The house edge is what keeps casinos afloat, but players have always been trying to find a way around this frustrating reality. Beating the roulette is one of the things that gamblers have been attempting ever since they game was invented, but until recently results were mediocre at best. The achievement of three Eastern Europeans who managed to win £1 million while playing roulette at the Ritz Club stands out from the crowd for several reasons.
On one hand, they managed to win a huge amount before anyone realized that something was off, on the other hand, they did it by using state-of-the-art technology. The casino accused them of cheating and soon after police seized their funds and briefly detained them, but the wheels of justice are not turning against him. Many of the charges were dropped and there is a good chance for the three gamblers to get away with their deed and the money they won.
Top technology put to good use
The trio used a microcomputer hidden in smartphones and these devices were used to calculate the area where the roulette ball would eventually land. Some suspected that they also use the laser to track the ball and calculate the number of revolutions it made on the roulette wheel. The tech they used allowed them to calculate the velocity of the ball and the deceleration rate, so it wasn’t particularly difficult to estimate the area where it would land in the absence of outside factors interfering.
While the deceleration and speed of the roulette rotor is predictable, there are several variables to factor in and they are supposed to make the results impossible to predict accurately. In order to mitigate the risks, the three gamblers chose to bet on neighbors of those numbers that the pocket computer recommended. The system is known as “clocking” and has been used before, apparently far less successful due to the sheer limitations of technology.
The Hungarian girl and the two Serbian males made two visits to the casino. On the first night they won in excess of £100.000 and they still didn’t alert the casino staff, because they were not acting suspiciously. On the other hand, casino representatives should’ve been alerted by the fact that the woman was already on the blacklist of multiple casinos. Apparently, she attempted to pull out something similar in the Middle East and was on the list of potential cheaters that casinos are trying to keep out.
|Roulette table at Ritz Club casino, London.|
Debatable cheating charges and consequences
The Ritz casino representatives were probably thrilled when they heard that the police seized the three alleged cheaters and confiscated hundreds of thousands of British pounds. On the other hand, the investigation slowed down and the police is unlikely to prosecute the three for theft, while the Scotland Yard took over with a money-laundering investigation.
The British gambling laws are not too clear and it will be very difficult for the authorities to prove that the three obtained a pecuniary advantage by deception. The fact that the gamblers use electronic devices that didn’t interfere with the game itself only complicates matters for investigators. At least in theory, players are allowed to pursue their interest and try to offset the house edge, but there is a thin line separating strategy from cheating.
Electronic devices have been routinely used in an attempt of offsetting the house edge, but the giant leaps made by technology greatly improves their chances to succeed. The Ritz is trying to recuperate the money lost, but the entire gambling industry is watching this case with interest. What they hope for is that the alleged cheaters to be prosecuted, so that similar attempts won’t be made in the future.
Apparently there were others who used similar systems to win a lot of money at The Colony Club in Mayfair, London and other top class casinos in Europe and they are suspected of being linked to the trio at the Ritz. None of them were caught in action, so it will be very difficult for the investigators to prove anything, not to mention that some the devices can be reset with the press of a button. As casino executives are hoping for deregulation in United Kingdom, the future looks bright for those tech-savvy individuals who can put technology to good use.