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Ohio Casinos Already Focusing On Catching Cheaters

Ohio voters approved casinos several years ago, and one thing the residents are hoping is that they get a fair game when out at the casino. State officials are trying to ensure the fairness of the games by training themselves to recognize and capture cheaters.

The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland will become the first casino open in the state in mid-May, and state officials will be on the lookout for those who take part in scams to rip off the casino. Among the things officials will be watching are players who signal to other players, and card counters.

The state regulatory oversight group assigned 13 agents to the Horseshoe to uncover these unsavory gambling thieves. Columbus, Toledo, and Cincinnati will have similar amounts of agents at their casinos when they open either later this year or early in 2013.

The agents had to take a 40-hour course in which they first learned the ins-and-outs of each casino game, and then was taught how the cheating schemes are carried out. By teaching the agents how to cheat, the class was actually showing the agents what to be looking for on the casino floor. It is a class that the agents were instructed to take seriously. Even with the instruction, cheating in casinos is not as prevalent as some may think.

"It's not nearly as dramatic as TV or the movies," said Brad Hirsh, Vice President and Assistant General Manager at Horseshoe. "That doesn't mean we should ignore it or not make it a priority."

One of the main reasons that anti-gambling lawmakers oppose casinos is the opportunity for the underground illegal organizations to infiltrate the community. Over the years, several organizations have run multi-million dollar scams with dozens of accomplices involved. Ohio regulators are trying to ensure that type of operation does not make its way into their casinos, and the warning came clear from other states who have gone through the process.

"Casinos are very bad places to commit a crime," said Major Tim Allue, the Head of Gaming Enforcement in Pennsylvania. "Virtually every move you make is on camera."

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