Despite much of the world now suffering from Chronophobia like a blindfolded Syrian in Saydnaya, and the lines between fact and fiction becoming so blurred Robin Thicke could stand in for Sean Spicer at the White House, there’s a report this week from which we can all take heart as it is revealed a Russian based group has been scamming US casinos by targeting their slots. But just why is this report of foreign nationals breaking US gambling laws such good news?
“Through targeted and prolonged observation of the individual game sequences as well as possibly recording individual games, it might be possible to allegedly identify a kind of ‘pattern’ in the game results.”
– Novomatic – 2011 –
The recent Poker victory of the Liberatus AI software over several human opponents at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was just the latest in a whole plethora of technological developments that will inevitably draw us into a conflict between humans and the machines they have created. Whilst this should most definitely alarm us all the news that it is no longer just card counters like Ben Affleck who are scamming US casinos but overseas teams targeting slots gives us all cause for optimistic hope.
The Lumiere Place in St Louis noticed some of its older machines were losing money faster than Johnny Depp and after an investigation of the CCTV kind spotted a suspicious individual who rather than physically molesting the slots was using his iphone to interact with it in some way. Calling in the Missouri Gaming Commission it was discovered scamming US casinos in this manner was not just limited to one man, and that there was an organized team making hundreds of thousands from it.
Russian Team Scamming US Casinos
The investigation turned up the Russian name Murat Bliev and beyond him a team of maybe 25 or more traveling the world not just scamming US casinos but those in Europe and Macau too, and always by winning on slots. One of these was detained at the Pechanga Resort & Casino and some tantalizing details emerged. The Russian team, based in St Petersburg, had found a way to beat the machines because like all machines they can’t do random, a fact that rarely makes US gambling news headlines.
“What they’ll do now is they’ll put the cell phone in their shirt’s chest pocket, behind a little piece of mesh so they don’t have to hold it in their hand while they record.”
– Willy Allison, Las Vegas Casino Security Consultant –
The axiom “The House Always Wins” might be true, but that’s because casinos have always rigged the games in their favor, and whilst online Bet365 etc do precisely the same their lower overheads means they’re far fairer than real-world casinos, however all slots depend upon a random number generator, and those just don’t exist. Slot machines actually run on a pseudorandom number generator and as you might imagine, those can be predicted if you’ve enough processing power (or an AI) at your fingertips.
Murat Bliev Couldn’t Scam Bet365 But He Might Save The World
Those scamming US casinos, perhaps having got hold of similar machines when Vladimir Putin banned them in Russia, would film the sequences on their phone, transmit it back to base and then be sent an app code that would cause their phone to vibrate just a fraction of a second before they should press spin. This allowed them to rack up amazing winning streaks with almost no visible signs they were cheating, and whilst Bliev got arrested and sent down for 2 years, his cohorts are still out there. We should be grateful for this.
Sure, the sensible among us don’t use real-world casinos anymore, Bet365 and its chums a far more pleasurably way to gamble and bet on sports in the US and elsewhere, so we don’t really care about people scamming US casinos however if the movies have taught us anything, one day, when that war between man and machine comes along, we’re going to need a rough-diamond hero type with a criminal past that can out-think them before they exterminate us. Murat Bliev or one of his associates could well be that savior.