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
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 .
Dazzle Con Game Rips Off Tourists, Bribes Police - article
Dazzle Scam Busts - article and links to related ones