There is great diversity of opinion about the amount of cheating that takes place in Nevada. Some claim the crooked game is a thing of the past that belongs to the Gold Rush days and also that the casinos can’t afford the horrific publicity such scandal would bring. People call attention to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which keeps a close monitor on the casinos and which comes down with an iron hand on any casino caught defrauding the public. Another school of thought on the subject believes that there’s a lot more going on than anyone might expect in Nevada, and that institutions like the Gaming Control Board are ineffectual. They point to the notion that both Reno and Vegas are largely controlled by criminal syndicates and that cheating in Nevada is and always has been a way of life.
The truth no doubt lies somewhere in between. Cheating is far from exterminated in Nevada, and will never be exterminated there or anywhere else where gamblers convene. Yet by and large the casinos seem to be pretty clean. Gambling has become a corporate business in Nevada and it’s all to executive interests to keep things above-board. The club owners get high profits with clean play, so why rock the boat?
Not that they’re such moral or ethical souls. It’s just that they know that if out-of-towners have the slightest question concerning a casino’s integrity they’ll steer clear and bring their business elsewhere. The few dollars that might be picked up on a rigged apparatus or underhanded play is simply not worth the destruction a bad reputation would bring.
Nevertheless this does not mean that all Nevada gambling establishments are pearly white. A few aren’t. How to tell? As a good rule of thumb, it’s best to stick with the better-known places, the tried and true. If there’s going to be cheating, it’s more likely to occur in the down-and-out sections of town. Moreover, it will happen in places that don’t have much to lose by surrendering their gambling permits. The one-armed bandit at the local liquor store is more likely to be gaffed than the ones at the Flamingo. The crap table at a dive is more likely to use false dice than those along the Strip.
If you are in a casino and you think you are being cheated, what then? First of all, be sure. Many people raise a large squall and come out looking sheepish when their accusations are discredited. If you’re sure that something is going on, go to the manager or the pit boss and report it. Chances are he’s as interested in learning about cheaters as you. Remember that dealers are simply hired hands. Occasionally some kind of prior agreement between patron and dealer does take place. Or sometimes the dealer simply wants to pocket a few extra bucks for himself. Whatever the case, the manager is eager to know about this and is well aware that his casino could lose its license if caught. All cheating should be reported to those in charge; one can reasonably be certain that action will be sure and swift.