Exclusive Content   Join Now

Casinos vigilent in quest
to stop gambling cheats

Oct 19, 2004 6:22 AM


The day they invented gambling, five seconds later someone thought up how to cheat and scam, according to Charles Guenther, director of training and development for Biometrica Systems and Gaming Detection Associates. Guenther made his observation as the panelist at a seminar entitled Table Games: Catching Cheats at the recently conducted G2E.

Guenther said he has had a hand in the arrest of three generations of casino cheaters in the same family, and some cheaters go in groups by bus from city to city and state to state. He said there are thousands of active cheaters roaming the country and that while some Las Vegas casinos are "extremely pro-active" in stopping them, others do "just the minimum."

Guenther made a number of security recommendations to casinos:

He said casinos "must have the ability to track, follow and locate both patrons and employees by way of a player’s card or an employee’s card."

In terms of the dice storage and card destruction room, casinos should have well-trained personnel who should not be rotated out of the room and the casino should have both video and audio surveillance to monitor and tape everyone who goes into and out of the room.

Casinos should report incidents to neighboring casinos, request information from other casinos and keep abreast of advantage players and other undesirables.

One of the biggest scams going on these days is false shuffles by dealers, which he said is hard to detect and stop. He said there is also a group of six dice sliders out of Detroit who have hit several Atlantic City casinos for well over $100,000. He said the cheating at cards can be stopped by the automatic shuffle machine, and in craps by speed bumps in the layout.

Guenther said slot cheaters working in teams are common these days and part of the reason is that slots "have less camera coverage than table games." He said it is not uncommon for a team of cheats to take over an entire bank of machines and play them 24 hours a day until a progressive jackpot is hit.

He estimated that 60 percent of a casino’s illegal losses can be traced to the staff as opposed to 40 percent that can be blamed on customers. "Back-of-the-house theft can be just as bad as the front-of-the-house scams (if the casinos don’t have) policies and procedures that are strictly enforced," he said. He mentioned examples of casino workers walking out the back door with entire lobsters and expensive bottles of wine. "Proactive casinos have security at the front and back," he said.

Employees are as much a worry as customers, he said, and casino workers are "much more likely to mark cards" than the guests. He said that in all the cheating schemes and con games, "one thing remains constant: the money must go somewhere, so track the money."

In another area, Guenther said the federal government may be moving toward forcing casinos to evict compulsive gamblers or risk being fined. He also said that while each state has its own law on compulsive gamblers, casinos can be sued if they send promotional material to people who have identified themselves as having that illness.