Sellers of phony gambling systems often require customers to sign non-disclosure contracts promising never to show the gambling system to anyone else. Does this apply to getting an opinion of the gambling system from a gambling authority?
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The Big Secrets of Phony Gambling Systems

By Arnold Snyder
(From Card Player July 1992)
© Arnold Snyder 1992

Question from a Reader:  I purchased a blackjack system through the mail about six months ago. It was very expensive, and in order to obtain it I had to sign a contract stating that I would never disclose the system to anyone else, and that I would never show the materials I received to any other blackjack system seller.

The advertising materials made a big issue of the fact that some other system seller might try to steal this system, and that the author would prosecute any purchaser who revealed his secrets to competitors. After six months of losing with this system, I feel I’ve been had. I would like to get a professional opinion on whether or not this system has any value, but how can I get an opinion if I can’t even show this system to anyone else?

My Experience with Gambling Systems that Require Non-Disclosure Agreements

Answer:  You’ve been had, in my opinion. Over the years I’ve seen photocopies of about a dozen different systems which had been sold with some kind of binding contract stating that the purchaser would never reveal the system to anyone else, and in every case thus far, my opinion has been that the system was worthless. My cynical opinion of the secrecy contract is that its sole purpose is to keep you from obtaining a professional opinion, not to keep unscrupulous system peddlers from stealing the system.

There are very few blackjack books or systems that have been published in the past decade that I haven’t had a chance to examine. Most authors send me their books for review. Those systems that aren’t sent to me by the authors or publishers are usually sent to me by players who want to know my professional opinion. Secrecy contract or not, I think just about everything published on blackjack crosses my desk eventually.

Some system sellers write long treatises on how you will be violating international copyright laws if you photocopy their materials. You’ll be investigated by the FBI, the CIA, the Federal Trade Commission . . . This is nonsense.

The copyright laws are written to protect authors and publishers from losing income. If you are photocopying something for the purpose of obtaining a professional opinion from an expert in that field, you are not violating copyright laws. You’re not selling the photocopies for any personal gain, nor are you in any way affecting the copyright owner’s income from his sale of his work.

Signing a contract not to disclose information is something else again. I’m no attorney, and I’m not going to get into my understanding of the validity of inane contracts. My advice to anyone who is required to sign a secrecy contract in order to purchase a gambling system is simple. Don’t do it.

The system is probably worthless. The system seller is probably trying to keep you from obtaining honest expert opinions. The system seller probably doesn’t care if the secrecy contract you signed is valid, so long as the check you signed is.  ♠

For lots of free information on genuine professional gambling techniques, see the Blackjack Forum Professional Gambling Library

For information on a wide variety of methods professional gamblers use to win at blackjack, including card counting, shuffle tracking, ace location, hole carding and bonus play, see Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder.

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  Winners' Testimonials Aren't Proof That a Gambling System Works
Over the short run, every gambling system, no matter how phony, will have some winners due to sheer flux (good luck). And even over longer periods, every gambling system, no matter how phony, will have a lucky someone or two who beat the odds and won. Arnold Snyder explains why winners' testimonials do not mean that a gambling system will work for the many over the long run, including for you.