PHILADELPHIA – Gambling is already a risky proposition, but if the person you’re playing against has technology help, it’s no longer gambling to you. It’s just plain losing.
Well at least one cheater isn’t too happy after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized their phone-based gambling cheat device recently in Philadelphia.
While inspecting an express delivery parcel from Vietnam on April 21, CBP officers discovered an iPhone, a small black box with an antenna, and a charger. Upon closer examination, the iPhone was surprisingly light and the charging port was an Android port. Officers opened the phone and discovered a small circuit board, a watch battery, and a single button hot glued to the phone’s frame. Inside the small box with antenna, officers found a vibration motor.
Additional research revealed the device to be a poker or gambling cheat device. In these devices, the phone serves as a card reader and transmitter, while the vibration box serves as the wireless receiver. Similar devices are sold for thousands of dollars on black market forums.
Some cheat devices are built with cameras that can read barcodes painted on the sides of marked cards, while other devices can manipulate gambling machine hardware, currency readers and coin dispensers. Machine designers and casinos have implemented security measures that mitigate most gambling fraud. Unfortunately, gamblers playing in off-casino games are easier prey as they have little assurance of similar security protections.
Officers seized the device, which was destined to an address in Philadelphia.
“Customs and Border Protection officers encounter a wide variety of illicit products, from the fairly routine narcotics and counterfeit goods to the more unique and odd, such as this gambling cheat device and the recent odometer manipulating modules. These products all have one thing in common - they may harm American consumers,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “As our nation’s border security agency, CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to intercept products that potentially hurt American consumers, impact businesses, and threaten our nation’s economic vitality.”
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2020.