Missouri’s Masterclass in Catching Cheats
By Paul
For the past year, the Missouri Gaming Commission finding out how to cheat. Or rather, how to spot Casino cheats. State troopers, commission auditors, commission tax officials and other law enforcement officials are being taught how to catch crooked patrons and casino employees who work at the state’s 11 riverboat casinos.

The state office houses the mini-casino equipped with a surveillance system, fully functional slot machines and a craps table. Students learn about casino surveillance, Missouri’s gambling rules and laws, and how to play games like craps, roulette and blackjack. The need for this is critical because this is a very complicated industry,' says Kevin Mullally, executive director of the commission. 'You're dealing with a lot of cash money, so the risks are very high.'

The man who controls the odds in the gambling lab is Chris Baker, a retired 28-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which employs about 100 full-time officers at the casinos.

The concept is simple: 'This gives students the opportunity to actually see in a controlled environment what they are going to see in the work environment,' Baker said.

Students in the week-long casino patrol program spend half their time studying gambling statutes and regulations, and the rest of the time in the lab, learning how to spot scams that rely on the crowds, noise and lights of the casino for cover. There are some basic lessons in how to spot suspicious activity: 'One of the 'tells' of someone cheating at a slot machine is when people are rubbernecking,' Baker said. 'They are not paying attention to the machine, they are looking around to see if anyone is watching them.'

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