Although it is very difficult to rig slot machines these days (since very few of them still take coins), there are still plenty of dubious characters willing to ply their shady trade at table games like blackjack, poker, craps and roulette.
Of these, roulette is the least popular among cheaters because it is much easier to prove and therefore to prosecute guilty players. But there are still some con-men who consider themselves skilled enough to take on the wheel and win. Here’s a quick look at how some people try to cheat at roulette (both online and off) and why it seldom works and really isn’t worth the risk.
The Element of Advantage
Some cheaters attempt to justify their actions by pointing out how much money casinos make out of their players. The fact is that legitimate casinos don’t hide anything from their players. When you play a game of chance, you know you aren’t guaranteed to win but, if you do, you’ll get something for nothing.
In order to make their money, casinos create a house edge on all of their games to ensure that they are able to cover their losses and remain in business. The house edge is the advantage that a casino has over players by virtue of the structure of the game. Roulette appeals to many players because of its moderate house edge.
The objective of cheaters is to unfairly influence that edge in their favour by making the game easier to predict, enabling them to make more informed wagers. In a nutshell, this means secretly eliminating the element of chance.
Everything that happens in roulette is dependent on how the reel spins and where the ball lands. In a fair game, nobody knows where that wheel is going to stop.
However, roulette cheaters sometimes try to rig the wheel to spin in a predictable manner, allowing them to forecast the outcome of every spin and place their bets accordingly. Obviously, wheel tampering is only a threat in traditional offline casinos but, even there, it is virtually impossible to pull off. Firstly, it takes an immense amount of skill, intelligence and the right equipment to accurately (and undetectably) modify a roulette wheel. Secondly, how does one access the wheel and fiddle with it without being spotted by the many cameras in the casino?
Together with the wheel, the balls in roulette determine the outcome of each spin. So some players have tried to secretly replace the standard balls with either magnetic or unevenly weighted copies. But, again, tampering with roulette balls is almost as difficult as tampering with the wheel.
A (Wo)Man on the Inside
You certainly wouldn’t be able to pull off either of these roulette cheats without the help of a casino employee – preferably the dealer. So that is what would-be cheaters do. They scout for potential partners in crime, lure them into a deal, and then often leave them to take the fall if things go pear-shaped.
The challenge is that casino employees are regularly searched and even have to show their hands to the camera between rounds to prove they aren’t carrying any illegal devices.
Because of the technology involved, it’s much trickier to cheat at any casino game online than it is in traditional casinos. Instead of physical wheels and balls, online casinos use random number generators to determine their results, making roulette as impossible to predict as video slots. For added security, online casinos use the latest anti-fraud software to detect and prosecute offenders.