The Top 20 Casino Gambling Scams of the Century (Part 1) By Willy Allison, World Gaming Protection Conference January 27, 2022 at 6:12 pm Two years ago, Bill Zender and I sat down and started going through our notes from the past 20 years on casino scams. Our goal was to compile our “Top 20” scams for a presentation at the 2020 World Game Protection Conference. A kind of retrospective of the last 20 years where we could share our findings and lessons learned with students of the games. The conference never took place. Editor’s note: The 2022 World Game Protection Conference takes place on February 15-17, 2022 at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Our criteria to make the top 20 was simple: how much money casinos lost (estimated), how creative was it, how far spread it was (geographically) and how long did it go on for. To qualify for our top 20 the scam must have beat casinos (or players) out of at least one million dollars. Exact numbers for casino scams are hard to come by and often underreported. So I took the conservative officially reported numbers and the insider whispers unofficial numbers, and rounded them off to the nearest million. How long and where the scam went on is almost impossible to ascertain exactly. The casino industry doesn’t keep or compile that sort of information. It should be noted that casino scams are often copycatted by different groups and perpetrated in areas of the world that don’t have cheating laws or in casinos that either don’t want to or are not required to report casino scams (i.e.,illegal casinos). At the end of the day, we only know what we know. In this article the 20 scams we selected are listed in no specific order (more on that later). Each scam has a brief synopsis of no more than 100 words. No names of people or casinos are mentioned, the focus is on the modus operandi. This is done in the hope that even though the list may cause debate (we hope so) the historic account of these significant scams can be used as an educational reference guide for casino managers in their quest for achieving effective game protection. Top 20 Scams – 1-10 The Baccarat False Shuffle Crooked dealers are hired by players to conduct false shuffles. During a shoe, a player writes down the order of the cards as they are placed in the discard rack. At the completion of the shoe the dealer takes the 8 decks and proceeds to shuffle. The dealer purposely keeps a clump of up to 100 cards to the side and shuffles around it, thus maintaining the sequence of cards (slug) in the same order that was previously recorded. In the next shoe the players wait until the slug appears and are able to calculate future results and bet accordingly. Casino losses: $10-$100M The Baccarat False Shuffle Camera Crooked dealers are hired by players to conduct false shuffles. During the last step of the shuffle the dealer “high riffles” approximately two decks of cards followed by a “step through” false shuffle. A woman accomplice seated at the table rests her bag on the table while the dealer shuffles. The bag contains a concealed camera that records the shuffle. She leaves the table, returns to her hotel room and plays back the video to obtain the sequence of cards. She relays this information to players back at the table who wait until the slug appears and bet accordingly. Casino losses: $10-$100M The Roulette Computer A player uses a concealed wearable computer programmed to predict what section of the wheel the ball will fall. After the dealer spins the ball the computer user inputs the speed of the ball and the wheel by clocking reference points on the wheel head. The data is input using toe taps in a shoe wired to the computer. After the calculation is made information is relayed to the player via a miniature Bluetooth earpiece communicating what section of the wheel to bet. The roulette computer gives players a 40% edge over the house. Casino losses: $1-$10M The Camera in the Auto Shuffler Using various methods to distract the dealer, players swap an unsecured portable shuffle machine from a baccarat table with the same model machine retrofitted with a micro-camera inside. The camera is positioned to be able to transmit the final sequence of the riffled cards to a retrofitted cell phone installed with software that converts the video images to a text format that reveals the order of the cards and results of all the hands for the next shoe. Casino losses: $1-$10M The Dice Sliding Teams An old scam that keeps on giving. A skilled player slides one of the two dice so that there is a fixed parameter of results that move the house edge to the player and his associates. To get by the scrutiny of the game caller and other staff at the table, other team members provide distractions and obstruction at the moment the shooter rolls the dice to ensure the illegal roll is not picked up. Casino losses: $1-$10M The Cut Card Camera A baccarat player who volunteers to cut the cards has a camera up his sleeve connected to a video storage device. In collusion, the dealer turns the 8 decks 90 degrees to the player. Before inserting the cut card, the player glides it across the top of the cards and scrapes his finger nail across the corner of the cards to reveal the indexes of a sequence of cards to the camera up his sleeve. The player leaves the table after the cut, reviews the video in a private place and relays the sequence to players at the table. Casino losses: $100M+ The Jackpot Prediction Computer A computer hacker acquires a slot machine, analyzes the (pseudo) random number generator and creates a sequence prediction program. Organized trained teams are dispersed around the world to locate the specific machine type in casinos. After locating a machine, they record or stream a portion of play with their cellphone cameras for computer analysis. After the analysis is completed the cellphone is synchronized to the time sequence of results. The cellphone sends vibration alerts to the player signaling when to push the play button. The computer guides the player to small jackpots that fly under the radar of casino managers. Casino losses: $10M-$100M The Poker Card Reading Cellphone A crooked poker dealer swaps a deck into a game with invisible (barcode-like) markings on the edges of the cards. A player in collusion with the dealer has software in his cellphone that can analyze and identify the markings via the camera. Before a game the player enters how many players are at the table into his cellphone. After the shuffle the dealer straightens the deck and places it on the table in view of the cellphone resting on the table. The software calculates who has the best ranked cards and alerts the player via a miniature earpiece. Casino losses: n/a The VIP Host with Inside Information As a precautionary measure, a casino uses a machine to check that pre-shuffled cards for baccarat (8 decks) are shuffled correctly. However, the machine exposes the entire sequence of the cards to a surveillance camera before they go to the tables. A VIP host persuades management to give him access to the casino surveillance system claiming that his high roller client requested his independent oversight. After reviewing video of the deck checker machine and recording the card sequences, the VIP host relays the “inside information” including the shoe identifier serial numbers to his high roller friend. Casino losses: $10M-$100M The Baccarat Shoe Camera Casino equipment maintenance employees rigged a number of baccarat shoes with a miniature camera and a remote-controlled device that pushed the first card up to reveal its index. At the commencement of a hand a player in collusion with the maintenance employees remotely activates the device to reveal the first card to the camera. The video is live-streamed back to the players cellphone. The player then communicates with other team players what to bet. By knowing the first card out for each round of play in baccarat the players gained an approximate edge of 7% over the house. Casino losses: $10M-100M Part 2 of this article will appear in The Flash on Tuesday, February 1.