UK seems to be going through a volatile period in terms of gambling laws, with the passing of new laws to protect gamblers and casinos from fraud and making a ruling for the first time on civil law offence of cheating. The case being discussed is the one filed by top professional gambler Philip Ivey against the Genting Casinos in UK for refusing to pay his winning amount. The court rejected his appeal under the terms on Gambling Act 2005.
The case details
Thirty eight-year-old Ivey, known as Tiger Woods of Poker in the gambling world, had played Punto Banco (a type of Baccarat) at the Mayfair Casino in August, two years back. On completion of his four sessions, the Casino officials told him that his winning amount would be wired. He left to the US, but never received the amount; however, he was returned his original stake of £1 million.
However, the lawyers of the casino were able to prove the British High Court that Ivey’s actions during the game amounted to cheating and hence payments to him were dissolved. He used a kind of gambling tactic known as ‘edge-sorting,’ which deals with memorizing card values based on design imperfections on the back of the cards, to win the whole amount. The casino said they decided not to pay him after examining the recordings of the play and discovering what had happened.
The curious case of edge-sorting
According to the casino, Philip Ivey had resorted to cheating under Gambling Act Section 42 by deceiving the croupier and interfering with the game with his edge sorting tactic. As he had broken his trust terms with the Casino, he was not entitled to the winning amount. However, Ivey denied that he had committed any kind of malpractice and his strategy was lawful as he had only used the available information and made legitimate requests to the casino that it could reject or accept.
The court however, ruled that Ivey’s actions did amount to cheating as he used the innocent croupier to his advantage. The judge concluded it as a case of cheating.