Why Card Counting Is Illegal

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Card counting is a technique used by some players to gain an advantage in Blackjack. It has been popularized in movies such as Rain Man and 21, but if you are caught using it in real life, you can end up with more than just a bad reputation.

In many places around the world, card counting is considered illegal and can result in fines or even jail time. What about Canada? This article will explain whether card counting is illegal and what the consequences of doing so may be. Let's go!


  • Cheating in a casino is illegal
  • Cheating involves using an external device
  • You can get up to two years for cheating
  • Card counting is not considered cheating
card counting

What Is Card Counting?

Card counting is a strategy used in some casino card games, particularly in blackjack, where players keep track of which cards have been dealt from the shoe (the container holding multiple decks of cards).

By doing so, they can estimate the probability of certain high or low value cards being dealt next. This information can be used to adjust betting decisions and potentially gain an advantage over the house.

For example, if a player knows that there are many high value cards remaining in the shoe, they may increase their bets since there's a greater chance of getting a winning hand.

Conversely, if there are many low value cards left, they may choose to decrease their bets or even sit out hands until the odds are more favorable. Card counting requires concentration and practice to master and is not considered cheating as long as it's done mentally and doesn't involve any devices or collaboration with other players.

However, casinos generally frown upon this practice and may take measures to prevent it or even ban players who engage in it.

Is Card Counting Illegal?

Card counting relies on tracking which cards have already been played in blackjack, allowing the counter to make more accurate predictions about which cards are still available in the deck. This can give them an edge over other players. While this advantage isn't huge, it can still help a lucky gambler win more often than they would without counting.

However, casinos don't like card counters as they can take away their profit. As a result, they have the right to ask any person suspected of counting cards to leave their premises immediately. While this isn't necessarily illegal, some casinos may call the police if they suspect card counting is taking place.

Card Counting vs Cheating: Understanding The Difference

card counting vs cheating

Regarding casino games, there is a fine line between using your skills and cheating. One of the most debated topics in this regard is card counting. While some people consider it cheating, others argue that it is a legitimate strategy that requires skill and practice.

Contrary to popular belief, card counting does not involve any illegal devices or methods. It simply requires players to use their memory and mathematical skills to keep track of the cards. On the other hand, cheating typically involves using an external device or collaborating with other players to gain an unfair advantage.

Card countingYes
Cheating (using external devices or collaborating with other players)No

Why Do Casinos Consider Card Counting Cheating?

Casinos are in the business of making money, and they do not like losing it. When players use card counting techniques, they gain an advantage over the house, which means that casinos lose money.

For this reason, many casinos consider card counting cheating and have implemented measures to prevent it. They may ask suspected card counters to leave or even ban them from playing altogether.

Is Card Counting Really Cheating?

While casinos may consider card counting cheating, keep in mind that it is not illegal. In fact, courts have ruled that using your brain to gain an advantage in a game is perfectly legal.

Card counting requires skill and practice, just like any other strategy used in casino games. It does not involve any illegal devices or methods and does not give players an unfair advantage over others.

In conclusion, while casinos may frown upon card counting as a form of cheating, be aware that it is a legitimate strategy that requires skill and practice. As long as players do not use any illegal devices or methods, there is nothing wrong with using their brains to gain an advantage in a game.

How Much Is A Penalty For Cheating At A Casino?

In Canada, cheating in a casino is considered a criminal offense and can result in serious consequences. If caught cheating using different devices, the offender may face imprisonment for up to two years.

Additionally, they may be required to pay hefty fines and restitution to the casino for any damages caused by their actions. Keep in mind that cheating in a casino game is illegal and unethical, and it is always best to play fair and abide by the rules set forth by the casino.

By doing so, players can avoid any negative consequences that may result from engaging in dishonest behavior while gambling.

Worth reading: can you sue a casino for not paying out?


Card counting is a legitimate strategy used in casino games that requires skill and practice. While casinos may consider it cheating, it does not involve any illegal methods or devices and is not illegal in Canada.

However, casinos may still take measures to prevent it or ban players who engage in it. Therefore, players need to understand the difference between card counting and cheating in order to stay within the law and avoid any legal repercussions.

We also recommend our article about gambling tax in Canada. Take a look!

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Dan (Danny) James

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