There are different types of fraud when it comes to gambling, and they mostly depend on whether they occurred at a live casino or online. However, regardless of their type, they are all illegal.
Fraud in Live Casinos
In brick and mortar gaming establishments, fraud can happen against either a player or casino. These days, fraud against players is less common, as there are independent inspectors that examine casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere to make sure that players have a fair chance of winning.
These inspectors examine slot machines and table games in order to ensure that they are not rigged in favor of the casino; aside from the standard house edge, of course. Slot machines must not be tampered with, and inspectors make sure that the random number generator is not altered to prevent players from winning big.
This helps ensure that gambling in land-based casinos is safe and fair. Aside from inspections, there are a few other reasons why brick-and-mortar casinos refrain from even thinking about swindling their players.
Why Land-Based Casinos Don’t Defraud Their Players
First, there’s really no need to. Typically, most games in land-based gambling venues have a much lower RTP than those at online casinos. There are rules and regulations casinos in gambling meccas must abide by, but it’s not uncommon to find a slot with an RTP as low as 75% in Vegas.
As much as online gambling has flourished in the past decade, it’s still incomparable to playing under Sin City’s neon lights. Due to their popularity, real-world casinos can afford to have a lower RTP; they have more than enough players as it is.
The situation is slightly different in the online gambling industry. Every player is invaluable, and the competition is fierce, so some casinos feature slots with an RTP of up to 99%. However, gambling online is a much riskier affair, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Another reason why land-based casinos wouldn’t cheat their players is reputation. It’s fairly easy to build an online gambling site. However, you can imagine how much time, money, and effort goes into building a brick & mortar casino.
It literally takes years for a casino to earn back the money invested into its development. So they can’t afford to risk staining their reputation by defrauding the players. Once they’re labeled as a cheating casino, there’s no turning back. Nobody would ever gamble in an establishment that’s known for rigging their games or refusing to pay.
However, that’s not to say that fraud in land-based casinos is impossible. If you feel you have been defrauded by a casino, whether through a table game or slots, you can contact the better business bureau or the Federal Trade Commission in order to launch an investigation.
Fraud Against Live Casinos
A much more common type of fraud that occurs in live casinos is against the casinos themselves. From counting cards to using devices that send signals that predict or tamper with the results of games, players have always tried to cheat their way to victory. There have been many instances of all of these, and casinos are now on the lookout for them.
For example, counting cards is an old trick that relies on math, and casino security constantly keeps an eye out for it. There were also people who tried to use laser scanning devices to predict the decay rate of roulette wheels in order to gamble more effectively. Naturally, this and similar gimmicks are all illegal. If they catch you, you’ll be permanently banned from the casino, in the best-case scenario.
Gambling is all about taking risks; any advantage for either the house or the player other than the usual house edge removes that risk for one side or the other. While a good defense attorney can help with charges of gambling fraud, it is best to refrain from any such tricks and play by the rules.
Some gamblers simply can’t make peace with the randomness of the games. However, if you prefer to rely on your own skill rather than pure luck, cheating isn’t the answer. Instead, you should give games of skill, like poker, a chance. Poker can be extremely rewarding if you become proficient enough at its strategy and is a much better option if you are more keen on lower-risk games.
Online Gambling Fraud
Online gambling fraud is a little different due to the very nature of the online environment. The anonymity of the internet and the way in which online gambling is structured and regulated leaves plenty of room for both sides to employ a wide variety of underhanded tactics. Unsurprisingly, both players and online casinos want to protect themselves.
Fraud Against Online Casinos
There are quite a few ways in which players attempted to defraud online casinos. The most common transgressions involve bonus abuse, multi-accounting, and retroactive refunds.
Bonuses have become a must for online casinos. With literally thousands of online casinos out there, gambling sites have to provide this type of incentive to attract new players and keep their existing clientele. Players know this, and some go as far as creating accounts at various sites and playing solely with the free bonuses casinos offer.
That’s why wagering requirements and payout limitations exist. Online casinos need to safeguard against bonus abuse. It’s not that they’re reluctant to hand out the bonuses. They merely want to make sure that you’ll keep playing at their establishment once you’re done gambling with the bonus money.
Some casinos were too generous, so to speak, with their welcome offers. After being taken advantage of by bonus hunters, they took a sharp turn and are now too strict with their bonus terms & conditions.
The story’s quite similar with multi-accounting and similar offenses. Nowadays, casinos try to define every possible scenario in their Terms to try and avoid these mishaps. And for a good reason to — if they didn’t, what would stop players from creating an infinite amount of emails, registering a dozen accounts, and practically playing for free?
Why would you ever make a deposit if you didn’t have to gamble with your own money? Still, this is easily resolved; all it takes is for the casino to check the players’ IP addresses. This is done to ensure their players aren’t bots and that they’re only using a single account. It’s an easy way for online casinos to ensure they are not being taken advantage of and no fraud is being committed.
Rogue Online Casinos
When it comes to online fraud, it’s not only that the players are abusing the “poor” casinos. The way in which rogue online casinos behave towards players is much worse. There are quite a few ways in which online casinos execute the frauds, but they all come down to the same thing — scamming players out of their legitimate winnings.
Some casinos are blatantly rogue. In other words, they’re not even trying to hide the fact that they’re fraudsters. For instance, they may simply take your money and never credit your account. The less extreme version would be crediting less than you deposited.
Others are a bit more “tactful” and are making up all kinds of excuses for not paying out. From stalling the withdrawal process to citing vague/predatory terms, they are trying to justify their rogue behavior. However, there is no legitimate reason for not paying out someone’s winnings for over a month.
It’s not uncommon for these rogue pits to simply wipe players’ entire balances or lock them out of their accounts, which is effectively the same thing. However, although these types of scams are much easier to pull off online than in land-based casinos, they aren’t easy to hide.
There are dozens of websites dedicated to uncovering online gambling frauds. Moreover, players will post comments on forums and watchdog portals, sharing their experiences and warning others against playing at rogue casinos.
The bottom line is, you should always do your research before depositing and playing at an online casino. If there are any issues with withdrawals, casino’s bonuses, their attitude towards players, or customer support, you can be sure that the casino is up to no good.
Even if you believe that something’s iffy but can’t put your finger on it, you’re better off playing elsewhere.
Protecting Yourself Against Online Gambling Fraud
In conclusion, the best way to avoid gambling fraud is to play by the rules and look for reputable establishments. When playing online, always play on sites licensed by prominent regulatory bodies, like MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) or Gibraltar, for example.
Also, scour the web and find several reviews of the casino that caught your eye. See what other players have to say about their experience there and whether the online gambling community deems the casino trustworthy. It takes a bit of time, but it’s always best to be absolutely certain that you will receive your winnings and that the casino’s management won’t try to scam you or trick you in any way.
Also, don’t be tempted to try and cheat at online casinos. These gaming establishments also have legal recourse against cheaters, as well as top-notch security measures that will catch most fraud attempts.
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on the severity of the violation. If the security in a brick and mortar casino catches you counting cards, they’ll probably just ask you to leave the establishment. They’ll likely ban you from visiting the casino as well. However, if you tamper with the machines, use loaded dice, are colluding with the dealer, or something similar, you might be criminally charged. Plenty of cheaters were incarcerated, so we would strongly advise against trying to make money this way.
At online casinos, the repercussions are a bit milder. Still, you’d definitely get banned from the casino and potentially other online gaming establishments as well. Naturally, they would confiscate all your winnings. If you commit a serious offense, the casino’s management might even decide to get lawyers involved and take the case to court.
Yes. Gambling in land-based casinos is regulated under the laws of the state the establishment is in. However, players need to abide by the same rules and regulations too. Cheating your way to victory equals stealing another person’s property, and you will be held responsible for your actions under the governing law.
There are dozens of different ways to cheat in a casino. We mentioned a few in this article: counting cards, using special devices to tamper with the machines, multi-accounting online, etc.
People have gotten very inventive in the past decade when it comes to figuring out how to cheat a casino. However, sooner or later, the vast majority of them gets caught. Nowadays, casino security (both offline and online) is tight. They will monitor and review your play sessions to ensure that you were playing by the rules and didn’t resort to underhanded tactics to boost your luck.
Not really, no. Some rogue online casinos feature games that are rigged to have an abnormally low RTP. However, to say that all casinos cheat with slots is just paranoid. All slots have a house edge, which can range from 1%–25%. There’s really no need for casinos to scam the players with slots; they earn them enough money as it is.