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Cy Ryan

Court Rejects Appeal of Man Convicted of Cheating Slots

24 May 2005

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- A man convicted of using a light optic device to cheat slot machines in Laughlin, has lost his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Wesley C. Hunsucker was sentenced to consecutive terms of 28 to 72 months and 48 to 120 months on charges that included conspiracy to cheat at gambling, burglary and possession of a cheating device.

Hunsucker, in his appeal to the Supreme Court, said there was insufficient evidence to merit a conviction.

The court, in a decision Friday, said the evidence showed a surveillance manager at the Ramada Express in Laughlin testified that Hunsucker was at a dollar slot machine in January 2003, quickly looking from left to right and a woman was blocking the view of him.

The manager testified she saw a burst of light coming from the hopper of the slot machine onto Hunsucker's hand as he cashed out the machine. At some point, the machine tilted, meaning the coin hopper was empty and more money was still owed.

Rather than wait to collect the money owed, the manager said Hunsucker removed something from the machine and the female cashed out the tokens and left the casino.

The state Gaming Control Board was notified and an agent tracked Hunsucker and two females to the Edgewater hotel, but Hunsucker and the two women noticed they were under surveillance and they left. Their vehicle was detained, but Hunsucker was not present. The court said a search of the car found three-fully-functional light optic devices and the equipment to manufacture the items.

The devices have a high-intensity light bulb that disrupts the coin counting optics and allows a person to get more coins than entitled.

Hunsucker argued that no one actually saw him with the device, but the court said the jury could reasonably infer from the evidence that he possessed and used it. The court also rejected Hunsucker's argument that District Judge Nancy Saitta should have excluded the optic units from evidence.

The court on Friday also refused to reconsider an earlier decision that District Judge Valorie Vega should take additional testimony to determine if the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas must pay $643,000 to a man seriously injured in a fight in the casino.

During the fight Robert Gann suffered severe head trauma, including brain hemorrhaging. The court ruled earlier this year that there should be more testimony on whether the casino breached its duty in failing to prevent the fight.