Restorers from the Games Room Company recently tried to breathe new life into an old roulette table by refurbishing it. They made a special discovery. The table was modified in such a way that it could be cheated by the owner. The house edge at this table was huge.
In all likelihood, the manipulated roulette table once belonged to Al Capone, during the Chicago Prohibition era. The casino market was then mainly led by gangsters.
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A roulette table with a hollow leg
During restoration, a hollow leg was found directly under the roulette wheel. The leg had two large batteries one above the other, dating from 1929. The batteries were completely sealed in the leg so that you wouldn’t hear it if someone accidentally (or on purpose) bumped into the table. The sealing was done with newspapers and based on that it could be seen that they were from the period 1929 to 1931. The batteries created an electrical circuit in the table. There was a special screw on the side of the table and when you pressed it, two small pins invisible to the naked eye came out of the roulette wheel that would influence the outcome of the game. The croupier could then better determine in which part of the roulette wheel the ball would fall. Thus, the house edge was drastically increased.
The discovery confirmed what people had believed for years: the roulette tables during the mob-dominated era had been manipulated and therefore counterfeit. Al Capone was the leader of the infamous “Chicago Outfit” in 1920s Chicago. So there’s a good chance that he was behind the unfair adjustment of the roulette tables.
A piece of history
The history of a pre-influenced table dates back to 1873. Joseph Jaggers, a British engineer, decided to do a few tests at the Monte Carlo casino. He was convinced that the roulette wheels had been tampered with and his tests and calculations eventually proved that. He decided to use this knowledge for himself and managed to win $300,000 until the casino caught on. But instead of destroying the machined roulette wheel, they put it in another casino. A casino that Jaggers managed to find again and with that he managed to win another $450,000. The casino nearly went bankrupt.
Are roulette wheels still machined today?
Nowadays it is almost impossible to use a so-called biased wheel. The legislation has changed and advanced technology is used to make the roulette wheels as fair as possible. This does not only apply to land-based casinos, the roulette wheels are also as fair as can be at online casinos. This does not mean that there is no longer any cheating, but the chance is much greater that it will eventually come to light during checks.