Common Methods Cheaters Use to Scam Casinos

Casino Scams. Image Credit: Shutterstock
Casino Scams. Image Credit: Shutterstock

With numerous rings of security, you would assume casinos are scam-proof, although cheats have devised ingenious ways to evade these.

It is said that casino scams were invented at the same time as casinos.  They range from simple to highly complex, although they all have the same goal – cheat the house and walk away with more than your fair share of the money.  Although casino security is always on high alert for underhanded activity, they sometimes slip up when dealing with seasoned cheats.

Here are a few successful methods that scammers have employed in the past:

The Art of Distracting

A single player seldom executes big heists.  According to Ohio’s Casino Control Commission, a group of 50 crooks that were part of a New York crime syndicate ran a roulette scam.

The lawbreakers visited casinos all over the country and entered games with bets as low as US$1 per chip.  Then, when other players were distracted, they would place chips of a particular colour in their pockets.  Simultaneously, an accomplice would try to distract the dealer.

Excusing themselves from the table, players with the coloured chips would secretly pass these to another gang member.  Then, that player would move to the next table where that chip’s colour had a higher assigned value and cash it in.  After operating the scheme in four cities across Ohio, the gang was finally caught.

Counting Cards

One of the most popular casino scams is card counting.  This strategy is usually used in blackjack and poker.  Players continuously count cards and attempt to predict the other players’ next hand to gain an advantage.  A skilled card counter can determine what cards are remaining and then base their next play on that knowledge.  Card counting is not necessarily illegal, although you will be asked to leave if a casino suspects that you’re doing it.

Edge Sorting

The infamous poker pro player, Phil Ivey, might well be crowned the best edge sorter in the world.  In 2014, at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, he won a whopping US$9,6 million that the casino eventually refused to pay because it accused him of edge sorting.

This cheating method involves observing subtle differences on the back of some cards, which help the player to determine if the playing card faced down is either high or low.  The goal is to trick a dealer into sorting the cards from high to low.

Courts often have a hard time determining whether a player simply took advantage of an irregularity that already existed on the back of the cards.  In Ivey’s case, the huge winnings were a tip-off to the authorities.  It’s best to sidestep edge sorting, but those who try it should keep a low profile.

A Simple Pack of Cigarettes

Packs of cigarettes containing radio transmitters have been used in the past to scam casinos.  In 1973, at a casino in France, a roulette dealer constructed a radio transmitter and installed it inside a pack of cigarettes.  Then, he planted a tiny receiver inside a roulette ball.  You can probably predict what happened next.

The ball would fall inside specific holes of the roulette wheel.  Naturally, nobody realised that a transmitter manipulated the ball’s placement.  As it usually is the case, it took a few people to pull off the heist, including a casino worker.

In the end, casino officials uncovered this well-oiled scam involving one of their employees and a couple of family members.  However, not before the group made off with US$1 million, which, at the time, was a significant sum of money.

The cheats were caught when the casino owner, who was romantically interested in one of the female members of the gang, started monitoring her behaviour more closely.  Feeling suspicious, he ordered security to investigate the lady in question, and the scam was uncovered.  The moral of the story is to keep a low profile and leave that attractive family member at home, so they don’t end up flirting with the casino owner.

Picture of Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Besides polishing his SEO skills, Bojan has a penchant for creative writing. With over half a decade of experience in the online gambling industry under his belt, his written take on the latest news from the Canadian and global gambling industries is an indispensable source of information for the CASINOenquirer team. Bojan’s primary goal is to ensure that players get a superior experience through the top-notch content that he shares.

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