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New Shark Trap (get it?) shufflers to help casinos add efficiency, eradicate cheaters

By Nick Sortal, CDC Gaming Reports

A new high-tech shuffling machine called Shark Trap System is set to hit the market next year, company officials announced last week. The product promises to increase productivity, reduce card costs, and attain unprecedented levels of game protection.

The platform features a network of super shufflers that can detect marked cards, asymmetries, normal wear and tear, and more, all in real time. But it does so invisibly, which eliminates the need for human intervention — or the need to disrupt the games.

“Based on our research, both here and abroad, card marking scams and strategies that target design asymmetries continue to be a security risk, and it’s a much bigger problem than what has been reported,” Shark Trap president Lou DeGregorio said. “Cheaters have more access to sophisticated cheating equipment than ever before, from online sources all over the world, and today’s advantage players are more dangerous than their predecessors, making these threats difficult to detect until long after the damage is done.”

Shark Trap Gaming & Security Systems LLC originally collaborated with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Department of Mechanical Engineering to design and build the early prototypes.

DeGregorio said the company will begin filling orders in late 2017, with installation set for early 2018.

To understand what was necessary to combat card cheaters, Shark Trap did a deep dive into how player sophistication has evolved in the world of cheating, interviewing dozens of casino executives and game-protection experts. (They plan to eventually release a study.)

The company had access to the largest collection of marked cards known to exist, consisting of approximately 3,000 decks with over 500 different marking systems players use to gain an edge.

Company officials say such granular research was necessary to formulate the “comprehensive, analytical strategy and synergy of sophisticated algorithms” that Shark Trap is built upon. Doing so ensures that the Shark Trap system can differentiate between a systematic attempt to cheat and your everyday nick or scratch that playing cards naturally experience.

Shark Trap officials also hope their brand eventually works as a deterrent.

“When the word gets out about this platform’s technical sophistication, scientific capability, and amazing analytical prowess—and it will, purposely, via websites, lectures, consultants, and conferences—the mere presence of the platform’s logo on shufflers will stop any cheater or advantage player dead in his or her tracks if the intention is to exploit the playing card,” DeGregorio added.