Card Counting – A reason To Get Thrown Out?

Everybody out there has watched at least one movie where a character gets thrown out of a casino because they were counting cards. It’s a familiar scene, but what is the underlying morality of card counting? Is it actually a justifiable reason for an otherwise civil customer to be thrown out of a gambling establishment?

Card Counting

Is It Illegal?

To begin with, card counting is not illegal. That’s perhaps the biggest point of confusion for people. There isn’t a single law on the books of any state that explicitly prohibits the practice of card counting. It is, quite simply, frowned upon by most casinos. When they eject a card counter from their premises, it’s not because they were breaking the law; it’s simply because the player had the means of beating the house. Remember: the house always wins.

A Question of Ethics?

When you get down to it, though, casinos are privately owned, for-profit businesses. With that in mind, casinos are well within their rights to refuse service to just about anybody. A casino is not a charity; they are under no obligations where their customers are concerned. Ever heard the phrase “house rules”? Card counting is against the house rules in just about every casino. If card counters aren’t good enough to practice their craft without getting caught, the casino has every right to refuse their business.

Let’s look at this two ways. On the one hand, card counting isn’t cheating, in the strictest sense. Card counters aren’t manipulating the inner workings of the game, and they’re not interfering with or taking advantage of other players. All they’re really doing is exercising a skill that they’ve taught themselves: a skill that they tirelessly learned over time.

On the other hand, as we’ve already established, it’s well known that casinos are highly motivated to protect their own interests. While card counting may not be technically considered cheating, it’s arguably unfair for the other players. When the casino ejects a card counter, it’s because they’re looking out for the interests of the other players as well as their own.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the bottom line? For better or worse, casinos have every right to throw card counters out. We don’t have to like it, but it’s true. As for the card counters themselves, if they don’t know when to quit, so as to avoid attracting suspicion, maybe they were asking for it.