How Do Casinos Catch Cheaters?

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BetMGM Jul 26, 2022, 11:52 AM

For most people, playing online casino games is a fun way to pass the time, but for some, it’s an opportunity to make a lot of money without having to work too hard. Unfortunately, people with this mentality often end up developing irresponsible gambling habits and playing casino games beyond what they can afford. In an attempt to make their money back or to ‘get rich quick,’ they might even feel tempted to cheat.

The reality is that all casinos are equipped to spot and stop cheaters in the act, and they do this in various ways. Read on to discover how casinos catch cheaters and the implications for anyone caught trying to do anything underhanded.

Cheating at a casino

There are many ways people have tried to cheat at casinos in the past, but it’s important to remember that some practices are simply frowned upon and considered poor casino etiquette. Advantage play techniques, like card counting, often seen in casino table games such as blackjack, are not necessarily considered cheating. But they could still get a player thrown out of a casino pretty quickly if anyone catches them employing the practice.

Many other gambling approaches exist that are downright deceptive or are simply obvious ways of cheating the system for financial gain. In certain states, such as Nevada, cheating in a casino is considered a felony that could put someone behind bars. In many other states, casino cheating is handled by the relevant gambling authority with varying ‘sentences’ based on the severity of the cheating and the evidence surrounding it.

Examples of casino cheating include past posting, using cheating devices at the table and collusion. Past posting is commonly seen when playing casino table games like poker and roulette. It happens when a player quickly swaps lower value chips for higher value chips after a win.

Cheaters use many different devices when they play casino games. For example, some devious gamblers use ‘holdout’ devices that hold onto a specific card for use at a later, more opportune time to strengthen the player’s hand.

Finally, there’s collusion, which is when two players have developed a secret ‘language’ to signal to one another which cards they’re holding to try to boost either person’s chances of winning more hands. They then usually split the profits when the game comes to an end. Collusion is a cheating approach used at poker tables both online and at land-based casinos. 

How is cheating detected?

Advancements in technology have helped casinos move into the digital age with the invention of the smartphone, but they’ve also made scoping out cheating at casinos infinitely easier. Nowadays, all casinos rely on security cameras to spot cheaters. Some even use facial recognition software to identify possible collusion and other common cheating tactics and behaviors.

Casino owners keep a close eye on their numbers. They will delve deeper into surveillance footage if they notice that they’re losing more money than usual in a particular game or that there’s a pattern to these losses. This strategy won’t necessarily single out a cheater, but it’s a great start to help the casino owners get closer to pinpointing the problem. It’s especially effective if the cheater in question gets greedy and keeps returning to pull the same tricks. 

Finally, some upmarket casinos use radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to ‘follow’ the money. This technology is embedded in the playing chips to make it possible to keep track of their movement, gamblers’ betting habits and gamblers’ unique win patterns. Ultimately, this increases the chances of catching both cheaters and advantage gamblers in the long run.

Online casinos and identifying cheaters

Obviously, there’s no such thing as surveillance cameras when playing casino games online. However, what digital casinos have working in their favor is data. Data analysis makes it easy to scope out suspicious patterns and unsavory gambling behavior. Of course, virtual casino owners are also constantly patching security breaches, improving their software and working to be one step ahead of anyone attempting to get the better of their systems!

What to do if you suspect someone is cheating

When you become an experienced player, an opponent who’s employing cheating tactics will likely stand out to you. But you need to handle the situation correctly. It’s rarely a good idea to accuse someone of cheating in the moment and in front of everyone. If you’re mistaken, and the person wasn’t being dishonest, you’re not going to be very popular! Plus, you could offend the person to the point of aggressive retaliation (regardless of whether you were right to be suspicious or not.)

Here’s what you should do instead. If you’re playing at a land-based casino, alert the relevant authorities on the casino floor, away from the table. Security personnel will investigate the incident and take things from there.

If playing in an online casino, your best bet is to get in touch with the site using the details provided. Remember to take note of the potential cheater’s username, the game you’re playing and the date and time you believe the cheating occurred.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.