A Laser That Can Predict Roulette Numbers?

The BBC published a news story on Sunday which left me stunned in disbelief. According to the story, some gamblers have been allowed to keep the £1 million they won in a laser scam. The scam apparently involved using a laser connected to a computer, which could predict, in real time and within three spins of the wheel, the number that the ball would land on.

Now, even considering that such a machine would only have to be accurate enough to beat the house edge of 2/38 (5.26%), building it would be no mean feat. The ball circles in one direction, the wheel spins in the other, and several notches can throw the ball right across the wheel. How on earth could a computer predict that? Surely it's chaos?

Even more astounding is the claim made in the original Sunday Times article, that the laser was concealed in a mobile phone, the data was 'beamed' to a microcomputer, and the prediction then displayed on the mobile.

The police have returned the money and are no longer investigating the case. According to the Sunday Times again, this is because 'the gamblers had not broken any law because their scanner did not interfere with the ball or the roulette wheel', according to their 'legal sources'. They even have quote from a university 'professor of gambling' at Nottingham Trent, who apparently said 'if these people get off using this device, it opens up an avenue for other people to try the same'.

If you ask me, the whole story seems a bit too far fetched to be believed...