Gambling and betting on sports have always been a fertile ground for various criminal activities worldwide. It’s a well-known fact that Vegas was built as a kind of haven for notorious mob bosses and criminals. Various hardcore criminals have used casinos for money laundering, corruption or other shady business. Unfortunately little has changed up to this day.
On the other hand, gamblers have always strived to get some edge over the house and prove that the well-known rule that the house “always wins” isn’t carved in stone. They have devised an array of cheating techniques, hoping to eventually beat the house at their own game!
But as you can see, gambling and betting are not just about fun and games, and stories of incredible winnings. They also have a much darker side that we are going to tell you about in this article.
So, we’re going to present you with a list of the most notorious gambling and casino crimes!
It’s no secret that many shady characters have decided to open a casino as a cover for money laundering. Although many countries have made legislative attempts to curb this serious casino crime, there are still various methods of money laundering that are used in the gambling business.
One major money laundering case that rocked Canada occurred last year when a video clip emerged showing several individuals bringing tons of cash into a Vancouver casino. Some of them carried suitcases packed with small dollar bills, while others used hockey bags. Once they entered the casino, they exchanged the cash for playing chips.
This is only a small piece of the criminal puzzle, where several casinos in Quebec have been abused for laundering over 100 million dollars over the past ten years.
Supposedly, the entire Vancouver method was devised by Chinese criminals who wanted to practice tax evasion. They would get to Canada to “gamble,” and then the above-mentioned individuals would deliver them the money. Finally, they would transfer this money from one bank account to another bank account in China.
2. Loan Sharking
The only thing worse than becoming a gambling addict is to fall into the trap of loan sharking.
This is a hideous gambling crime that relies on some people’s weakness for gambling. Once you go broke, but you can’t make yourself step away from the casino table, these notorious criminals will offer you some gambling money with a skyrocketing payback rate attached to it.
When you finally accept this offer you’ll find yourself in a vicious circle you can’t get out of. You just keep on gambling, desperately hoping to win big to pay back your debt. So if you lose, your debt will get higher, because you’ll need more money for gambling.
There has also been some comprehensive police action in Hong Kong recently where they crushed a gang of loan sharks for illegally loaning $10 million Hong Kong dollars to casino players.
3. Corruption in Sports
This is one of the most widespread betting crimes, because people easily accept getting bribed to fix a game, a horse race or some other sports event that attracts numerous bettors.
There is one acrimonious case of fixing the World Series games between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. I.e., bookies have offered to pay 10000 dollars each to eight baseball players who agreed to deliberately lose the World Series.
Although their scam was soon discovered, and they were banned from baseball forever, their foul play caused considerable losses on one side. On the other hand, many people got their hands on loads of cash overnight.
4. Theft as a Line of Business
We have recently noticed a worrying increase of shady sports betting sites and illegal gambling sites on the market. They usually lure the naive novice bettors by offering them unrealistic odds and other bonuses.
Steer clear from these shady places, because their only aim is to rip you off! They are one of the latest additions to the dark underworld of gambling crime, and they deliberately keep players in the dark about essential license info.
The truth is, most of them don’t hold a license from any accountable body; this allows these sites to make their own rules and stick with them, instead of following better and more commonly recognized standards. The bottom line is, they can easily use match-fixing or doping as a way of stealing money from their customers.
5. Cheating Casinos
Oh, and speaking of rogue casinos — they use different scams to rip you off. Most of them are hidden in vague and unclear terms and conditions most people don’t read when they first start to gamble.
Scam gambling sites often blame players for breaching their T&C policy, so they can avoid paying them their money.
They can also mess up their bonuses with an extremely high wagering requirement, to make you leave them loads of cash before you have the chance to withdraw, and then limit your withdrawal to some ridiculous amount.
If you want to avoid falling prey to all these casino crimes, you should do thorough research before you decide to give any money to online gambling or sports betting site.
6. Doping Related to Match Fixing
The problem of using illegal substances to improve the team or athlete’s performance has been recognized by the authorities a long time ago. Numerous international organizations, as well as national sports associations, have led countless fierce battles against doping in sports. However, doping is going to stay entrenched in different sports because the ties between doping and match-fixing are intricate and unbreakable.
One of the most publicized doping affairs related to Lance Armstrong and his Tour de France trophies. The evidence pointed to illegal substance abuse in all the Tour de France races he had won. This doping scandal completely devastated Armstrong’s reputation, turning him from a sports hero to “persona non grata” in the sports world.
Now that we’ve combed through various methods of gambling and crime related to casinos let’s focus on another problem: cheating!
Different Cheating Techniques Gamblers Use
We are going to try and figure out various cheating methods gamblers use to make sure that they can take home loads of cash.
We have to say, people have been extremely inventive in devising various strategies to drain money out of the casino, and we’re only going to discuss the most familiar ones.
7. A Card Counting System for Blackjack
Counting cards system — the brainchild of a famous mathematician — is a playing strategy that works best at the Blackjack table. And the reason for this is simple. Some cards go in favor of the player, and others don’t. By giving them different marks as each card leaves the shoe, players would be able to get some edge over the house as the game comes to an end and then finally win big.
Card counting became a widely popular gambling strategy after a film was made about the MIT students crew that broke the bank of Las Vegas casino by applying it to their games.
Although card counting is a legitimate way to win money gambling, numerous casino operators frown upon it and treat this complex strategy as a kind of cheating.
8. Edge-Sorting as a Way to Cheat at Poker Tables
Edge-sorting is a cheating technique experienced gamblers use to clear the huge pots to be found in various card games. Here they use some subtle flaws on the back of playing cards as a way of recognizing them so that they can manage to predict the hand and bet accordingly, and bet accordingly.
There is an infamous story about Phil Ivey who used this cheating technique to swipe a couple of millions off a Baccarat table. But the casino saw through it and refused him his payout. He also had to go to court for this criminal gambling activity.
9. Hacking Slot Machines to Grab Huge Jackpots
This might sound like mission impossible to laymen, but it worked for a group of Russian hackers pretty well! These crafty Russians used their programming knowledge and skills to break into the slot machine software and try to predict when the jackpot combination of symbols is going to hit the reels.
First, they bought an original slot machine. Then, they took their time and meticulously studied the RNG system until they managed to crack it.
Then the real action began. One of these wise guys went to Vegas and started playing the slot. He started with small stakes and then raised his bet considerably for a couple of spins.
The whole time he was doing this, he was sending screenshots of winning combinations to his partners in crime in Russia. After conducting a thorough analysis, the Russian team would inform the player when to play big, so he could hit the jackpot combination. Their gambling crime stayed undetected for a couple of weeks and brought them an incredible amount of money.
But appealing this whole scam seems, you should never try to rig the digitalized slot machines unless you’re prepared to endure a lengthy prison sentence.
10. Light Wand that Puzzles Slot Machines
Over the long history of gambling, cheating methods and devices were devised to bring scammers loads of money. Prominent people who tried to trick the slot machines seem to stand out, with their highly imaginative ways of cheating. In the old days, they “shaved” coins, or robbed the slots with the help of a “monkey paw.”
As technology advanced, and modern slot machines started running on RNG software, not many people have tried to break the programming codes. But a serious scandal shook the entire gambling community when it came to light that one of the Gaming Commission engineers in Nevada abused his privilege of knowing the source codes of slot machines. He used these codes for years to gain cash from various slot machines.
Light Wand is another cheating device used at slot machines. The inventor of this cheating device targeted at the optic sensors every slot has. The wand serves to confuse the slot optical sensor so that the machine doesn’t recognize the number of coins that are being placed as bets. In this way, the machine couldn’t determine the correct payout amount; so it could easily pay a huge jackpot instead of small winnings.
After having named and discussed all these gambling and betting crimes, we have to reluctantly admit that casinos and crime often go hand in hand.
We can only hope that the authorities will create some gambling laws to fight these criminal acts more effectively. Illegal betting, alongside the plague of scam casinos, drives away those who want to try various kinds of gambling activities. These people end up feeling unable to trust gambling establishments, because of all the criminal activities related to this highly lucrative business.