|30-year-old Kevin Lewis is finding it hard to relive his former glory days in blackjack. Lewis was a part of the infamous team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who became millionaires in blackjack by keeping track of the aces and face cards played.|
He’s finding it hard to win at blackjack again, as hundreds of casinos across the US and the world are using outside detective agencies and online databases which track suspected cheats and highly skilled gamblers, sometimes called advantage players.
For instance, the Griffin Gold online database of a Las Vegas company contains five volumes of thousands of names and mug shots, with an advanced facial recognition program. The database triggers alerts to casinos, when someone from the database matches with the faces captured in the CCTV cameras.
The controversial online database is owned by the 35-year old Griffin Investigations founded by Beverly Griffin and Robert Griffin. Keith Copher, enforcement chief for the Nevada Gaming Control Board defends the database and says since Griffin uses ‘heads’ and not some sort of instrument to track cards it is not illegal. The database is available for access only to some 100 clients, mostly casinos who subscribe to the service and state gambling regulators.
Many casinos stand by Griffin’s efficiency in plugging cheats. Griffin has helped bust up some of the biggest and most lucrative card-counting rings to roam casino floors. It helped take down Lewis and five other MIT students who operated in the 1990s.