NEWS

Casinos Fear iPhone Card-Counting Application

By Matthew Harwood

Casino security officials have a new threat to contend with as technology continues to make cheating easier: blackjack card-counting applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch.

The card-counting application was discovered at an Indian casino in northern California. Last week, an alert was sent to Las Vegas and other gaming commissions across the country.

"The program calculates the true count and does it significantly more accurately," according to the memorandum Las Vegas Gaming Control Board sent to casino operators.

ArsTechnica.com reports:

Nevada takes gambling cheats very seriously. And this is apparently a very serious counting application. It operates in several modes, including a "stealth mode" where the screen is blanked, and can be operated by touching different zones on the screen. It can use up to four separate strategies for card counting.

While traditional card counting based on brain power isn't illegal in Las Vegas (although casinos reserve the right to throw you out if you're believed to be counting cards), it is a felony to use technological assistance to beat the house.

However, casino officials understand the threat posed by smartphones like the iPhone. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, Harrah's Entertainment banned the device from all tables at the World Series of Poker. Other devices like iPods and mP3 players are allowed, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.

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