Thursday, April 30, 2009

Should Gambling Addiction Get Roulette Cheats Off the Hook?

This is a very tough question to answer. I myself was a degenerate gambler before becoming a casino cheat. In fact, the very fact that I had lost all my money gambling is what led to my life cheating poker rooms and casinos. Although I was never busted for cheating, I certainly can understand how a gambling addiction can get someone to cheat, which can lead to arrest, jail-time and even a ruined life.

So do I think that gambling-addicted casino and poker cheats should be cut some slack if they're caught in the act? Probably I do, at least for a first offense. What follows below is the story of a gambling addict turned roulette cheat who got busted after some pretty amateurish roulette pastposting moves. Based on his story, I would give him a second chance if I were the judge.

Would you?


An Edmonton man who confessed yesterday to cheating while playing roulette at a city casino admits he is addicted to gambling and has lost nearly everything.

Balraj Singh Purewal, 22, pleaded guilty in provincial court to a charge of cheating at play.

The Crown wants Purewal to get counselling for his gambling addiction while on six months of probation, but the judge put off sentencing until a pre-sentence report is prepared and she hears from his probation officer.

"Do you have a serious gambling problem?" asked Judge Darlene Wong, after hearing Purewal pleaded guilty earlier this month to a similar offence at a Calgary casino.

"Yeah, a very serious problem," replied Purewal. "I have lost over $600,000, pretty well everything I had."

The NAIT student, who is currently on disability, told court he got hooked on gambling when he was 18 and won several thousand dollars at the Baccarat Casino.

However, he says he is no longer gambling and is looking into joining Gamblers Anonymous.

"I know I have a really bad gambling problem," said Purewal. "I know I need help for it."

Wong placed Purewal on a $1,000 no-cash release and ordered him to take counselling. She also banned him from going to any place where there are games of chance.

"This is serious. You have to get moving on all this."

Court heard Purewal was playing roulette at the Yellowhead Casino on Oct. 26 after buying $400 in chips.

He bet a $100 chip on a certain odd number, but when the wheel stopped on an even number, he was seen moving his wager with two more $100 chips onto the even number.

The dealer called the pit supervisor who placed the chips on a ledge and went to check the surveillance tape.

Meanwhile, the game continued and after the dealer said no more bets and the ball dropped onto the 23 red slot, Purewal was seen placing $300 in chips on that square.

The dealer pushed off the bet and told Purewal it was too late, but Purewal pushed it back on. The supervisor also told him the bet was too late and then the games manager came over and said his earlier bet had also been too late.

At that point, Purewal became angry and agitated and grabbed several $100 chips and tried to walk away. Instead he was grabbed by security and then arrested.