Debunking the Myths: Is Counting Cards Really Illegal in Casinos?

Is Counting Cards Really Illegal in Casinos

If one possesses an interest in the realm of gambling, there are high chance that one knows what card counting is. This particular methodology is employed by certain players in an attempt to gain an advantageous position in games such as the widely popular blackjack. Card counting entails keeping track of which cards have been played and using that knowledge to make strategic judgements regarding your bets. But is counting cards illegal? 

If you’re a Canadian casino player, you may be asking about the legitimacy of this method. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of card counting in Canadian casinos and at many more places, including the rules associated with gambling, the potential penalties of card counting, and why casinos despise this approach. Read on to discover more and make informed selections at the blackjack table.

The Legalities of Counting Cards in Canada

The regulations concerning gambling in Canada are multifaceted and contingent upon the particular province or territory that one is present within. Although gambling is generally sanctioned within the nation, there exist constraints aimed at ensuring that this pastime is carried out in a manner that is impartial and accountable. In light of this, what is the bearing of these regulations upon the practice of card counting?

Firstly, it’s important to note that card counting is not illegal in Canada. But this doesn’t mean that it’s tolerated or encouraged by casinos. In fact, casinos have the power to reject service to anyone they suspect is utilising unscrupulous practices to gain an edge. This implies that if a casino sees you counting cards, they may ask you to leave and refuse to allow you play again in the future.

In addition to being banned from a particular casino, there may be legal implications to card counting in Canada. While it’s doubtful that you’ll be punished with a criminal infraction, you may face civil charges if the casino decides to sue you for any losses they incurred due to your card counting. 

Why Is Counting Cards Illegal?

Even though card counting is not technically illegal, casinos still discourage and even ban players who are detected utilising this tactic. But why is this the case? It ultimately comes down to the casino’s bottom line.

Casinos make their money by having a mathematical edge over the players. In games like blackjack, this edge is relatively minor, yet it’s still enough to ensure that the casino makes a profit in the long term. Card counting, however, might provide players with an advantage that negates the casino’s edge, which means that the casino loses money.

To counter this, casinos use numerous methods to detect and dissuade card counting. For example, they may employ many decks of cards, shuffle them often, or use automatic shuffling equipment. They may also train their dealers and monitoring employees to look out for symptoms of card counting, including players who make high bets only when the count is in their favour.

If a casino suspects that a player is counting cards, they may take action to stop them. This could include requesting them to leave the casino, barring them from future visits, or even contacting other casinos to notify them about the player.

Is Counting Cards Illegal in Vegas?

Many people assume that counting cards are illegal everywhere, especially in the gambling capital of the world – Las Vegas. While it’s true that casinos in Vegas are exceedingly cautious about detecting and eliminating card counting, it’s not legally unlawful to count cards in Nevada.

Nevada state law authorises casinos to refuse service to anyone they suspect is utilising an unfair advantage, which includes card counting. Although counting cards in Las Vegas may not be a criminal offence, it is still probable that the casino may request that you leave the premises if you are caught engaging in such behaviour.

It’s worth noting that the rules associated with gambling might differ from state to state in the United States, so it’s crucial to conduct your study before trying to count cards in any casino.

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Is Counting Cards Illegal in Colorado?

Similar to Nevada, Colorado state law similarly does not specifically make card counting illegal. Yet, casinos in Colorado are private businesses and have the authority to refuse service to anyone they suspect is exploiting an unfair advantage, including card counting.

In fact, Colorado casinos are known to be more careful about detecting card counters, and some casinos even have a reputation for being more aggressive in their efforts to catch them. This can be largely attributed to the fact that the gaming laws in Colorado serve as an impetus for casinos to uphold an elevated standard of ethics and transparency in their activities.

If you’re planning to gamble in Colorado, it’s crucial to understand the laws and regulations linked to card counting. While it’s not legally illegal, it’s nevertheless a practice that casinos frown upon and might result in being barred from the casino. Always gamble sensibly and within your means.

Is Counting Cards in Blackjack Illegal?

As mentioned earlier, counting cards in blackjack is not prohibited in and of itself. However, it is considered an unfair advantage by casinos, and they have the power to ask players to stop employing this approach or to leave the casino.

It’s important to note that card counting is not a guaranteed winning technique. Card counting might give players an edge over casinos, but it demands a high level of skill, concentration, and discipline. It’s also not a failsafe, as casinos can take methods to detect and prevent card counting, such as shuffling the cards more frequently or using different decks.

Moreover, casinos have the power to amend the rules of the game or to apply countermeasures against card counters. In essence, this signifies that one may not necessarily have an advantage, even if they are competent at card counting, since the casino may amend the regulations or take measures against them, leaving them in a position of disadvantage.

Consequences of getting Caught Counting Cards

While counting cards is not prohibited, getting caught doing so can have consequences. Casinos have the power to reject service to anyone they suspect is exploiting an unfair advantage, including card counting. If you’ve spotted counting cards, you may be ordered to stop using this tactic or to leave the casino.

In some situations, casinos may also take more serious action against card counters. This can involve banning the player from the casino, seizing their earnings, or even bringing charges for cheating.

It’s vital to realise that getting caught counting cards might potentially have reputational ramifications. If you’re banned from a casino for card counting, other casinos in the vicinity may likewise refuse to allow you to gamble there.


While card counting is not illegal, casinos have the right to refuse service to anybody they suspect of indulging in this technique. Card counting includes employing mathematical calculations to calculate the chance of specific cards appearing in a game of blackjack, and while it is not considered cheating, it is recognised as a sort of advantage play. 

Players who choose to apply this approach should be informed of the potential implications, such as being asked to leave the casino or having their winnings withdrawn. It is crucial to acknowledge that the regulations and protocols pertaining to card counting can vary from one country to another. Consequently, it is imperative to thoroughly research and acquaint oneself with the regulations before contemplating the utilisation of this particular strategy. Eventually, players should recognise that while card counting may boost their possibilities of winning, it is not a sure means of success and can still result in losses.


Is card counting in blackjack illegal?

No, card counting in blackjack is not illegal, but it is a behaviour that casinos frown upon and may result in being barred from the casino.

Can I get arrested for card counting?

No, you cannot get arrested for card counting, as it is not a criminal offence. But, if you are detected cheating or utilising electronic equipment to help in card counting, you may face legal repercussions.

How do casinos detect card counters?

Casinos utilise a number of tactics to discover card counters, including tracking betting trends, utilising facial recognition software, and analysing player behaviour.

Is card counting a guaranteed way to win at blackjack?

No, card counting is not a guaranteed strategy to win at blackjack. While it can provide players an edge, it demands a great degree of ability and discipline and does not guarantee a win.

Can casinos kick you out for counting cards?

Indeed, casinos have the authority to reject service to anybody they suspect is exploiting an unfair advantage, including card counting. If you are found counting cards, you may be asked to leave the casino or barred from playing there in the future.

Is it possible to count cards in online blackjack?

It is technically feasible to count cards in online blackjack, although it can be more challenging due to the use of random number generators and the inability to manually shuffle the cards. Moreover, internet casinos may have mechanisms in place to avoid or detect card counting.

How long does it take to learn card counting?

The time it takes to learn card counting varies based on the individual’s degree of talent and devotion to practising. Some experts believe that it might take many months to a year to become adept at card counting.

Can you use card counting in other casino games besides blackjack?

While card counting is most usually linked with blackjack, it may potentially be utilised in other casino games that include a deck of cards, such as baccarat or pai gow poker. However, the methods and procedures for counting cards in these games may differ from those employed in blackjack.

Is card counting legal in Canada?

Card counting is not prohibited in Canada, but casinos have the ability to reject service to anybody they suspect is exploiting an unfair advantage, including card counting.

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