Louis Colavecchio is not your regular gambler. He isn’t known for making any
great strides as far as big wins go. He was known for his ability to fool the
casino slot machines.
He’s a man who when the gambling bug hit knew he didn’t have the ability to
gamble the way he wanted to, so instead of causing himself, his business, and
his family a great deal of pain by gambling away everything they had, he needed
to find another way.
That’s exactly what he did. He used his intelligence and business equipment
to become one of the best coin counterfeiters the gambling world has ever seen.
His name will be forever remembered as the man who was able to outwit the slots
in Atlantic City.
Louis Colavecchio was born January 1, 1942 and is the youngest child of
Benedict Colavecchio and Dora Colavecchio, They were Italian immigrants who
built their life in Providence, Rhode Island. From an early age Louis wanted to
be like his father.
His father had come to America with nothing and made it his mission to become
a business owner. He was good with his hands and focused his skills on making
high quality tools. Over the years business started to grow for Benedict and he
eventually was able to open two large tool shops in the area.
As the youngest of three children Louis wanted to become a businessman like
his father. He went to college and became the first one in his family to
graduate college. In 1964 Louis graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business
from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Upon his graduation he decided that jewelry was the industry that was on the
rise so that was the business he decided to invest his time into. He opened a
store called Trop Jewelry Co. in Providence. It took ten years for Louis’s
business to start making a decent profit.
Once the business started making a profit it was all uphill from there for
Louis. He was finally able to live his dream and own a big house in a ritzy
neighborhood. This high point in his life lasted for just a couple more years
before disaster struck and devastated Louis and his business.
One night while Louis was working late some thieves broke into the store and
brutally tortured Louis. He was left unconscious while they robbed the store. He
woke up days later in the hospital to be told that everything was gone. The
police tried to figure out who it was but they were never able to recover the
merchandise so Louis was forced to file bankruptcy.
Even after this Louis still wanted to own his own shop so a couple years
later he opened Diamonds in the Sky. This shop was filled with high quality
diamonds and this time Louis had a state of the art security system installed as
This business was an oddity in the neighborhood because unlike most other
businesses it wasn’t open to the public for regular business hours. Instead,
Louis had a sign on the door that described the business and stated you must
call to make an appointment.
However, as odd as this was, the neighboring store owner and residents of the
community would never guess what Louis was really doing.
Over the years Louis had been making trips to Atlantic City. In Atlantic City
he fell in love with the slot machines he loved to play and had some success
when he first started. He would always go to the Caesar’s Palace Hotel and
Casino when he was in Atlantic City. He never told anyone in his life the real
reason for his trips. He always just told family and friends that it was
Louis started off strong like most players do but he was smart enough to
realize he didn’t have the money to continue playing the way he really wanted to
without losing everything. He tried to manipulate the games themselves at first
to see if he could get them to let him play for free. This idea didn’t pan out
for him so he needed to find another way.
After all of his failed attempts at manipulating the machines Louis decided
to see if he could use the equipment he had in his jewelry store to duplicate
the coins used to play the game. So he gathered up a couple different coins and
headed home to start on his new project.
When Louis returned home he went to the shop to see if his electric discharge
machine would be able to generate a coin that would be close enough to the real
thing to work. His first attempt to duplicate casino currency was to make a fake
poker chip. He chose to start with these because it would be less likely that he
would be caught than at the slot machines.
His electric discharge machine did the trick and he was able to make
believable replicas. When he was forging these counterfeit coins and chips he
was meticulous when it came to the detail. He knew everything had to be perfect
or he would end up getting caught.
Once he was satisfied with the ability to produce the poker chips that could
be used without question he turned to making the coins for the slot machines.
Louis knew that the slots were where he would make the most money so he took his
time and made sure that every coin was perfect.
Upon his return to Caesar’s Palace Louis was nervous but in the end his handmade
coins worked like a charm. He was able to play the slots for hours without
having to risk a single cent of his own money. The coins worked so well he ended
up winning thousands of dollars a night with them which allowed him to flaunt
his wealth to other patrons at the casino.
For months Louis stayed in his comfort zone the Caesar’s Palace casino but
eventually wanted to try his luck and ventured out to the surrounding casinos
including the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. He was able to work his magic here as
well and started to expand his business. He eventually had coins that could be
used in many of the casinos in Atlantic City and the surrounding areas.
He probably would have been able to continue on his winning spree had the
Caesar’s not taken their annual coin inventory. When they had completed their
inventory they noticed that they had way more $10 coins than they should have
had so they notified the Gaming Enforcement agency in New Jersey.
When the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement agency started investigating the coins
they discovered that they were fakes so Caesar’s notified the surrounding
casinos that all discovered they also had a surplus of counterfeit coins that
had been used in their machines.
Louis Colavecchio’s Punishments
On January 31, 1998 Louis and his then girlfriend Donna Ulrich returned to
Caesar’s Palace for what would end up being the worst night of their lives. The
casino and all surrounding casinos were on high alert and were watching everyone
who was playing the slot machines.
Louis and Donna’s behavior caught the attention of the security team and as
soon as they left the casino the police opened the machines they had been
playing on and found it full of counterfeit coins. Donna and Louis were arrested
soon after. After they’d been taken into custody the police searched the room
and Louis’ car where they found 750 pounds of counterfeit coins that could be
used at all the casinos in the area.
When Louis went to court he plead guilty and was given a sentence of 7 years
in prison for Conspiracy, Attempted Theft by Deception, and Unlawful Possession
of a Weapon. He was released in 2006 and it didn’t take long for Louis to get
back to his old tricks.
On Halloween night in 2006 he was videotaped gambling at several of the
casinos on the strip in Atlantic City. The next day he was arrested and charged
with 10 counts of counterfeiting among many others. He was given a $25,000 bond
that was posted by an anonymous person.
He has since admitted that he was involved in the robbery of his first store
so that he could collect the insurance money. Of course he was smart enough not
to admit to this until after the statutes of limitations were up.
More recently he was arrested for drug trafficking when he was found to be in
possession of 5 pounds of marijuana along with several plants. He was able to
show proof that he needed the marijuana by providing a note from his doctor but
the note didn’t do him much good when it came time to account for the massive
amounts of cocaine that was also found in his home.
Although Louis’s legacy is not one that most people would strive to achieve,
he did accomplish the notoriety he always wanted. From a young age all Louis
really wanted was to be a business owner and be rich. He wanted to live in a big
house in a high class neighborhood so that he could say he had made it.
This probably would have worked out well for him had he not started gambling.
He fell in love with the world of gambling and liked the money that he could
make doing it. He knew from the start that he didn’t have the means to really
become a part of this world but he really wanted to make a spot just for him.
Since he couldn’t outsmart the machines to let him play without coins he knew
he had to figure out how to make a coin that could fool the machine. So he used
his intelligence, attention to detail, and craftsmanship to make some of the
best counterfeit coins that have ever been seen.
His coins were so good that none of the machines were able to tell them apart
from the real ones. If the casinos didn’t have strict rules about taking monthly
inventory Louis just might have gotten away with it.
Louis will always be known as the man who made the best counterfeit coins in
the business but now he will never be able to step back in to another casino in
the Atlantic City area because of his crimes.
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.