The latest misuse of technology to have been discovered seems to be an iPhone and iPod Touch application that allows blackjack players to count cards.
Blackjack players need to keep track (count) of the number of face cards, aces and 10s played from the deck, as against cards of a lower value, in order to judge their chances of winning the game, and bet accordingly. Card counting, per se, is not illegal in Nevada, but using any kind of device to do so is illegal and carries severe punishment.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has warned casinos, through a circular dated 5th February, regarding the Blackjack Card Counter, which is an application for iPhones and the iPod Touch that is available on the iTunes Application Store for a mere US $1.99. Installing this application makes it very easy for gamblers to count cards, and thus cheat the casinos.
The application can be set to quickly switch to the “Stealth Mode” where it looks as though the phone has been switched off because the screen is shut off, but the card counter is still functional, and can be used by pressing keys on the screen.
Under Nevada law, using a device to count cards is an offence punishable with imprisonment between one to six years or a fine of up to $10,000 for the first offence.
Gambling regulators in California first found this device being used by customers in an Indian Casino and informed the concerned authorities.
This application was developed by Australian, Travis Yates (webtopia.com.au), who says its demand has gone up several times after the National Gaming Control Board issued the warning.
Another similar application is available in the App Stores. It is called “Card Counter” and costs $2.99.