Automation, Surveillance, and Casino Security
The largest users of surveillance systems in a single location can be found on the grounds of casinos. Casinos use integrated surveillance security to protect their customers and their business. A single casino can have camera counts that can total in the thousands. It is often noticeable that casinos have security cameras everywhere. However, there are some areas, such as restroom stalls, that for intimate privacy concerns, security cameras are not allowed. Footage from these cameras is often stored and reviewed to improve security, verify loss situations, or even provide evidence of theft to law enforcement. These cameras also incorporate many automated functions, such as facial recognition and security alarms, to prevent a security threat to customers or the casino staff. Casinos face many regulations regarding the use of surveillance footage and instances of lost footage. Not following these guidelines can open the possibility of regulatory penalties, forced closures, and crippling revenue loss or theft. To guarantee a fool-proof casino surveillance system, the following areas on the business grounds should be covered and protected by security cameras.
- Entrances – security surveillance cameras should be placed at all casino entrances and exits. This allows the system to capture footage of all dealers, gamblers, and customers as they enter and leave the casino.
- Cashier Areas – Probably one of the most important areas of the casino that requires the additional security that surveillance can provide. Much like a bank, this area of the casino handles the processing of currency and chips. This area requires high definition cameras to get quality footage in the area where large amounts of currency and chips are stored.
- Open Areas – For a complete security, all open areas of the casino grounds should be covered. This includes hotel hallways, restaurants, retail shopping areas, the gaming floor or center, escalators, elevators, parking lots, or any other open area. Having well-trained security camera monitors can help the security department spot and handle any unusual activities as they occur.
- Gaming Facilities – To protect the casino for instances of cheating and provide security against theft of customers, the gaming area should be covered from all available angles. These cameras can monitor and record the slots, gaming tables, and dealers. The footage can also be reviewed later and used to improve the training and abilities of the dealers on the floor.
- Management Centers – For additional security, all entrances and exits to management centers should also be covered. This provides footage of all employees who enter and leave the area and protect against having the areas accessed by unauthorized personnel.
Gambling on security at a casino is never a good idea.
Casino safety is more than what is shown in the movies. Surveillance that includes both audio and video footage should be targeting every available inch of the casino’s grounds. Of course, there are a few areas that are not permitted to have surveillance for privacy reasons. In the movies, casinos’ security management is often displayed in a back room filled with monitors being watched carefully by guards that stay ready for action. There is far more to it than that, but the peek at casino security makes a great background in the movies.
The first duty of some casino gaming surveillance officers is to monitor the gambling floor. The surveillance system is in place to watch both the gamblers, employees and the dealers. These officers watch for one thing to prevent advantage players from gaining admission to the gambling areas. Advantage players are those individuals who are documented or known to casinos for those players who hold an advantage over the house through a variety of tactics. This can include those who are known to be blackjack card counters. Many casinos have guards who specialize in observing and detecting professional gamblers and alert all the floor security of their presence. Through careful monitoring of the individual through surveillance systems, casino security can catch these players in the act. If caught, or the gambler already has a reputation for counting cards, the casino has the right to refuse entrance and escort them from the property.
A slightly different concern than card counters is those who try to cheat while gambling. Cheating in any casino is illegal, and security forces have the authority to detain cheating customers until they are picked up by law enforcement. Common methods that gamblers use to cheat are:
- Concealing Cards
- Dice Sliding (Craps)
- Chip Dumping (poker)
- Jamming electronic devices (roulette)
Top gambling thieves have developed extensive methods for concealing or hiding the techniques that they use to cheat. Well-trained security officers can catch these minor actions through careful monitoring of the gambling floor. Once these gamblers are detained for law enforcement, charges cannot be pressed against the individual simply based on the word of the casino. Evidence is still a requirement. With quality and immense surveillance system on the gambling floor, multiple angles of the cheating customer can be given to law enforcement to show evidence of the illegal activities.
There should always be surveillance coverage for the cashier’s cage. This prevents outright robberies, but also those that use underhanded techniques to try to rob the casino of money. Good surveillance footage can be reviewed at a later date and catch some criminal activity after the fact. The quality of high definition footage can be used by law enforcement agencies to determine the person’s identity and make a valid arrest. This also provides the evidence needed during court trials.
In the movies, there are big, burly surveillance guards who can drag cheating customers out of the building. In some of the larger Las Vegas casinos, there may be specially trained security who have the ability to remove someone from the floor at the time they are caught. Smaller casinos, who have less staff on hand, have the ability to use surveillance footage to forward theft, or cheating, to the local law enforcement to initiate the pursuit of the individual and press charges.
Facial-Recognition and Casino Security
Facial-recognition and casino security go hand in hand. Most casinos incorporate facial-recognition technology in their security systems and policies. Including surveillance systems that include facial-recognition helps casinos recognize individuals who are known throughout the casino industry as cheaters and thieves. These individuals can be cut off at the door and not given the access required to cheat or steal from the casino or its customers. However, there are more features that can be used with the facial recognition technology that reach much further than simply providing added security.
Including facial recognition in the slot machines can provide a new customer experience for gamblers. The system recognizes VIP players and helps to cut down on fraud. As an individual moves around the casino floor, the system can keep track of their locations. This provides staff a better way to handle security than to try to remember what color shirt the guy was wearing. The slot machines can greet the customer by name and also keep track of gambling wins and losses. More or less, outside of the added security, facial recognition systems allow casino operators to automatically know who you are and provide you with the best services available.
Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law, discussed how casinos are enhancing their security using facial recognition technology. He also mentions that it has also brought up questions of concern for customer privacy. “What we’re seeing is this introduction of technology into the gaming industry in ways we’ve never seen before, and because of it, it started to raise issues — or questions — as to how this works and what the ramifications could be for things like patron privacy, anonymity and data protection.”
Automated Video & Audio Analytics
Enhanced security is one of the key benefits of casino surveillance. There is a down-side, which can be the work left to redact the thousands of hours of footage produced daily from the multiple angle camera systems. Before automated analytics was available, the video would face manual redaction processes in which costs could be a disadvantage. Several minutes of a single video could take up to eight hours to fully redact to protect the privacy of their customers. The large cost involved the number of employees required and their salaries to effectively redact the massive amount of video and audio files.
The answer to this is automated redaction software. CaseGuard uses smart algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to bring hours of manual redaction time down to mere minutes. The AI portions of the software are also far more accurate than any human redaction process. Incorporating an automated redactions system like CaseGuard is a cost-saving choice for casinos. The intuitive design makes training employees on a single system easy to handle. CaseGuard has the capacity to redact thousands of faces and license plates in just a few clicks. The benefit of the casino is enormous. The security for the consumers or gamblers, who are guaranteed that their privacy is protected, creates an added trust between the gambler and the casino. When gamblers trust their data to casinos, they also trust putting their money there too.