Showing posts with label Vegas Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegas Vacation. Show all posts

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The House Always Wins How Vegas Weeds Out the Cheaters

Assuming that everyone would like to win big at Vegas (for those who wouldn’t want to walk out of a luxurious casino laden with cash can be considered an outlier), there seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who see themselves as a member of Danny Ocean’s Ocean’s 13 crew, who “liberates” the money from those who either don’t deserve it or who misuse it, or those who consider themselves the luckiest person on earth; someone whose number was just called for a dose of cosmic justice. 

Needless to say that the powers that be in Las Vegas prefer the latter group of people, who make a once-in-a-lifetime memory and leave the casino with a heart full of joy and ready to book next year’s return vacation. 

Those in the former category, the “criminal masterminds” who stroll up to the table﹘sometimes with a nearby accomplice in tow﹘and begin to execute on a plan to take the money and run like some sort of modern-day Butch Cassidy, is not particularly well-liked in Vegas.

In fact, when it comes to defending the structure of Vegas gaming as a whole, these would-be outlaws are considered less like folky ne’er-do-wells and more like enemies of The State. 

Nevada has ratified some very strict language on how cheaters are to be dealt with, and the casinos themselves keep a watchful eye on as much of the proceedings on the floor as possible. 

For all intents and purposes, it’s fair to say that Vegas has declared war on all the “Danny Oceans” who roll into town, and they’ve beefed up their security to prove it.

Law and Order

Of course, there will always be the people who justify criminal actions by saying “but the House always wins! That means the owners are cheating us!” 

While that would certainly be an earth-shattering argument with major repercussions if proved, the fact of the matter is that Vegas owners don’t have to cheat. 

By running the game and setting the rules, all the casino has to do is sit back and let probability work in its favor. 

Because the default result for any losing hand or busted spin is to leave the money on the table, the casino has no incentive to risk losing its gaming license.

And lose it they would, should their cheating be found out. According to Nevada gaming regulations:

  • Anyone can be a cheater: “It is unlawful for any person, whether the person is an owner or employee of or a player in an establishment, to cheat at any gambling game.” (NRS 465.083)
  • Cheating can include failure: While merely thinking about cheating isn’t considered a crime, an “overt act” toward committing the crime﹘even if it falls short of completion﹘is considered liable for prosecution (NRS 193.330)
  • Conspirators are criminals too: Very rarely are crimes conceived in a vacuum, with no help from the outside. Any group of two or more people who make an agreement to violate the law are criminals. This includes those who aren’t even at the casino when the attempted crime occurs. (NRS 199.480)
  • Counting cards provides a strange loophole: According to the strict definition of the law, counting cards﹘that is, keeping track of the cards that are dealt by making a note of them in your head﹘is not illegal because it’s a mental skill; there’s no conspirator or apparatus involved to cheat the system. However, if a casino suspects someone of counting cards, they have the right to deny service and that person may be blacklisted from entering again. If they do, the casino can charge them with trespassing and throw them in jail. (NRS 207.200)

To Catch a Thief

Casinos market themselves as luxurious getaways that provide endless amounts of fun with a wide variety of games. It is very much in the interest of the establishment not to bring down the mood on the floor, or else people will start to associate negatively with the casino. In order to maintain the air of good feeling among the players but still keep an eye out for criminal actions, the casino keeps the anti-cheating security expansive, but well concealed.

When it comes to detecting cheaters, casinos work in layers, making sure there are redundancies all over the floor so that nothing goes unnoticed or unreported. These measures include:

  • Video surveillance: A given, but an essential tool nonetheless. While security cameras are able to inform security guards of wrongdoing as it happens, the video record they provide to a court of law is the true fulfillment of their potential.
  • Casino staff: The cheating “first responders” will always be those who work the tables and who wander the floor. These individuals have been specifically trained to spot suspicious activity, and will inform security to keep you zeroed in while you are playing.
  • Mathematical algorithms: The performance of every table is being monitored to ensure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. This is determined by the use of statistical mathematics that tracks how likely the win streak of a player is. Anything that consistently falls outside of the realm of the believable is put under harsher scrutiny.

Visiting a hotel and casino is one of the best vacations out there, and gaming institutions strive to make sure that everything remains fun for everyone involved. When considering “extracurricular efforts” to walk away a winner, it’s best to remember the anti-smoking ads of the late ‘90s, which proclaimed that “the best way to quit is never to start.” 

Never bet more than you can lose, avoid using the ATMs, and have fun. Then come back next year and repeat.

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