The iPhone or iPod touch you own now has a new job: beating dealers at the Blackjack table and breaking the law in Las Vegas casinos! Officials in Nevada more than a little peeved about a trio of unique iTunes App Store apps: A Blackjack Card Counter (iTunes Link) by Webtopia $2.99, Card Counter (iTunes Link) by TMSOFT $2.99 and CardCounterBJ (iTunes Link) by Hideyuki Shibata $.99.
The officials at the Gaming Control Board in Nevada even went so far as to issue a warning (PDF Link) to casino operators about card counting applications being available from the iTunes App Store. A Blackjack Card Counter was covered in that bulletin because of some unique features that we'll cover below.
Of course, anyone who can master the skill of card counting can improve their odds of winning by a wide margin and win a lot of cash. If you are lucky enough to have the brain power to perform card counting on your own, it's not illegal. However, if you use artificial means to give yourself this advantage then you are breaking the law in Nevada. A law that can give anyone caught doing this up to six years in jail, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or both.
Why all the commotion? Blackjack Card Counter is a very advanced application that supports four popular card counting methods, but the real kicker is that is supports a "stealth" mode that lets the app run while the screen on the iPhone or iPod Touch appears to be turned off. However, the app will still accept multi-touch gestures so you can enter your card information on the sly. Once the threshold you set for card counting is reached your iPhone gives you a helpful subtle vibration. Talk about sneaky.
The unique "stealth" mode is what makes the Blackjack Card Counter app dangerous if you are caught with it in a casino. The other app Card Counter does not feature this mode of operation so you are less likely to commit a felony with it and the same is true for CardCounterBJ. Plus Card Counter hides behind a disclaimer that you can see at the iTunes App Store link above which basically warns you about using it in the wrong setting and going to jail!
We are very surprised that Apple has the audacity to allow an app in the iTunes App Store that will actually let you cheat a casino, but still will not allowinto that same store. We do realize that these apps could be used for educational or recreational purposes, but Blackjack Card Counter is the first app that we've seen that might actually get you into trouble if not used properly; trouble that could lead to a less than pleasant vacation with free meals in some Nevada prison.