Controversial high roller Cipriani on track to cash in on this “Jackpot”

February 1, 2023 8:11 PM
  • John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports
February 1, 2023 8:11 PM
  • John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports

Las Vegas casino insiders who imagined they’d heard the last of controversial high roller and FBI informant RJ Cipriani were just kidding themselves.

Deadline and other film-industry news sites are reporting that Cipriani has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for a scripted limited series called “Jackpot,” the code name given to Cipriani by FBI agents during his work as an informant that helped result in the dismantling of a drug and gambling ring headed by Owen Hanson.

Cipriani, who goes by the moniker “Robin Hood 702” on social media in reference to the gambling winnings he’s donated to charity, survived being caught up in a multimillion-dollar money-laundering scheme associated with Hansen’s drug and gambling operation. As its promoters see it, the series is one part Donnie Brasco and one part Ocean’s 11.

Officials from Resorts World Las Vegas might consider Cipriani three parts pain in the neck after he claimed they were catering to notorious gamblers with felony convictions and reputations as white-collar scammers.

Cipriani’s own actions came under fire after he was accused of theft and assaulting a customer at the casino. The charges were, shall we say, not deeply sourced in fact. At one point, he was accused of stealing the cell phone of convicted swindler Robert Alexander and threatening the former gaming-website promoter. Cipriani also found himself accused of cheating at gambling, an allegation not proven by the available surveillance video.

On the outs with Resorts World officials, Cipriani took to social media to berate the property and some of its executives. As part of his settlement, he agreed not to write “harassing, intimidating, threatening, disparaging, and negative posts” about the casino.

Also part of the settlement, in which Cipriani pled guilty to disorderly conduct, he agreed to stay away from Resorts World and its personnel.

The series is being produced by Nicholas Stoller and his partner at Stoller Global Solutions Conner Welch, along with Jamie Canniffe and Cipriani.

As Deadline reports, “The series follows the gambler, known to the FBI as ‘Jackpot,’ as he navigates an insane web of characters who may kill him and his family unless he can bring them down first.”

“Jackpot” figures to run up against competition from the Neflix series based on the Hanson drug case. Hanson, a former USC football player nicknamed “O-Dog,” was sentenced to more than 21 years for drug trafficking and racketeering. He also was hit with a $5 million cash and property forfeiture. In all, he lost his freedom and more than $20 million.

As U.S. District Judge William Hayes said at the time of Hanson’s sentencing, “It is difficult to understand how you got here. Other than greed.”

Indeed, it was a precipitous fall that has already attracted attention from producers of a Netflix series on the case. That series is being made by Mark Wahlberg’s unscripted production company, Unrealistic Ideas.

As Unrealistic’s president Archie Gips told Deadline, “This is a working-class guy who worked hard to get into USC, then used the business skills he gained through his education there to create a global drug empire. We’re looking to explore how that happened and how it all fell apart.”

The Hanson case resulted in more than 1,000 arrests worldwide, according to published reports. Hanson wasn’t shy about leveling threats at customers who were slow to pay him. That included Cipriani, according to some accounts.

In the wake of the case, Cipriani has made no secret of his role as an FBI informant, splashing interviews with Rolling Stone and other publications.