Sal Piacente: “That wasn’t even the good stuff”

At the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) 2010, where manufacturers showcase their latest products, Casino Game Protection authority and sleight-of-hand artist Sal Piacente drives his message to the casino security business home: cutting-edge technology is not at all sufficient when in comes to preventing cheating. Piacente left security staff baffled as he performed false shuffles right in front of a high-tech camera and still palmed aces undetected. “That wasn’t even the good stuff,” he says. Despite this, the false shuffle is still the cheat’s favourite, along with using cards to swipe chips off the stack after being dealt a shaky hand.

Gaming analysts estimate that though there is no way to generate any definite numbers on the costs of cheating to the gaming industry, it’s a safe bet to say those costs are substantial. Piacente, who started out his career in the gaming industry as a blackjack dealer, insists that the answer to cheating does not lie in costly high-tech surveillance material. Cheaters also possess cutting-edge technology, but the scams remain the same and often hinge on dealers working an inside job. Piacente’s focus is on training casino personnel. “A properly trained employee will beat a million dollar system every time.”

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