Cheating or attempting to cheat has been around since the introduction of roulette. Shady players always look for shortcuts and ways to rig the roulette in order to gain an edge over the casino. Meanwhile, some rogue casinos use illegal techniques and methods to siphon as much money off players as possible.
So, how can a roulette wheel be rigged? Here are the most common methods that casinos and players have tried to use to fix or rig the devil’s wheel:
Past posting is an old-school roulette cheating method. It is straightforward yet effective if used discreetly. It works even better if there is a collaboration between the player and the dealer.
Past posting involves a player or a group of players attempting to add high-value chips to the betting grid after the ball has landed on a pocket. The dealer may not notice or ignore the discrepancy if they collude with the cheaters.
Although past posting does not involve deliberate manipulation of the roulette wheel, it is a form of fixing the game in favor of the player. It might seem to cheaters like an easy way to win “free money,” but it is a serious offense if they get caught. Cheaters can be escorted out of the casino floor, detained, or even arrested and charged in a court of law.
Top hatting is a more advanced version of the past posting technique. It often involves both a cheating player and the dealer. In this technique, the croupier will pay out more chips on the winning bet so that their player partner can collect the ill-gotten proceeds.
Of course, pulling off a top hatting job can be extremely difficult nowadays. Many security cameras and personnel handle the casino floor. Plus, no dealer wants to risk jailing and losing their job because of top hatting.
Use of magnets to manipulate the roulette wheel
Using manipulated equipment is the most common technique employed to rig physical roulette wheels in live dealer studios or brick-and-mortar casinos. However, it is only seen in shady gambling establishments that are not regulated or licensed. In fact, anyone can buy a rigged roulette wheel with magnets from Chinese suppliers.
If you tend to play roulette in underground gambling dens, you probably get conned using a wheel with magnets. There are also reports that some land-based game studios use magnets installed beneath the number pockets, and the ball itself is magnetized. When the play is in session, the dealer will use a magnet to attract the ball to the desired section of the wheel or a specific pocket.
Although magnets have reportedly been used in rogue or underground casinos often run by mobsters and mafia, we have not heard of these rigged devices in modern licensed casinos. In states like Nevada and New Jersey, gaming control officers carefully inspect roulette equipment and likely find the magnetized parts in due time. Such wheels must payout at around the set RTP.
With ball tripping, the roulette ball design is not changed, magnetized, or re-shaped. Instead, the dealer uses various ways to display the ball from the wheel track. The ball’s journey down the funnels can also be diverted so it can land on a particular pocket.
Ball tripping is one of the most commonly mentioned methods by players in online forums. This technique involves fixing the table in such a way that they control where the ball will land on the wheel head. The ball is tripped or caused to dislodge prematurely from the track so that it lands on a specific section of the wheel head.
There are many other ridiculous accusations leveled against live roulette game providers. It might be true that some rogue providers fix their tables, but reputable live gaming software providers do not. Just ask yourself: why would an award-winning software firm like Evolution Gaming rig its live roulette tables when billions of dollars in revenue and its reputation are at stake?
Rigged roulette equipment
Aside from ball tripping and magnets, many different methods can be used to rig the roulette equipment’s hardware or software. A rogue casino can use a scripted online roulette wheel. These online roulette games are programmed to give an added edge to the casino.
In land-based casinos, either players or shady casino operators can add a computer chip to manipulate the payout system or disrupt the random number generator (RNG). Doing so can influence where the ball lands and fix the outcomes. For roulette equipment to be rigged appropriately, the casino has to be able to control the results at will.
It’s worth keeping in mind that there is a massive difference between faulty and rigged roulette equipment. If the casino’s roulette has a minor fault due wear and tear of constant use, it might have a bias towards some pockets. However, that may not benefit the casino.
If you typically bet on a specific section of the wheel, you may unknowingly benefit if that bias results in more wins in that section. Advantage players can also spot faulty roulette wheels and improve their winning chances.
Roulette rigging with skilled dealers
There is an urban legend that some roulette dealers are so good at what they do that they can slot the ball in any pocket they please. Your guess is as good as any here. The dealer will try to land the ball on that pocket if there is a near-empty number on the betting grid. In this way, the casino will benefit the most from the result.
Under ideal conditions, a skilled dealer can repeat the technique and give the house plenty of edge over the players. This rigging method is based on the theory that dealers can actually control the ball and wheel, thus manipulating the wheel outcomes.
Manipulated roulette software
Roulette can also be rigged via software scripting, manipulation, and hacking. This is usually the case at rogue gambling sites, where they run fake or scripted roulette games. Online roulette games are designed to generate random outcomes and payout to a set payback percentage (RTP). It only takes a shady site to fake the roulette outcomes via software so that the player often loses large bets.
The earliest roulette games at online casinos were nothing more than single-player virtual tables run by software core. No other players could look at what is happening beyond their interface with the game. And it is easy to understand where conspiracies and doubles about rigged online roulette games started.
That is why live-dealer roulette games have exploded in popularity in recent years. It gives players the sense of playing roulette at an authentic land-based casino. Rogue game studios that run the live roulette games can still rig their wheels and tables just like at brick-and-mortar casinos.
This technique involves using some kind of braking system underneath the roulette wheel to stop it at a certain point and ensure most players lose. The main aim of wheel braking is to manipulate the wheel head speed to ensure the ball drops to a particular pocket or within a specific section. It is the pure fixing of the roulette results.
Is the game of roulette rigged?
No, the game of roulette is not rigged. That is if you are playing at a government sanction casino, such as those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. At least, the game of roulette is not rigged in the way most players think they do.
There are many reasons we believe the roulette game is not rigged…
Legal gambling is one of the most highly regulated sectors. Regulated casinos, whether online or land-based, must stick to a strict set of gaming controls provided by regulators in their jurisdictions. If they do not adhere to these strict regulations, casinos risk losing their gambling licenses and getting banned, not to mention losing their money to the government.
In major gambling markets like the UK and US, the regulatory bodies have the power and responsibility to ensure that roulette games (including tables, balls, and tables) are secure and fair. It makes sense for a player to ensure that an online casino is regulated and licensed by a trusted regulatory authority, such as the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Nevada Gaming Commission/ Nevada Gaming Control Board, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), and Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
These jurisdictions have great interest in keeping roulette games fair. After all, they get a significant percentage of their tax revenue from roulette gambling. They cannot afford to give gambling licenses to shady casinos and lose the trust of gamblers.
These independent regulatory agencies cover all their bases and continually improve their enforcement methods and policies. The MGA and UKGC, for instance, carry out their own random audits of casino roulette games. There is no way these respected regulators can allow rigged online roulette games.
With this high level of oversight from independent regulators, it would be extremely stupid or bold of an online or land-based casino to rig a game of roulette.
Third-party testing and certification
Although optional, legit casinos welcome independent third-party testing agencies to audit, validate, and certify their roulette games. They do this before launching their roulette games and at random on a regular basis. While online roulette might look like an easy way for rogue operators to rig their games, independent testing firms like eCOGRA and TST do not hand out certificates like skittles.
To certify a game of roulette to be fair, testing labs must ensure the following requirements are met:
Random number generators must be non-manipulated and generate genuinely random results
The roulette game must be provided by a licensed gaming software firm
Outcomes must be recorded and analyzed to ensure they match the return to player percentage
Statistical and audit analysis and reports must be done automatically
The consequences of getting caught rigging a game of roulette are dire
Casinos already enjoy a significant odds advantage over the players, all thanks to the house edge built into the game of roulette. With American roulette, the casino holds an average of 5.26% of player bets as profit. Clearly, rigging the game of roulette is not worth losing a million-dollar gambling license for reputable casinos.
If players learn that a particular operator has rigged their roulette games, they will flee, and the casino will start losing its source of revenue. Other consequences include jail time, a lifetime ban from the gambling industry, and potentially lawsuits filed by regulators or affected players.
Use of random number generators makes it hard to rig roulette games
RNGs are algorithms or computer programs incorporated into the roulette game. They help generate random numbers for resulting roulette outcomes. These computer systems are hard to manipulate; if someone does, the manipulation can easily be spotted by regulators.
Is it mathematically possible to beat roulette?
No, it is not mathematically possible to beat roulette. However, math can show you that odds are stacked against the player. If you do proper math, you will realize that a house edge is integrated into the game of roulette, meaning the casino will always win in the long run.
Is roulette a skill or luck?
Roulette is a game of partial skill and partial luck. The element of luck comes into play because roulette results are random. That makes roulette a game of chance.
On the other hand, you need specific skills to improve your winning chances at roulette, including time management skills, bankroll management skills, etc.
All in all, roulette is more luck than skill.
Do roulette machines cheat?
No roulette machines at good casinos do not cheat. What most people confuse as cheating is the house edge that is built into the machine. It gives the casino a slight mathematical advantage in terms of odds. For instance, a European roulette machine has a house edge of 2.70%, meaning the casino will likely retain $2.70 for every $100 wagered by the players over time.
Do casinos use magnets to rig roulette wheels?
Only some underground or rogue casinos use magnets to rig roulette wheels. This old-school rigging method is rarely seen in the gambling scene today.
Why do some players think online roulette is rigged?
Some players think online roulette is rigged because they are bound to lose a small percentage of their wager in the long run. This is due to the built-in house edge.
Is online roulette rigged?
Online roulette is not rigged at legit gambling sites. However, you will likely find rigged roulette games at non-licensed shady online casinos.
Is there a trick to winning roulette?
A reliable roulette strategy involves betting on outside bets, like red or black, which offer nearly 50% winning chances. Consistently wagering on these can improve odds. However, there’s no guaranteed trick; roulette is ultimately a game of luck. Manage your bankroll and play responsibly to increase your enjoyment and potential success.
Can roulette tables be rigged?
Legitimate, regulated casinos ensure fair play, meaning roulette tables are not rigged. Gaming authorities strictly monitor such establishments, using random number generators for online roulette to guarantee impartial outcomes and maintain the integrity of the game. Always select trusted casinos to avoid rigged roulette tables.
Do casinos control roulette tables?
Casinos do not control roulette outcomes as the game is designed for random results. Roulette wheels undergo strict testing to ensure fairness. The wheel’s spin, ball’s varying speed, and gravity ensure unpredictability. Gaming authorities regularly audit casinos to maintain integrity and trust in these games of chance.
Is roulette 100% luck?
Roulette is largely based on luck, given that the outcome of each spin is random. However, while luck dominates in the short run, the game has a built-in house edge, typically around 2.7% for European roulette, which influences long-term results, aligning them with statistical probabilities.