Roulette’s simplicity is what makes it so popular and also what makes it such a safe bet for casinos; players can get through games very quickly and there is almost no chance that they can cheat the game either.
Each spin is random and the only betting strategy that actually works is hamstrung by bank roll limitations or maximum bet rules that the casino has put in place, so it’s a real winner for the house and a game they don’t need to worry too much about.
That hasn’t stopped people trying to cheat though, and although it isn’t possible to cheat playing online roulette which is all run by a built in random number generator, there have been a few admirable and successful attempts in the real world.
The Ritz Laser
Back in 2004 a group of three were able to cash over £1.3 million from the Ritz casino in London using the help of a laser scanner – and most amazing of all they got to keep it.
The laser was attached to a small computer inside a mobile phone which scanned the speed of the wheel and the ball before telling the group which sector the ball was most likely to land in.
It was able to do this quickly enough to allow the scammers time to place bets in this sector before the wheel had completed three spins and no more bets was called.
The group were caught and arrested on their second outing, but unbelievably it was found that they hadn’t actually done anything illegal and they were able to keep their ‘winnings’.
Of course, this sent shockwaves throughout the casino world and security was quickly improved to be able to catch scams like this much more quickly in the future.
This just means making a bet after the ball has landed, but how is it done?
There are a number of ways but it relies on sleight of hand and on the dealer being distracted and/or busy.
One method involves keeping a chip under your elbow which is resting on the table, and making sure you are sat close to the outside bets area. Then once the ball has landed – lets say on a red number – you go to make an early bet which the dealer will tell you off for, but as you apologise and pull your arm back, you leave the chip that was under your elbow on the winning colour. That chip will then be paid out.
Another method involves straight up bets.
If your number does not come up but the one next to it does, you can put money down on the table to be changed for chips, and as you pull your arm back you knock your chip onto the split line and claim 17:1 for a bet you should have lost. It’s a riskier move but on a busy table it is possible to get away with it.
Of course, the amount of cameras in a casino these days mean you will be caught if you try this over and over, and we are in no way endorsing this sort of behaviour.
Created by an ex croupier named Richard Marcus and named after his favourite Las Vegas stripper (seriously), the Savannah is another sleight of hand trick.
The player would place a high value chip underneath two low value chips but position the low value chips slightly forwards so that from the dealer’s perspective the high value chip was hidden. This would usually be at the end of the table on one of the columns paying out at 2:1.
If the bet lost the player would quickly snatch their bet away, either when the dealer was focussing elsewhere or with the use of an accomplice creating a distraction. If caught, the player would act a little under the influence, apologise, and put the chips back but without the high value chip. If not caught they would simply keep the chips and repeat the scam.
In this way, the player loses a small amount when the bet loses, but wins a huge amount when the bet wins. For example, if the high value chip was worth £1000 then at 2:1 they are getting £2000 back plus the return on the lower value chips. If the low value chips were worth £10 then even if they lost 5 times in a row they would only be down £100 before winning £2000.
Richard Marcus is estimated to have bagged more than $12 million over the years he was cheating casinos, he even wrote a book about it, but now he works for them and helps them to catch people like him.
Further Info on Roulette Cheating
Can You go to Prison for Cheating at Roulette?
Depending on how you attempt to do it, yes. If you try to use a device in order to cheat you will be more likely to get into legal trouble, the same goes for interfering with the wheel, plotting with employees, or anything of that nature.
However, if you find a way to cheat that relies only on mental prowess (and hats off to you if you do!) then the casino might kick you out and ban you, but there’s not much they can do legally.
Do Casino Bouncers Hurt People if They are Caught Cheating?
This only happens in the movies – unless you are playing at some seriously dodgy underground casino of course.
It’s most likely that if a casino suspects you of cheating they will politely ask you to leave. They might not even do that. They might let you leave of your own free will then review CCTV before calling the police. Everyone needs ID to enter a casino so they know who are.