21 May

How to Protect Yourself Against Cheating in a Casino

How to Protect Yourself Against Cheating in a CasinoCasino games and cheating are two topics that go hand in hand. Casinos take every conceivable precaution to ensure players can’t cheat their way to victory, installing state of the art security equipment and employing extra personnel just to expand their eyes on the crowd. But what can players do to ensure they aren’t cheated at the casino?

How To Avoid Casino Cheats and Scams

Today’s land-based casinos are legally bound to adhere to strict regulatory guidelines, including rigorous player protections and game fairness certification. But what if a casino isn’t following these rules? The following supposition teaches you how to recognize a cheating casino, and what you can do about it, as well how to avoid common con artist scams.

Understanding ‘Fairness’ in Casino Games

By far the largest complaint I hear from casino goers is that the games aren’t fair. ‘The slots are rigged’, or ‘the blackjack deck is stacked’, or ‘the video poker machines never give me the card I need’. ‘They must be cheating!’ What most fail to understand is that they aren’t meant to win in the first place.

Every casino game has an edge. The house edge is determined by the rules. You don’t go into any casino game with a 50/50 shot of winning. Players are meant to win some of the time, but lose more of the time. That’s how casinos make their money. So if you’re losing more often than winning, that’s normal.

Also don’t get upset if your results don’t match the game’s theoretical return to player, or RTP. Just because a slot machine says it pays back 95%, does not mean you’re going to get 95% of all your wagers back. It means that, theoretically, the machine will pay back 95% of all the money it takes in (i.e. the casino wins 5% of all bets on the game). Yes, those RTPs are incredibly accurate, but only over the long term.

By long term, we’re talking about 20-25 years long term. If every machine paid its RTP in the short term, there would be no winners. It’s the variance of wins and losses in between that allow some players to win more than 95% back – in some cases, a lot more, including massive jackpots. At the same time, other players have to lose far more than 95% to cover those winners.

If you believe this is unfair, you might want to steer clear of casinos. All games work this way. Some have higher or lower RTPs, but as far as fair goes – the casino winning more than the players is considered fair.

Being a responsible gambler means you understand the rules, the odds, and the house edge, and are willing to take a chance anyway. That being said, not every casino is to be trusted.

Learn How to Spot a Cheating Casino

Casinos are bound by regulatory sanctions that require them to keep the games fair. Most casinos abide by these laws. But just as in any society, there are going to be a few rogues out there that don’t follow the letter of the law.

Spotting a cheat isn’t easy, but you can avoid the need to look by taking a few extra precautions. First of all, machine-based games are safer than those that are subject to human error. Yes, it is possible to change the RTP on a slot machine, but there’s no magic button for it. Plus, those games and their payouts are audited monthly by government authorities. If the results look suspicious, an investigation ensues, and the casino could lose its license.

Table games, especially blackjack, are much easier to cheat at. The RTP in a blackjack game might be 99.5% with perfect strategy, but most players don’t use perfect strategy, therefore the actual RTP can fluctuate largely; so much so that a regulatory body might not get suspicious if there are more losers than usual.

Duplicitous casinos aren’t just stacking decks, though. They’re hiring dealers who are trained in deck manipulation, and paying out bonuses to those who rake in more chips at their tables. For a speedy dealer, it’s not hard to slip the top card up and deal the second card instead, without being detected by the average player. You really have to watch for it to catch it, and even then, it’s difficult to prove.

How to Report a Casino for Cheating

If you suspect a dealer is cheating, don’t over-react. Take a few extra moments to observe their actions. Don’t be conspicuous about it either. Once you’re certain that it’s happening, don’t make a scene. After all, discretion is the better part of valor.

Find a manager or go to the player’s club desk and lodge a formal complaint. Ask them to review the camera footage. If they refuse, or if they claim to have watched it and found nothing, then you can take your complaint up with the regulatory authorities that oversee the casino. They can force the operator to show them the surveillance footage.

Above all, keep your cool, and be at least 90% certain that you’re right before complaining.

See also: How to Report an Online Casino for Fraud

Watch Out for Casino Scam Artists

People are far more likely to scam another person than a casino is. Remember, the casinos are guaranteed to profit from their house edge. They don’t have to cheat to get your money. Con artists, on the other hand, are a far more serious problem at casinos.

The most common thieves are easy to spot. Guys especially (but ladies too) are constantly getting scammed by sexy con artists who pretend to flirt, then steal their cash or chips. They especially target people wearing wedding rings, because they’re the least likely to file a report. If someone flirts with you at the casino, keep your guard up.

Loan sharks should always be avoided. Never borrow money from someone you don’t know. In fact, never borrow money to gamble with at all. But loan sharks are clever brutes, and they always get their money back, with interest; maybe a lot more interest than you bargained for.

The worst casino scams are the ones where you think you’re in on the con, when in reality, you’re the target. Imagine this…

You’re brought in on a collusion scam at a poker table. Three players are in on it, three or more are not. You’re convinced it’s fool proof by this group of experienced cons. At the table, one cohort signals that the leader has a made hand, meaning you should bet all your chips to build the pot. You do so, the scam leader wins the pot, and all is going perfectly to plan. Next thing you know, two big burly security types instruct the leader to leave the table and follow them. Uh-oh! Your cohort signals for you to get out of the game immediately, so you bow out.

Back at the hotel room, you’re told by your group to lay low. Just then, one gets a phone call – the leader has been arrested! All the money (including yours) was confiscated. You’re told to skip town, and fast. At this point, you’re so happy that you’re not in jail, you forget all about the money you lost at the table. That wasn’t a blown scam at all. It went off without a hitch – for everyone else involved.

Long story short – don’t trust anyone you don’t know at the casino, and don’t bother trying to cheat anyone else. Karma can have one nasty bite!


  • Adalene Lucas

    is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.

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