Robert J. Cipriani is an unusual philanthropist as he gave most of his blackjack winnings to those who seek his help through his website. Cipriani’s fame (or notorierity) not only stemmed through his status as an international gambler, but also from his role as a key witness in bringing down an international money-laundering and cocaine syndicate.
Drug Trade Busted
It all started in Australia in 2011. Cipriani was offered money to play blackjack by an ex- USC player Owen Hanson who was using the pseudonym Junior DeLuca. Cipriano was hustled by Hanson into playing (and hopefully laundering) AUD 1.5 M and 2.5 M on two different occasions in Australia. He took his initial winnings, a check issued by an Australian casino back to the US to play at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. He won some and lost some but was able to pay back Hanson.
Back in Sydney two weeks later, Cipriano was threatened if he did not take Hanson’s AUD 2.5 M to gamble. Feeling that something was not right, he gambled away all of the AUD 2.5 M. Owen Hanson was furious and told Cipriani to meet up with him at Hilton Sydney. Cipriani was scared and quickly left for the US after reporting to the hotel authorities that a man with a gun was staying at the aforementioned hotel room.
The hotel security guard came with policemen and found AUD 702,000 in a suitcase in the possession of former boxed Sean Carolan. This led to the investigation and arrest of Owen Hanson and the dismantling of his drug trade in 2016.
Who is RJ Cipriani?
As a boy Cipriani lived in Philadelphia. He has four other siblings. His father supported them by working in a factory, as barber in his own barber shop, and selling un-taxed wine and cigarettes. His father was the sort of guy who connects people to the right people, setting up deals for favors and profit.
At age 16, RJ realized that he did not want to spend the rest of his life selling pretzels at his dad’s factory. He trooped to Atlantic City in New Jersey and was introduced to gambling in casinos. He saw gambling as a challenging, rewarding and entertaining means to “work”. He became a professional gambler, earning from fellow gamblers and from those he helped. He became famous and began hobnobbing with very popular and rich personalities.
He was called Robin Hood 702 as he shared his winnings not only to those who seek his help but to casino staff as well. He claimed to have given away over $1 million of his winnings.
Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
In April 2017, Cipriano filed a lawsuit saying that Daryl Katz, the owner of a Canadian hockey team offered his wife Greice Santo of Jane the Virgin fame, money in exchange of an ongoing sexual relationship. Cipriano claimed that Katz offered his wife $1.6 million. The proposal was for Santo to sleep with Katz six times a month for a year.
Cipriano also files a lawsuit against the PR firm representing Katz. He claimed that Glenn Bunting, head of the PR firm, defamed him to stop the New York Post from running his story. Katz replied that Cipriano has been harassing him (Katz) and his family for over a year now. He added that Cipriano is a convicted felon with regards to the Owen Hanson event. This, by the way, led to the banning of Cipriano from playing in casino across the world, greatly affecting his means of earning a living.
To help Cipriani, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office actually confirmed that Cipriani is clean and has not been charged on any crime relating to the drug trade and money laundering. However, as of this time, Robert J. Cipriano remains banned from playing in casinos.