I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

How Casinos Cheat

Many of you may have read James Grosjean's blog posts entitled How Casinos Cheat. If not you can find his excellent blog here, Beyond Numbers. I very much agree with JG that the danger of being cheated by a casino is not them dealing you seconds, or hitting you with a cooler. They have a much bolder, and more effective way of cheating. If you lose, too bad. If you win, they just refuse to pay.

Recently I was told one of the most egregious cases I have ever heard of. The Playboy Club in London stole the money of two players for counting cards. The two players played in the casino for 3 or 4 nights, and left their money on deposit with the casino. On the last night they went to withdraw their money, and the casino told them they would not give them their deposit money back because they had been counting cards, and card counting was against the rules of their club. The money stolen was over £30,000 or approximately $50,000. They weren't accused of cheating, just counting cards. I know nothing of British law, but I can only infer that there has never been a court case testing the legality of counting. Now maybe they know they will lose the case, but want to harass people from another country who will have to fight a court battle from overseas. Or maybe they were emboldened by the awful decision in the Phil Ivey case.

I grew up reading stories of the old "road gamblers". Doyle Brunson told me, "First we had to win the money, then we had to collect the money, and then we had to get out of town with the money." Between the casinos stealing from players, and then the police and their asset forfeitures, I can't say much has changed.

Did I mention that the Playboy Club is owned by Caesars Entertainment? Stay classy Mr. Loveman.


David Spence said...

It's been pointed out many times before, but what makes this so appealing for the casino is that it's basically a free roll for them. Even if they're found to be in the wrong, the casinos generally just have to give the money back (and not always all of it!). Imagine if the punishment for bank robbery was, "OK, we got you. Just give us the money back and we'll call it square. But keep a little for your trouble."

It seems fair that, if a casino is found to be in the wrong in these situations, they not only have to return the money, but also pay a penalty to the victim equal to the amount the casino attempted to steal. I'm sure this isn't a perfect solution, but it would at least discourage what is now a nearly risk-free scam.

ZenMaster_Flash said...

I had the same experience in two (2) casinos in London, including the Playboy Club.

While there is an actual law in place that prevents casinos from sharing information on Card Counters, I discovered that that is a law that may be ignored.