Casino cheats have existed ever since gambling houses opened centuries ago. Cheating the house can be a lucrative venture when you’re successful.
Of course, it’s also an extremely dangerous venture when considering the legal repercussions. You’ll likely get caught and end up in jail for trying to cheat the house.
You may have no intentions of trying to pull one over on casinos and risking jail time, but you might also be curious about how the casino is so effective at busting cheaters. Here are seven reasons why the house almost always catches crooked gamblers.
1 – Employees Are Trained to Watch for Cheaters
Dealers, floor supervisors, and pit bosses are the first line of defense when it comes to casino cheaters. They’re trained to watch for any suspicious activity and call for security upon noticing anything.
Some cheating methods are easier to pick up on than others. Stealing chips and past-posting are among the easiest scams to spot.
Others, however, can be a little more difficult to catch. Card sharps, for example, sometimes mark cards with invisible ink that can only be seen with special contacts or certain lighting.
Roulette computers are another invention that helps criminals mask their cheating efforts. These devices, which measure the velocity of the roulette wheel and ball, are difficult to detect.
Employees may not be able to root out every type of cheating with the naked eye. However, they’re effective enough on their own to catch a great deal of scammers.
2 – Surveillance Is Everywhere
Modern-day casinos no longer have to rely on dealers and floor supervisors alone to spot cheats. They have the “eye in the sky” to help them out.
Casino surveillance cameras help casinos monitor every spot of gambling floors. If there are doubts about whether someone is cheating, staff members can always review the tapes.
Surveillance personnel themselves can also point out suspicious behavior. For example, they may catch a sneaky gambler past-posting when nobody at the table realizes it.
Video footage also serves useful for when a casino keeps getting hit by mysterious cheaters. Management may notice that they’re losing a significant amount of money at the craps tables.
They could review tapes over the last few weeks or even months to try and spot patterns. They might ultimately determine that somebody is dice sliding and getting away with it.
Finally, surveillance helps identify cheaters for future purposes. A casino may not catch the perpetrator immediately, but they know whom to watch for in the future.
3 – The Math Reveals All
Even with dealers, pit bosses, floor supervisors, and surveillance all watching, casinos don’t always spot cheating initially. In these cases, they can rely on math.
Outside of a few video poker variations, the casino holds the advantage in every situation. Even if someone beats them in the beginning, they typically win their money back at some point.
Cheaters, meanwhile, may go into a gambling venue and win thousands of dollars every night. They might keep beating a blackjack or roulette game on a consistent basis.
Casinos fully know that they can lose big to one or more gamblers on a specific day. However, they know that it’s extremely unlikely they’ll keep losing day after day.
For example, Patricia DeMauro once set a craps record by rolling the dice 154 straight times before sevening out. But there’s a reason why DeMauro’s run is a record rather than the norm.
Most of the time, these occurrences are due to cheating rather than extremely good luck. When the extremes happen, you can bet that casinos will try to figure out if something is amiss.
4 – Cheaters Usually Don’t Stop Until Caught
They say that criminals always return to the scene of the crime. This old saying is especially true when returning to the crime scene results in more illegitimate profits.
Cheaters are greedy, hence why they set out to rip off casinos in the first place. They may initially aim to win a set amount of money and quit before being caught.
Greed eventually gets the best of them, though. They’ll keep returning to the same casino in hopes of winning thousands of dollars in each session.
Every return trip increases the chances that the gambler will be caught. However, they may keep convincing themselves that they’ll quit at any moment.
The math and surveillance gives the gambling industry long-term weapons in its battle against cheating. They can always go back and review the statistics and footage to solve who’s hurting their bottom line.
5 – Catch One Cheater, Catch Them All
Cheaters are often most effective in groups. They can pull their bankrolls together and place larger bets to capitalize on their ill-gotten advantage.
In some cases, they even work with a dealer to beat the house. Dealer-player collusion is one of the most effective means of cheating.
Casinos have to trust their dealers to some extent. They’re allowing croupiers to handle chips when paying wins and collecting losses.
However, some employees eventually use their positions to take advantage of the situation. They can tip off colluders to hole card values, add more chips to winning bets, and use other methods to aid their partners.
Usually, though, a collusion ring is eventually busted. At this point, law enforcement gets involved and begins interviewing the suspects.
The police will start offering deals to the suspects for information. One or more will likely crack and rat out the other(s) so that they get a more favorable legal deal.
6 – Databases Document Known Cheaters
Casinos use databases to identify and catch suspected cheaters, like the black book of Vegas. If they catch somebody hiding cards in their sleeve, for instance, they can enter the gambler’s information into a database before having them arrested.
These programs allow casinos to network with each other when stamping out cheating. Gambling venues are more than happy to collaborate in this regard.
The last thing they want is for a known cheat to hit them and any other nearby casinos. With that said, any useful information on perpetrators helps the industry abroad.
Of course, databases are also useful for tracking advantage players. Card counters, for example, are only using their skill to win and aren’t breaking the law. Even still, casinos have the right to throw out APs since they’re private businesses.
7 – When in Doubt, Use the Back Room
Pit bosses and security don’t immediately have to accuse somebody of cheating. Instead, they can simply invite a suspect to the back room and have a discussion.
Back rooming carries a negative reputation, harkening back to old Vegas. Mob-run casinos would often beat up cheaters and advantage gamblers to send a message.
These days, 99.99% of back rooming ends without physical violence. Staff members instead use these situations to detain a suspect until law enforcement arrives, if necessary.
If somebody cheats, law enforcement is going to be called eventually. In some cases, though, the casino might not be able to prove anything and just want to speak with the big winner.
Catching cheaters isn’t just something that the dealer or pit boss does. Instead, it’s a casino-wide effort and even network-wide effort in some cases.
After all, a casino doesn’t typically lose to the same player over and over. They know to pay special attention to situations where a gambler keeps winning thousands of dollars.
Savvy scammers may still get away with cheating, at least for a while, anyway. But they’re very likely to be caught if they continue cheating.