Alleged High Tech Roulette Scam "Easy To Set Up"

514 words - 3 pages

An alleged high-tech roulette scam that saw three people walk out of a London casino with ý1.3 million recently sounds too implausible even for a movie plot.But a physicist who developed a technology-based system that famously beat the wheel in the 1970s has told New Scientist that in theory it would have been fairly easy to carry out with a little know-how and the right tools.Two men and a woman were arrested on 16 March after raking in a huge win over two evenings. Suspicious casino staff are said to have reviewed videotapes of the players and called in the police, whose investigation is continuing. The trio are now on bail and have not been charged ...view middle of the document...

Packard should know. In the late 1970s, he and a group of other physics graduate students set out to create computers that could compute the sector of the wheel a roulette ball would land in. They hid these computers under their clothes or in their shoes, clicking buttons with their toes."In the best circumstances, we could predict the quadrant correctly," says Packard. "We definitely got to the point where we were winning money, but we didn't continue long enough to make large amounts."Such a caper is "fairly easy to set up", he says. Just two equations - one for the ball and one for the wheel, which move in opposite directions - predict the likely area where the ball will stop. These equations comprise only a handful of parameters, including the mass and size of the ball, the shape and roughness of the track, and the tilt of the wheel.A scouting mission to the casino could give these values for a particular wheel and ball in advance, meaning the equations can be partially solved before attempting betting.The cell phones reportedly used in the alleged London scam could have been used to determine the ball's speed if buttons on the phones were pressed when the ball was released and then after one revolution, Packard says. In fact, some cell phones have their own built-in stopwatches.A remote computer, or perhaps even one in the phone, could then solve the equations "very rapidly", says Packard, "because you've done all that homework".

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