Avoiding the Appearance of Cheating

Cheating in casinos is a subject worthy of its own book because it has a long and not-so-distinguished history. But as a novice casino visitor, you need to understand some basic facts about the subject and how it affects you.

With so much money flowing, casinos are an inevitable target for cheats. But put your mind at ease because the casino virtually can’t cheat you. Gaming commissions and competition ensure fair games these days, and besides that, casinos don’t have to cheat. Probability theory guarantees them long-term profits on the games. Nevertheless, some cheating still goes on — from both sides of the table — just not in the way you may think. Casinos catch dealers cheating from time to time, but the dealers’ targets are rarely the gamblers at their tables. The few dishonest dealers try to swindle the casino by palming chips, overpaying an accomplice, or some similar technique.

You may not be able to imagine yourself cheating in any shape or form to win. But if you devote any good amount of time to gambling, chances are you’ll be confronted by temptation. A dealer may overpay you, or your slot machine may malfunction and spit out extra coins.

You may also experience casino protocols that, on the surface, seem irrelevant but are actually in place to avoid situations that can be interpreted as attempts to cheat. One example is the marking of cards. Of course, you didn’t mean anything by getting your chili-cheese-fry fingerprints on the ♥Q in the last hand. But you find that casino personnel are very unsympathetic to your tragic lack of a napkin.

Make no mistake about it: Cheating when gambling is an extremely serious offense. If a casino catches you cheating, jail time is in your cards!

Following are some efforts made by casinos to eliminate cheating among players. Some examples appear elsewhere in this chapter, but they bear repeating.

Casinos typically have the legal right to ask anyone to leave their premises at any time for any reason. If casino employees suspect a customer of cheating, they can detain the person and possibly arrest him or her.

Even though casino personnel do their very best to be polite about it, touching taboos are taken very seriously. Casinos expect neophytes to accidentally violate these rules from time to time, but repeat offenders are eventually asked to leave.

Theft is a problem that casinos take seriously even though they aren’t directly in harm’s way. Gamblers are caught snagging chips from stacks of other players every day. You’re especially vulnerable at Craps and Roulette tables because attention is so often focused away from your stack.

Casinos are also sensitive to violating interstate gaming laws, so they’re wary of cellphone use in certain areas. For example, don’t make or take calls while you’re in the race and sports book.

Casinos invest millions of dollars in security technology to protect themselves against cheaters. You can use this technology to your advantage as well. For example, if you believe a dealer made a mistake, the tape can be rolled back to see what really happened. And the lens doesn’t lie.

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