Mitigating Risks and Liabilities in Casinos with Video Surveillance
In an industry that is continuously facing threats of hacking, theft, and fraud from customers and employees, security cameras are an integral part of a successful casino or other gaming activity. The gaming industry was among the first industries to adopt CCTV technology in the 1960s and 1970s, and most casinos mounted hundreds of CCTV cameras, concentrating on tables, dealers, clients, slot machines, bars, pit floors, restaurants, and lobby. Security personnel, when constantly watching camera footage, began to notice common patterns of behavior among offenders, cheats, and fraudulent employees. Close observation of these trends, along with a complex system of security cameras, foot patrols, and pit bosses helped casinos identify and eliminate crimes such as pickpocketing, employee stealing, and card cheating. In many places where gaming is common, security cameras are now required by law to track gaming tables and dealers at all times. Casinos are also obliged to keep a record of any incidents or violations recorded on video.
It’s important to note that ALL activities in gaming areas need to be recorded and archived for predetermined periods of time, according to federal and state gaming regulations. Recording requirements may vary from one gaming location to the next, and significantly impact the design and costs of gaming surveillance operations. Consultation with a knowledgeable systems integration company is recommended to navigate specific compliance requirements. This will help to ensure that the new system you are installing or upgrading meets those requirements and that you remain on budget while maintaining gaming operations.
Given recent security incidents in public places, guests are becoming more responsive to the presence of visible security technology. The mere existence of cameras may also give your visitors peace of mind, realizing that your property and your staff are mindful of their well-being and personal safety. Besides, merely having security cameras visible at the Bellman Station, your front desk or your casino store will help dissuade criminal activities before they take place. Such a deterrent can be further reinforced by the installation of public view cameras, such as live video recordings of the patrons at the front entrance or the reception desk.
Digital security cameras are superior in several respects to their analog counterparts. Classical CCTV cameras were connected by coaxial cable to an analog (VHS) recorder and stored security footage to video cassettes. Digital security cameras can be wired or wireless and send video to a digital recorder or server where it is stored. Like bulky cassettes, digitally captured footage has an infinite shelf life and takes far less effort to store and arrange. Digital security camera footage is of a much higher quality than analog footage and enables closer observation in a casino-like setting. Wireless technology allows security personnel to have a much closer look at a table or dealer without having to worry about wires or wiring. Cameras can be quickly maneuvered and rearranged to adapt to new security threats, and remain unobtrusive yet concealed from the general public.
Facial Recognition Systems in Casinos
Facial recognition systems are based on computer programs that analyze photographs of human faces for the purpose of recognizing them. Casinos and other gaming establishments are starting to rely on state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to ensure that clients who have violated casino laws will not try to re-enter the establishment. Facial recognition technology helps the camera to scan and identify faces and facial features independently, and compare them to a database of banned customers.
Facial recognition is a form of video analytics, a kind of “smart” camera technology that can locate and monitor objects in its field of vision, particularly people. Future developments in video analytics technology will not only allow cameras to recognize faces but will also monitor suspicious behavior. Because casinos long ago separated the types of shifty-eyed, rubbernecking actions of alleged card cheats and tricky employees, using behavior-tracking video analytics technology cameras could make security scores for casinos and gaming more effective and efficient.
As with any form of image-based analytics, the quality and consistency of images are critical contributors to system performance. Ultra-high-definition cameras can provide extensive details of the scene and broaden the scope. Camera features such as Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) help contribute to the accuracy and quality of the video image in places such as casino entrances where changing lighting conditions occur all day long. The combination of facial recognition analytics with modern camera technology can prove to be the most efficient solution for identification.
Although customers’ crimes are the major concern for casino management, pilferage by employees is also a problem. The integration of video cameras into POS systems has become a sophisticated operation. When a transaction is voided, cameras strategically positioned on a cash register can provide solid, deterrent, and irrefutable evidence of a crime. VMS alerts on cameras placed on loading docks will alert activity monitoring and security personnel when no activity is expected to occur. Functions such as heat mapping can detect loitering or provide information on a range of activities, and people-counting software can help monitor pedestrian traffic and better assign personnel at a given time to specific sites and/or events.
Advanced IP cameras can also provide meta-data to help casino security staff scan the recorded video quickly to identify related activities, during investigations or in response to requests from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Besides the investigative benefits that this offers, data-mined video can also aid with predictive analysis by bringing together otherwise unrelated events to alert security personnel of suspicious activities that may signify an imminent situation.
Perhaps even more important is the ability of advanced video surveillance systems to help casinos maintain compliance with gaming regulations. Established by state agencies, gaming regulations set stringent specifications for video systems deployed to monitor gambling operations relative to image quality and recording. Knowing which IP video surveillance solutions deliver higher quality images at faster frame rates that can be stored for longer and with automatic video redaction to comply with privacy, will help ensure continued compliance.
Successful video surveillance and protection strategy for casinos that integrate new advances in video imaging technology can help raise awareness, protect people, assets, and properties, and identify potential threats while maintaining compliance regulations for gaming.
Video analytics has become a must-have tool for advanced surveillance. Video analytics has the ability to provide real-time event detection, video search, and graphic visual presentation of valuable data extracted from surveillance footage that can be used for a variety of purposes. In a casino, analytics serves two primary goals: real-time anomaly detection and post-event investigation.
Real-time event detection is used largely for parking lots and other high-risk areas. Alerts will be issued upon detection of predefined events, such as loitering and vehicles moving in an unauthorized direction, with security staff immediately notified of suspicious events, allowing them to respond promptly.
A post-incident investigation is significantly enhanced by automatic search capability. Among other purposes, this allows casinos to conduct investigations and to verify potentially fraudulent accident compensation claims.
Video analytics allow a security team’s time to be optimized efficiently by automating searches for a far more effective time usage instead of being heavily occupied with observing hours of footage in search of a specific person or incident.
Privacy Concerns Raised by Facial Recognition Systems
By just walking in or around any gaming establishment in Boston, New York, or London, you are probably going to be recorded by many security cameras. Some of them in possession of security personnel, most of them in possession of private companies who have security cameras. As a society, therefore, we have gotten used to the idea that we are being constantly photographed. What’s different with facial recognition technology is that we are losing the anonymity we used to associate with video. So, it’s not just walking past a 7-Eleven, and the security camera notes you are there. There’s a chance that the 7-Eleven will know you’re there specifically, as an individual, and they know how many times you’ve been through in the past few weeks. That’s what has really changed in recent years is the ability to analyze and compare these results, and draw conclusions from them. It really does raise a whole host of new questions about privacy.
More scandals regarding corporate privacy are due to a lack of transparency than any other reason. With that said, organizations should disclose the use of biometric surveillance whenever practical. We recommend that clients disclose that face recognition is in use to protect the public, including signs and public disclosure assistance, to help encourage this in actual practice. Security issues, however, are preventing overt signage in some very unique cases such as government intelligence. Many circumstances may prohibit those tasked with protecting public spaces from disclosing that they are using biometric monitoring since a covert method can make it easier to capture dangerous criminals.
Still, we believe that it’s critical to us all – in every industry – to help lead our clients into a state of greater transparency by the use of video redaction software. Our society is on the move towards transparency, as various brands have announced their use of automated video redaction alongside face recognition.
Whatever business you find yourselves in, always encourage and comply with transparency policies. The best way to encourage brand loyalty at the end of the day is through an authentic social contract built on TRUST that personal information recorded in documents, videos, and audios remains confidential. It’s the right thing to do, and automatic video redaction software guarantees just that!
The casino industry has a tremendous responsibility to protect customers, staff, and properties-not to mention strict regulations to do so-but it is not easy to accomplish this mission. Gaming establishments today rely on technologically advanced security solutions to improve their overall patron experience while ensuring their atmosphere is secure. Nonetheless, disparate approaches working in silos can be expensive and inefficient. With a solution that incorporates video surveillance with access control, video redaction, automatic license plate redaction, and analytics, casinos and gaming establishments can easily spot situations on the floor or in the back alley, track money transfers, avoid employee theft while complying with transparency policies and confidentiality standards. They can find evidence quicker, automate reporting of video incidents and easily share data for more successful investigations while maintaining their guest’s privacy.