Casino Cheating: A Centuries-Old Pastime
Land-based casinos in Vegas and other gambling hubs have long been the target for cheats. 'Roulette computers' have been used to 'predict' (with varying levels of success) where the ball will land next, based on the pitch of the wheel and other factors.
Slot machines players have attempted to shave quarters or use a coin-on-a-string (the 'yo yo') to trick the machine into playing for free. And of course, while not illegal card-counting teams have attempted to get an edge over the casino by studying 'hot' and 'cold' blackjack tables.
Even recently, professional poker pro Phil Ivey was accused of cheating in a notorious 'edge sorting' baccarat case. Ivey and his accomplice gauged (quite legitimately) what cards were coming out of the deck next by examining the patterns on the back. The casinos cried foul when the pair won millions of dollars.
Online Casino Abuse And Hacks
Abuse of games and offers isn't that commonplace, but there's always a player who thinks they are one step ahead of the casino. It's important that a trigger-happy casino doesn't tar you with the same brush. So, remember to avoid any suspicious behaviour if you don't want your bonus turned down.
1 - Common Bonus Abuse
Most casinos offer some form of welcome or deposit bonus to new customers. The idea is simple: load up your account with cash and 'play through' enough games in your first few days to trigger some free money.
Certain games will be eligible towards the bonus, so it's important to find games like video slots that contribute 100% of their gameplay.
The player's aim, of course, is to find the easiest way possible of clearing the bonus amount. And the trick is to do it without the casino accusing you of bonus abuse.
Abuse can come in several forms: having multiple accounts in a single household (see below), unusual betting patterns, or using hacking software.
Most casinos will review the player's playing habits before they action a bonus withdrawal. Irregular playing patterns like constant zero-margin bets in games like blackjack or baccarat will be flagged up. In fact, it's why card games like blackjack often contribute little towards a bonus. The higher eligibility rates are reserved for more volatile games like slots where the player has less control over the outcome.
Bonus abuse can also be levelled at someone who only deposits in order to claim a bonus before disappearing altogether from the site. Trying to claim the same bonus multiple times will also single you out.
2 - Opening Multiple Accounts
When you join a casino for the first time, there will usually be a strict stipulation on having one new player per household. This prevents players from opening multiple accounts within a family. After all, if you live in a house with four over-18s it's easy to open accounts for all five of you as long as you know their email and personal details.
In any case, an IP address will be collected when you sign up. The casino can easily spot who is playing under the same roof. IP blockers can be used, but the casino will be on the lookout for those. Get caught and you're looking at a total ban.
In addition, opening an account when under-aged will get you kicked out. In any case, age verification is usually needed in order to make a cash withdrawal.
3 - Software Hacks
While online casinos might catch the players and ban them for abuse, some software hacks are available on the market. Programs like Cheat Engine and Auto Clicker allow the player to play through a bonus requirement with a 'bot'.
Cheat Engine is an open-source program that includes a memory scanner to trick the slot into thinking it's paying out a massive fortune. (A similar cheat is used in video games to create infinite lives or ammunition.) While no 'real money' will be paid out, a deposit bonus can be worked through pretty quickly.
The software doesn't work on instant-play games generally but can be used on downloaded slots that have been saved to the desktop. While updates are being brought out for Cheat Engine all the time, it's tricky to find a casino that won't come down hard on its use.
How Online Sites Protect Themselves
Licensed casinos are safe and secure places to gamble, but they should be secure for both players and the companies. No casino wants to lose money to dishonest customers; all it does is have a knock-on effect for players who will lose out on better promotions and giveaways.
Casinos have dedicated teams in place who look out for abuse or illegal cheating. It's common for players to be banned, and once a player is blacklisted the information is sent to rival casinos so they know who to watch out for.
Online Casino Cheating FAQs
Is Cheating Common At Online Casinos?
Cheating online often involves hacking the games themselves. But the security at casinos is excellent and software hackers will be quickly found out.
What Is Bonus Abuse?
Bonus abuse involves a player opening several accounts to access as much free cash as possible. They may also structure their play to trigger the bonus in as easy a way as possible.
Are There Legal Ways To Get An Edge?
As you are playing in your own home, there's nothing to stop you printing off a cheat sheet. This gives you the optimum plays on all games, from roulette and craps to baccarat and blackjack. Refer to the sheets every time you need to make a move.
Hunt around the casinos for the best deals too. There's nothing to stop you signing up to multiple casinos; just don't have multiple accounts at the same site.
How Can I Stay Safe Myself?
Only play at licensed and regulated online casinos. Their software is fair and regularly checked - look for audit certificates on the casino homepage.
What Happens If I'm Wrongly Accused Of Cheating?
Blacklisted or rogue online casinos can throw the term 'bonus abuse' around a lot, so it's important to be aware of the site's terms and conditions first. Some jurisdictions have alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers who can be contacted.