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Casino Rogues Have Beaten the Odds
They troll casino floors in the wee hours of
the morning, using homemade devices to fool slot machines into dumping
out more coins. They dupe card dealers with distractions honed over
decades. At baccarat, they daub face cards with Vaseline and, at
blackjack, peek at cards coming out of the "shoe."
They even steal coin cups from elderly women playing the slots.
Atlantic City’s hard-core cheaters never give up.
Banned by casinos, arrested and jailed, they keep coming back to the
seaside gambling mecca, lured like millions of others by the promise of
Legendary slot cheat Tommy Carmichael says he used to make $1,000 an
hour at the one-armed bandits.
"The intent was not to hurt someone," says Carmichael, who rigged
cheating devices in his Oklahoma television repair shop. "I wasn’t
hijacking somebody at the family store. It was always directed at the
Carmichael, 53, went into forced retirement after a prison stretch a
few years back ended his two-decade career as a slot cheat. Plenty of
successors have filled the void.
"I think every day people are out there trying to cheat, either a
patron or an employee," says Rich Williamson, a 24-year veteran of the
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement who specializes in catching
More than two dozen people are arrested for cheating at slots every
year, the most for any single casino game, according to New Jersey crime
statistics. Atlantic City’s 42,000 slot machines contributed $3.3
billion in revenues last year, about 70% of the casinos’ total take.
Dozens more are nabbed for cheating at blackjack and other card
games. And hundreds of so-called "railbirds" are caught stealing coin
Casinos use video surveillance and teams of security agents to keep
the cheats out. The Casino Control Commission keeps an "exclusion list"
with the names and faces of more than 160 professional cheats, mobsters
and other undesirables banned from the casinos. And some casinos use
facial recognition devices, which focus on a gambler’s face, matching
its features against thousands of database photos in a matter of
seconds. But cheating schemes change all the time.
Carmichael’s favorite device, the "light wand," succeeded the
"yo-yo," a coin on a string that a player could dip in and out of the
The battery-powered wand, with parts that costs less than $2.50,
works by sending light into a machine’s payout well where it would
confuse the machine’s sensor, letting more coins drop than the machine
was supposed to allow. He could, for instance, put $100 into a machine,
hit the payout button and double the win.
entire article at:
NY Daily News
2004 Online Casino News Archive