Our story, like so many others, started on april 4th, our 4th wedding anniversary. The hotel riu palace macao in punta cana, dominican republic looked and seemed to be a 5 star resort. Until we made the bad choice of entering the dream’s casino which was attached to the riu palace hotel. My wife and I entered the casino to observe and to see what the casino was like. We were quickly approached by a hostess. She was full of smiles and presented us with $20 in free money to play their new table game in the far right corner of the casino. I asked her if we could use the money to play slot machines and she quickly said “no”, it was only good for that particular table game in the corner. After persistently asking us to give it try, we agreed and she escorted us over to the table.
The dealer told us the game was called “double down”. The dealer was a younger man, probably in his early thirties and nicely dressed. He began explaining the game which consisted of a 2’ x 2’ box which had many holes drilled in it. So when we threw the 8 marble balls in it they would fall into a hole and whatever number was by it would be added up for a total for that roll. To the left of the table was a board which was divided up amongst 50 boxes. Each box had either a number value, a zero, 4 of the boxes were “double your bet”. And there were also 4 sets of colored boxes, so if you rolled all 4 of those numbers, you would get either $1, 000, $2500, $5000, and $10, 000. The dealer said to win the game you must get to 50 points. The game starts with a $10 bet and the jackpot started at $400. We threw our first 8 marbles and the dealer adds up the total, we look on the board of squares and it reads “double your bet”. Our next bet is now $20 each roll and the jackpot doubled to $800. We throw 1 more time and we get another “double your bet”. The dealer quickly lets us know that this has never happened and we are starting off the game very well. He has nothing but positive things to say. While this was going on, there was an older man who frequently stuck his head into the game to see what was going on. I suppose like a pit boss. When he saw we were betting $40 to win $1600. He quickly made a similar comment that he doesn’t see this very often. Meaning the jackpot was increasing so fast and our price per bet was still so low. Keep in mind, the entire time playing, the dealer told us our jackpot was so high that no monies would be taken out of our account. The dealer said they would only need verification of funds. That was all bs. I believe the next roll was a 25, and before long we were at approx. 35 points. Nothing could go wrong for the first dozen or so rolls and you can see on the original hard copies included in this report. Once the bet amount exceed $10k, the dealer requested we showed proof that we could cover the amount in case we decided to leave the game.
You cannot lose in this game, you can only give up. By this time, both the dealer and the older guy are sharing the involvement in this scam. Located next to the table was a door and a small office inside. Set up with a small desk, computer w/ internet and a telephone, making it very easy for a victim to access their bank accounts. The jackpot was now $102, 400 with only 1 more point to get to win. Our next roll is another “double your bet”. Unbelievable!! The older man quickly comes back to the table to throw a “private party” sign on the table. We thought it was strange but continued on. We now realize it was to keep other people from being involved and possible exposing their scam.
The jack pot is now $204, 800 and we still only needed 1 more point. Always 1 more point. Without a moment’s notice, the dealer tells us they will allow us to have 3 additional rolls on credit since they are telling us we are definitely going to win. The dealer even pulled out a calculator to show us what the odds are that we will win in the next 3 rolls. Both of us are feeling the pressure, my wife is in tears, I am pacing the casino floor not sure what to do. The older man walks up to me and offers me a xanax (or equivalent) to help calm me down which I did not take, who knows what it could have been. While my wife and I are contemplating our next move, a 3rd person approaches us and starts making small talk. This person is gary, regional casino director for dreams casino’s. A photo of his business card is also attached. We think the dealers’ name was alex and we are not sure about the old man but we will never forget their faces. Gary was speaking to the old man close enough for me to hear him say they needed to call the owner because there is not enough money in the vault to cover the jackpot.
Regretfully we decide to roll another time and the dealer adds up the number quickly and the result is a 0 (no points). Still need 1 more point and according them, there is no way we can lose now, yeah right. We roll one more time and we get a winner!, not so fast, its only $1000 which he quickly subtracts from the total and the dealer states we also get a free roll. So without nothing more to lose, we throw our last free roll and it totaled to a number, I believe it was 49 or something. We looked on the board and yep, 2 points. We are over the 50 point total, we won the jackpot. Without a moment’s notice, the old man shouts out 43 (not exactly sure if that was the number). Number 43 on the squares is a 0 point. He said we did not win. Before I could even ask to recount the marbles they were already scooped up and ready for the next roll.
Gary the regional director is now getting involved in the discussion. He said not to worry about it tonight, go back to the hotel and get some rest. We can continue the game tomorrow. The dealer wrote down where we left off in the game on a document which has no casino name, no reference to the dreams casino anywhere. I have also included a scan of the original document. The dealer stapled the corners and sides so no one could open it. Gary offered to meet us the following morning at noon in front of the riu hotel/dreams casino. The night was long, we could hardly sleep and in the morning we agreed that it was a scam. Especially after reading all the similar stories/blogs on the internet. We wanted our vacation back.
The next morning we started walking down to meet gary which wasn’t very far, the casino is actually part of the riu hotel. Just as we came up to the casino, gary pulled up in his suv with a child inside. He said the child was his but who knows. He pulled us both aside and told us he could not sleep all night, that he explained to his wife about the night before and that she told him to do the right thing. Gary explained to us that he and his wife have plans to return back to the usa and to quit the dream casino. He said the game we played was a fraud, there was no way to win and do not roll anymore times. Also, the casino hasn’t paid him and his staff for over a month. He said he was done with that casino, and would help us out. He begins to tell us both, “if we give him his commission (10%), he would give us a “paid in full” receipt with his signature”. He said he felt bad because he hasn’t seen this happen too many times and wreck family’s vacations. We told him we would do it as long as he would give us all the original paperwork and a paid in full receipt. He said he would but not until 6:30 that evening. So we drove up to the bank, remember his kid was in the car so we had no worries. We drove to a bank called blanco bhd, carretera areana gorda. Plaza caney 1, bavaro. Gary came into the bank with us and that bank only allowed us to remove $1000 of the $1750 he requested. Thank god. After we got back into the suv, gary quickly took the $1000 and stamped the document “paid in full” and signed it. The paid in full stamp just happened to be in the center console. I told him he wasn’t getting the remaining $750 until we get the original paperwork. He said the $1000 was good and that he would meet me at 6:30pm like we discussed. As we were driving back to the riu hotel, gary made some comments such that the old man and the dealer were a father and son duo. Interesting, because the prior day, the older man said he wouldn’t be able to pay us the jackpot right away because he would first have to verify our relationship to the dealer.
After paying gary the $1000, we called huntington bank to report the fraud and to lock down all our accounts. The bank said there were 2 charges still pending. She said she would put a stop on these pending transactions immediately. Unfortunately, she did not and the money was withdrawn from our account.
Gary dropped us off at the hotel and said to go and enjoy your vacation and he would see me later at 6:30pm. I went down to the lobby and gary was there waiting. He asked me to get into his car to go for a ride. I told him no way and we began walking away from the riu hotel. After a short conversation between gary and i, he handed over the original hardcopies. He then went on to tell me how much trouble he could get in if someone found out what he did for us. I asked him, is this over, can we go enjoy whatever is left on this vacation. Gary said, well, not so fast, he told me it would be safer if we changed hotel rooms, did not answer any phone calls to the room, and definitely do not answer the door if someone knocks on it. We switched our rooms and the phones rang many times between 11pm to 1:30am the next couple nights. It was none stop but we never answered. We also found notes in our door from the casino.
The next morning I went down to the lobby and demanded to speak to the riu hotel manager. They arranged a meeting in a closed door office. She (dasha) would not talk to me out in the lobby because she didn’t want anyone to hear what I was saying. I told her my wife and I were scammed for a lot of money at the dreams casino and told her we switched our rooms for safety and I wanted to know why we were getting phone calls and notes left at our new room number. I specifically told dasha that I wanted to be left alone. Dasha said “she was not aware of any scams going on in the casino and if there was, there is nothing she could do about it because the dream casino rents the space from the riu hotel”. The harassing phone calls lasted until the night before we left. Since we realized we were scammed, we did some on-line searches to see what other people had experienced at the dream casino. We read many other blogs which described the same scam my wife and I went through. I am including these blogs at the end of this document and could also be accessed thru this link.
The night before the day we were leaving to go home, around 1:30 in the morning, the phone began ringing off the hook. I did not answer, just like I was told. It rang for approx. 10-15 minutes, stopping and restarting again numerous times. Around 2:00am, someone began knocking at our door. I did not answer it, just like I was told. It was 1 person because I can see feet under the door. My wife and I couldn’t sleep all night and wanted to get home as soon as possible. Our plane was scheduled to leave the next day around 3:30pm but that was not soon enough. At 2:30am, I got up to use the bathroom, and there was a note under my door. The note read something like this:
Drug trafficking and vandalism is a very criminal in the dominican republic. We have all your personal documentation. You will never make it out of the country and the police will stop you at the airport.
My wife and I couldn’t fall back to sleep and woke up very early the next day so we could try to catch the first flight back to the usa. That flight left at 12:30pm and the original flight we already paid for was leaving at 3:30pm. Like I said, we just wanted to get back home. We also emptied out all our clothes too to make sure no one came into our room prior and planted drugs in our suitcases. So we left out the back of the riu hotel and worked our way around to the hotel next door (also owned by riu) so no one could see us when we left. We did not trust the riu hotel staff anymore. We called a taxi and left for the airport. We were the first ones to arrive at the airport. The gates didn’t open until 9am. Once we figured out that american airlines was the first plane out, which was to miami, we booked the flight. We just wanted to get home. Just as the gate attendant was handing us our boarding passes, my wife turned around and gary from the casino was standing directly behind us. He yelled something in spanish to the airline attendant. The attendant asked if we knew him. We said he’s been scamming us at the hotel. She quickly gave us our passes and we headed directly to the security entrance into the airport. How did gary find out we left for the airport early? No one knew except if we were being watched or someone at the riu hotel notified them. We believe many people were in on this scam. Gary followed us the entire time yelling out to us, “you will never make it out of the airport; the police are looking for you.” we didn’t stop and kept on walking. Finally we made it through security, as we looked back, we could still see gary standing there on his cell phone speaking in spanish. I never knew what he was saying or who he was talking too. Unfortunately, we didn’t get out of the airport until 10pm that evening because the plane had a malfunction and we had to wait for the last flight out. The entire time we sat in the airport waiting for something more to happen, thankfully nothing did. My wife and I both received another phone call from gary the following morning but we ignored it.
This needs to be stopped. The dates on the blogs go back approx. 10 years. We believe apple vacations and riu hotel macao are aware of the casino scams but still promote this casino has their entertainment and profit from it as well.