It doesn’t surprise many to hear that it’s a crime to cheat at a casino. But what if it is the casino that is actually cheating? Casinos can cheat by outright manipulating their games, rigging their RNGs, or offering sinfully bad odds that will deplete the bankrolls of players in a jiffy.
Nonetheless, the number of casinos caught cheating has been astonishingly tiny. The number of casinos ever found of any wrongdoing has decrease dramatically over the last decade.
Casinos caught cheating can face many consequences…
- Penalized with heavy fines – Casinos caught cheating can face hefty financial penalties from both government and regulators. Some like Crowns Casino in Sydney have been slapped with record fines of $120 million.
- Gambling licenses can be revoked – Casinos caught cheating risk getting their gambling licenses revoked by the regulators. This is especially true if the casino is found engaging in money laundering and frauds. The entire casino can be shuttered altogether after the revocation of the license. It all starts with the gambling license being suspended, a fate that faced Star’s Casino in New South Wales.
- Casino can face criminal charges – If the casino is caught cheating, it can sometimes face criminal charges. This particularly the case if the casino’s cheating broke any criminal laws. Well-known cheating that contravenes the criminal code – money laundering and rigging slot machines. If that’s the case, the casino employees, operators, and even staff can be charged criminally.
- Casino can suffer reputation damage – Casinos operate in an environment where credibility is currency. If the casino loses reputation with customers, gamblers will never step foot into their floors. When all’s said and done, reputation damage from cheating can hurt the casino the most.
What Happens If a Casino Gets You Cheating?
Cheating at a casino is illegal in most parts of the world, including the US and Europe.
If you are caught by the casino cheating, what happens to you will vary depending on a number of factors …
- Location and type of the casino – Are you in Macau, Monaco, Las Vegas, or elsewhere? The laws, policies, and guidelines governing casino cheating do vary from one jurisdiction to the next. The very definition of cheating also varies.
- The severity of the offense – You don’t expect to get the same level of treatment when you count cards and hack into a slot machine.
- Repeat offense – If it’s not your first time cheating at the casino, you’ll probably get a harsher treatment, a bigger fine, or longer jail time for the repeat offense.
- Your age – Minors are more likely to get away with cheating. After all, they are not of legal gambling age yet. In some cases, senior adults may be told to leave the premises and not return to the casino again.
Top Ways of Cheating in Casinos
(1) Past posting in roulette
Past posting is a roulette cheating method that dates back to the 19th century. It is almost as old as the game itself, yet it still plagues the casino industry. It is quite straightforward. We must mention that past posting is not a new trick used by players to beat roulette.
Past-posting has been used for many decades, and it’s preferred for its simple nature. You will probably not get away with this method for long. It entails when a player places chips on a winning number as soon as the ball falls on the slot. It’s a no-brainer because you’re essentially betting on a number you know for sure has won.
The roulette cheat is so simple that pretty much anyone can attempt it. But succeeding in your ruse is a different story because this something can easily get napped.
Your hands should be agile and fast, and your timing should be flawless. If you miss the moment even by a beat, the folks in charge will notice your ill-tactic. A repeat offense will probably get you kicked out of the casino or even reported to the authorities.
(2) Colluding with roulette dealers
You have probably seen those TV or movie scenes where the dealer and players collude to take the house down. While Blackjack is often the game of choice, players and roulette dealers can also conspire to reap off the casino.
The initial planning usually happens outside of the casino. The player will have to find and play at the table where the dealer is responsible. Often, the dealer will secretly add chips to winning numbers. Alternatively, the dealer can pretend not to “see” players who are placing late bets.
Roulette cheats who collude with dealers typically choose low-activity periods. That way, they can go ahead with the ruse without their scheme being suspected by other players or pit bosses. In some cases, the pit bosses or floor managers can be in it too.
(3) Spooning in slot machines
Don’t take this too literally – or should you? In the bygone era before casinos started using ticket printers for payouts, there were infamous folks called the “spooners.” The main payout method was through coin hoppers that paid from a pool or box of coins. In fact, most slot machines came with coin tubes that stacked coins for payouts.
That’s where spooners brought their A-game. They used a spoon-like tool to hold the coin tube slide open, releasing as many coins as they could inside. It was long before spooning rings were thwarted, and printer tickets were introduced.
(4) Taking advantage of cheat codes
This one borrows a leaf from the video gaming industry. As you might already know, gaming authorities like UKGC use certain codes to see to it that slot machines operate in a fair and correct manner. The so-called source code is what determines the behavior and payout trends of a particular machine. If a given slot doesn’t deliver the desired outcome (say the payout is high or low), the authority will inform the developer and casinos of the same.
This is a good thing. In fact, it’s the only way to keep rogue developers and shoddy casinos from rigging their slots machines in favor of the house.
But, what if the engineer(s) at the gaming authority decides to use the source code for their own gain?
That’s exactly how slot cheat codes come into the picture. If a rogue engineer wants to take advantage of the source code, he or she will create a pre-programmed code that will allow them to win in a predicted way.
The case of Ronald Dale Harris, a former engineer with the Nevada Gaming Commission comes to mind when we think about cheat codes. For several years, the engineer cheated slot machines in the Strip using a cheat code, making away with thousands of dollars in wins. In one particular instance, Harris won a whopping $100,000 in 1998 at a game of keno. That’s actually how he got caught.
(5) Using gaffed roulette wheels
Gaffing means altering the mechanism of the roulette wheel in such a way that it favors certain slots. That means the cheats will know and place their bets on these numbers.
One of the well-known wheel-gaffing cheats is Pierre Dugal. He was a carpenter who used his skills to alter the wheels and improve his odds.
(6) Using shaved coins to cheat slot machines
This cheat applies to only land-based casinos and physical slot machines that you find in bowling alleys, entertainment hubs, and other gambling houses. It is an age-old trick that has been used by gambling cheats for many years.
These no-so-savory folks like their coins shaved. The idea behind a shaved coin is to trick the slot comparator that a coin or token has been entered into the machine. This slot cheating method, however, has died down in the last few years when the advanced optic sensors were installed on the machines. If you can still find a machine that still uses a physical comparator, shaved coins will certainly come in handy.
(7) Taking advantage of software glitches and vulnerabilities
Although developers go to great lengths to ensure that their games are glitch-free, errors do happen in their lines of code. That’s why it comes as no surprise that some casinos use the “software glitch” as an excuse not to pay high winners.
One such software glitch occurred back in 2015. A 90-year old grandma made away with $41 million in Missy Kittle winnings at Isle Casino. Unlike other cheats, however, the grandma didn’t get paid after all.
Hackers and casino cheats often take advantage of such glitches to help themselves to easy winnings. They often use additional code to trigger wins or confuse a lot of machines to make payouts.
(8) Magnetized roulette ball
This is hands down one of the most complex, risky and elaborate roulette cheating methods out there. It’s the kind that was used by the Ocean 13 folks. The cheats usually install magnetic balls and remote-controlled elements within the wheel itself.
As such, they can control with a high level of accuracy where the ball will land on the wheel. It’s been done before, and several similar cases are thwarted every year. If you want to try this method, you have to be a little more creative than the last cheats who were caught.
A group comprising an Austrian and 4 Germans made away with over $250,000 by installing a magnetic ball. They controlled it remotely but were discovered by the metallic cufflinks of the dealer that got stuck on the wheel.
The Consequences of Getting Caught Cheating at a Casino
The consequences of getting cause cheating at a casino generally include:
1- Receive a warning
The management of the casino reserves the right to know how to handle the situation. If they think you cheated accidentally or your first time, you may be issued a simple warning. You will be required to stop cheating activities immediately.
2- Backed off
If you are suspected of having cheated at blackjack, you may be requested to leave the blackjack table. Typically, you are still allowed to play other games like roulette, baccarat, slots, and so on. You may even be allowed to play blackjack at a different table, day, or shift. However, the casino staff will most likely monitor your movements and gambling activities.
3- Ousted from the casino
The next option is to kick you out of the casino. That is not to say the security personnel will beat you up or handle you by the belt. They will simply ask you to leave the floor or get out of the casino altogether. If you refuse or resist, the security may have to escort you out of the casino establishment.
4- Blacklisting and banning
If you didn’t win a lot of money from cheating, the casino might choose to let you go. However, they will ban and blocklist you from ever visiting the casino. In many cases, you may be banned from a gambling destination like Macau or Atlantic City altogether.
5- Winnings confiscated
This often happens if you win a lot from cheating at the casino. For example, if you win $5,000 counting cards at a casino, they will confiscate every cent. This method has been criticized, as some casinos might use it to deny gamblers of their fair winnings.
6- You may be detained and questioned
Depending on where the casino is located, you may be detained by security and management. This is common if the casino suspects that you are part of a gang of cheaters. They would want to know other accomplices you may be working with. The police may be called in if the offense turns out to be criminal.
7- You may receive a fine
If you are found guilty of cheating at a casino, the court will issue a punitive fine. In jurisdictions like Las Vegas, penalties for cheating at a casino can be as much as $10,000. The fine can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Depending on the severity of your offense, getting caught cheating at a casino can land you in jail. You can get up to 6 years of imprisonment for a repeat offense in a jurisdiction like Las Vegas.
A good example is Van Thu Tran, who is accused of running a racketeering operation targeting casinos across the US. The prosecutor is seeking a fine of $250,000 and a 20-year jail time for Mr. Tran.
In 2015, three British gamblers were jailed for cheating and winning around €4 million at a Monaco casino. They switched tokens purchased for €10 for chips worth €1000 each. One of the three men had already been jailed for 14 months in the UK because of cheating at a local casino.
In most cases, if you are caught cheating in a casino, you will be banned from the property and may be banned from other casinos as well. You may also face criminal charges, depending on the nature of the offense and the laws in your jurisdiction. If you are charged with a crime, you will have to go to court to defend yourself.
In reality, most casino cheats are escorted out of the casino and banned forever. Their photos will be taken and kept in a database shared amongst related casinos.
Can you go to jail for cheating in poker?
Yes, you can go to jail for cheating in poker. Cheating methods in poker can vary…
- Colluding with the dealer to pull cards from the bottom of the deck
- Card marking
- Using cards formation to send signals
- Colluding with other players in poker tournaments
- Card sharing
- Using bot rings in online poker
In a lot of cases, you will forfeit your winnings and face other consequences when caught cheating in poker . Many poker cheats have surrendered their winnings after being sued in court for cheating in poker. In Britain, one poker player was asked to pay £350 back or spend six months in prison.
In 2016, a 57-year-old Russian poker cheat named Valeriy Mikhaylets was jailed for four months. He used the sandpaper trick and managed to win £57,000 at Palm Beach Casino in London. He was playing Texas Hold ‘Em Poker against other players.
How do casinos catch cheaters?
Casinos do catch cheaters through various methods …
- Tracking vehicle license plates
- Using surveillance cameras
- Casino staff monitors everything
- They look at the numbers (winnings)
- Using tagged chips
- They have a database of casino cheaters
Is cheating at cards a crime?
Cheating at cards, such as counting cards, is not illegal in most jurisdictions. However, most casinos reserve the right to remove, ban, or deny entry to card counters.
There are two ways in which cheating at cards is a criminal offense:
- If you manipulate the outcome of the card game. For example, you rig the blackjack shuffling machine.
- If you manipulate the payout. For example, you rig the game to pay out more money.
In areas like the state of Nevada, cheating in this manner is considered a crime that carries prison time of up to 6 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
What happens if you cheat in Las Vegas?
If you are caught cheating in Las Vegas, you will likely be removed and banned from the casino. Depending on how serious the offense is, you may be detained and questioned. The casino security may also call the police to intervene on the matter.
If you are found guilty of cheating at a casino in Las Vegas, you may be …
- Jailed for up to six years
- Fined up to $10,000
- Or face both jail time and pay a fine