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Cheating need not involve dishonesty

Cheating does not have to involve dishonesty, the Supreme Court ruled on 25 October 2017.

The case concerned edge-sorting. This is when the manufacture of playing cards causes some of the cards to have edges marginally different.

In a casino card game called Punto Banco, the croupier was asked to rotate the cards without knowing why, which she did. This allowed a sharp-eyed player to identify cards before they were displayed. The casino realised this when looking at CCTV footage. It refused to pay the winnings but refunded the £1 million stake.

Cheating invalidates gaming under Gambling Act 2005 s42, and previously at common law.

The Act did not specify what cheating means, as what may be cheating in one game may be a fair strategy in another. In other words, the standard for cheating was subjective.

In this case, the gambler had taken steps to fix the deck in a game that depended on the random delivery of cards of unknown value. That was cheating.

Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (trading as Crockfords Club). [2017]. SC. The Times [17.11]