Dealing at an Atlantic City casino can put you in the center of some high-stakes action. There are chips to collect, winnings to pay, cards to shuffle and cash to exchange. Competing players to please. Losers to tolerate. Novices to educate.
Lights are flashing, alcohol is flowing and sometimes tempers flare. There is a lot to manage and security cameras are recording it all from every conceivable angle. In this fast-paced, emotionally charged environment mistakes can be easy to make. But getting into trouble with casino authorities over a misinterpretation does not mean you broke the law.
The sleights and the stakes
Cheating and theft are wide-ranging among gamblers and patrons, but schemes also can include employees. Casinos take these crimes very seriously and try to use punishment as a deterrent against plotters. Typical offenses involving blackjack, poker and baccarat dealers include:
- Collusion. Working with a player to count cards or stack deals to their advantage.
- Marked decks. Bending or adding visible marks to cards that only the conspiring player knows.
- Rigged deals. Planting advantageous cards and dealing them from the bottom of the deck.
- False shuffles and cuts. Maintaining a stacked deck while appearing to shuffle or cut cards.
- Past posting. Allowing a player to wager after waving off all bets.
New Jersey law defines casino theft as the temporary or permanent deprivation of money that does not belong to you. If convicted of stealing up to $200 you could face six months in the county jail for disorderly conduct. Penalties increase to felonies depending on the haul: 18 months in state prison for $200-$500; three to five years for $500-$75,000 and five to 10 years for $75,000 or more.
Dealers have a lot to concentrate on at the table. They explain rules to nervous players, calm disgruntled losers and keep the game moving along while their bosses and the eye in the sky scrutinize their every move. A perceived sleight of hand might have been an innocent mistake.
Play your hand right
Casino crimes can trigger massive legal and professional problems for a dealer and their manager. Beyond criminal charges, the gaming industry might issue a lifetime ban that could keep you from ever working in a casino.
But every case is unique. Clear-cut facts can prove elusive in such a complex environment. Before speaking with gaming authorities or police, it is important to talk to an experienced defense lawyer who knows casino policies and surveillance techniques and can skillfully defend your rights.