you need to make 50 to win well lets just say it won't happen here what was supposed to be a nice vacation will be thanks to our friends and a very understanding wife . We work hard for our money and I've got no one to blame but myself . Was looking to have some fun and maybe win a little or loose a little won't say how much because I'm embarrassed that I was that naive. Talk about a mood killer between me and the wife I feel like Woody Harelson in Indecent Proposal hopefully you'll read this before you get reeled in this scam lile a fish BEWARE of this you've been warned at the expense of my self and others I think I'll try BINGO if I want to loose money at a slower pace

    0 Votes
  • Sc
      29th of Aug, 2016

    The scam part of it all is, the dealer is making numbers up in the beginning. While you roll he pretends to count the numbers really fast. But he knows what he wants you to hit to suck you in. By the time you catch up and your close to winning the jackpot he counts the real numbers. Over whelming majority fall between 26-40, with really only 3 chances to score between those numbers with the three highest being double jackpot/bets. By the time you catch on to what's happening you're already in for a few thousand. I lost 100 but quickly caught on to the dealer counting and made him count with me.

    0 Votes
  • Ss
      29th of Nov, 2016

    My Husband got influenced by those two actors who made him feel that he is exceptionally winning . After losing all cash, he was on 97points so he continue wining, He lost 26.000$ in the game, 6.5000$ was by wire transfer which were canceled the next day but the rest was not. The guy was counting wrong from the beginning, my husband was getting all the points so he didn't suspect he could lose. Please help, We are looking for any information of how get our money back. [email removed]

    +1 Votes
  • Ca
      26th of Feb, 2019

    Wow I wish I would have read these comments way before I played this stupid game. They sucked me & mom in after we were playing blackjack. We lost $2, 000 on this game and that was a lot to us because that's all we took to enjoy ourselves and didn't have enough money to go shopping and we call ourselves professional gamblers. We got got! STAY AWAY FROM THIS GAME THEY CALL NEW!!! THEY WILL SAY SOMEONE JUST WON 10K LAST NIGHT IT'S A LIE!!!

    0 Votes
  • Ad
      28th of Feb, 2019

    To all who also lost thousands, I plan to pursue some remedies that will force them to return the money they scammed people out of plus permanently remove this “game” from their casinos!!

    If interested in joining me, please reply to this and give me a way to contact you.

    0 Votes

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