Online sports book and casino BetOnline.com has been severely embarrassed this week by a video uploaded to YouTube on Saturday that shows one of its live blackjack dealers apparently cheating.
The dealer clearly uses a sleight-of-hand cheating technique, as old as card games themselves, known as the second shuffle, in which the dealer deals the card second from the top, while appearing to deal the top card.
Whether, in this case, this was by design or an accident… well, you decide, but it certainly leaves BetOnline, a US facing unlicensed online gambling site with some awkward questions to answer.
At the time of writing, however, the site is declining to answer any questions, and, because it is not licensed in the US, it doesn’t have to.
The video was uploaded by a professional blackjack player Michael Morgenstern, an American, who says he reached out to the site’s customer support but to no avail.
And, yes, he lost the hand.
Rise of the Online Live Dealer
Live-dealer games have been around for a while in the online casino space but have enjoyed a real surge in popularity over the last year or two, thanks to an enhancement of the gaming experience enabled by improvements in browser technology and internet streaming speeds.
Ironically, part of the popularity of live dealer has been driven by a love of the personal touch and a inherent distrust of the random number generator, which some people erroneously believe to be loaded.
That an online casino would attempt to deceive its players by using crooked live dealers, when damning footage can be so easily recorded and posted on social media, would seem to be a suicidal business practice, especially when you consider that the house always wins anyway.
Beckley on Board?
But stranger things have happened. Like, for example, the AbsolutePoker scandal, in which it was discovered that a “superuser” account could see other players’ hole cards and was being used by AP employees to fleece players. And then, in 2011, the site was closed down by FBI on Black Friday, owing players millions.
According to CalvinAyre.com this week, the disgraced online poker site’s co-founder Brent Beckley, who spent 14 months in a federal prison for bank fraud and wire fraud, has a new job. At BetOnline.com.
The rumors of Beckley’s new appointment were swirling at the recent International Casino Exhibition in London, with “trusted industry sources, more than one, independent of each other,” telling CA that the rumors were true.
When CA reached out to BetOnline.com for comment, it received the standard response: “It’s the company’s policy not to comment on its relationships with its customers, partners, vendors or employees.”
If there were ever a finer argument for regulating online gambling, we’re aching to hear it.