In January, at the newly opened $4-billion Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas, a gang called the Cutters cheated at baccarat. Before play began, the dealer offered one member of the group a stack of eight decks of cards for a pre-game cut. The player probably rubbed the stack for good luck, at the same instant riffling some of the corners of the cards underneath with his index finger. A small camera, hidden under his forearm, recorded the order.
After a few hands, the cutter left the floor and entered a bathroom stall, where he most likely passed the camera to a confederate in an adjoining stall. The runner carried the camera to a gaming analyst in a nearby hotel room, where the analyst transferred the video to a computer, watching it in slow motion to determine the order of the cards. Not quite half an hour had passed since the cut. Baccarat play averages less than six cards a minute, so there were still at least 160 cards left to play through. Back at the table, other members of the gang were delaying the action, glancing at their cellphones and waiting for the analyst to send them the card order.
The gang had just walked away from Macau, the largest gambling city on Earth, with millions. They took $100,000 from the Bicycle casino in Los Angeles only weeks after the Las Vegas run. The Cutters' scam did not require marking or switching cards, so casinos' card scans and tracking software was irrelevant. Security consultants say that the gang numbers about 70. (With so many players, facial analytic software is easy to beat.)
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At the Cosmopolitan, about 25 black-domed surveillance cameras hang from the ceiling above the high-stakes baccarat tables. Camera feeds, card scans, information about individual betting chips, and even biometrics about players are fed to a security suite at most new casinos, where software analyzes the data to determine betting outcomes in real time. a Cosmopolitan security official hovered a few feet behind the players, too, tracking wins, losses and betting patterns to identify cheats like the Cutters. Jeff Voyles, a hotel management instructor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, says that a new casino will spend at least $10 million on its surveillance.
Even so, casinos lose 6 to 8 percent of their revenue every year to some form of cheating, and sophisticated hustlers can take as much as $500,000 in just an hour. As cameras get better, smaller and cheaper, the cheaters are gaining an edge and casinos are struggling to keep up. "We're really buried in tech and don't know how to get out," Voyles says, adding that because security systems don't generate income, casinos are slow to update.
In May, some of the Cutters were finally caught. A casino surveillance manager in the Philippines spotted a "spatula like" camera hidden up a baccarat player's sleeve and he identified four more likely gang members nearby. meanwhile, casinos are considering installing counter-surveillance scanners that detect the low-frequency sound that video cameras emit.
Not four miles from the Cosmopolitan, you can buy such a scanner for $720 from Fox's Spy Outlet. Manager Andrew Rowles will tell you that it has a range of only a few feet, and it might be picking up a cellphone, not a video camera. Rowles can also sell you a camera to beat the scanner. It's hidden in a stick of gum and costs just $150.
Its hard to have any sympathy for the casino in these cases, as the casino is already "cheating" at virtually every game. Not to mention that if you DO happen to be lucky enough to win a few times, they can "ask" that you leave the Casino and ban you from the premises.
Show me a Casino running a "fair" game with even odds, and I'll show you a bankrupt Casino.
Those who own and control the game win, it’s the rules, statistically. If it becomes legal, law or politically ok does not give the average player any advantage, they all loose. The customer on average still LOSES! The game never changes, only who receives the profits.
So it's cheating when a casino offers a game with known odds and dealer decisions, and plays fairly?
Must be heartbreaking to live every day as a helpless victim.
Do not play their game and you choose not to be their victim. Choice, knowing you own future; taking charge of your own future; working and to make your own future happen.
yeah, casinos are legalized gangsters. same as for tobacco companies selling death to people legally.
Given the sums they take in, $10 million for a new casino for surveillance doesn't seem like so much money.
Is it really so asinine?
Yes the odds are "known" but most of the general public has no idea what odds or ratios really mean. If you ask a player why he made a gambling decision you'll often hear the answer "it was 50/50". For the general gambler, there is an illusion of the possibility that they can win yet the more they play, the more they lose. I'm not even talking about the huge percentage of the casino's "bread and butter" that have actual chemical imbalances that keep them from ever quitting.
Whether or not there are "known odds", casinos prey on the ignorant and bend the rules in their favor as much as they can to squeeze every ounce of mathematical edge out of every situation.
Personally, if I were the casino I would do just that and more, but sympathizing with them when they get cheated is "asinine."
The games in the casinos are designed for the house to have an edge. This is not cheating, it is the way all those flashing lights and fancy decors are paid for including the upkeep. No gaming property will risk its license by deviating from established odds approved by the gaming authority in its state. Most folks go to a place like Las Vegas for the food, the sights, the shows, and taking a chance with the machines or table games. Anyone who goes to a casino with the sole purpose of winning money usually goes away disappointed.