Casino Security: How Do Casinos Keep Their Money Safe?

One of the most important aspects of running a casino is the security side of operations due to the lucrative amount of transactions that take place within the venue every day but what exactly does the security of a casino entail?

Casino Security. (Source:
Casino Security. (Source:

Why So Secure?

Security is a very detailed part of casino management because it is essential in protecting the money, property, employees, and players at the casino itself. The risk of crime, theft, and inappropriate behavior is higher on the premises of casinos than at other retail premises because of the large amount of money that passes through the casino and is kept on site at the casino every day.

Back in the early days of casinos, the security at a casino simply consisted of a few bulky security guards who were on hand to deal with any trouble. There were also catwalks positioned above the casino floor that allowed security personnel to walk the length and width of the casino floor at ceiling level to keep an eye on proceedings. However, as the industry became more profitable and more money poured into casinos it became clear that improved technology and measures were required to deal with crime.

What Security Systems Are Put In Place at Casinos?

Casinos in this modern era are now made up of a physical team consisting of trained security professionals and a state-of-the-art closed-circuit television system (CCTV). The physical team can deal with any issues on the casino floor and react immediately. The CCTV acts as the “eye in the sky” and can keep an eye on the more subtle attempts to break the rules of the casino. A casino on the Strip in Las Vegas like the MGM Grand is likely to have over 2,000 cameras connected to more than 50 monitors with them all being viewed and scrutinized by a number of individuals.

The evolution of technology has also seen a number of other systems introduced at casinos across the globe. These go from the low-key ID verification scans to ensure nobody under age enters the casino to the more elaborate facial recognition software that helps casinos to identify any black listed or suspicious individuals that have entered their premises.

Some casinos have exclusion lists in place. Casinos are at risk both legally and financially if they allow a player who should be on an exclusion list, be it at their own will or due to the request of a third party, play at their tables. So making sure the exclusion list and those on it are kept up-to-date is essential. Failure to do so could result in the casino being fined or even having its gambling licence revoked.

A bizarre security technique used by casinos is a far more passive one. Simply watching and waiting. Armed takeovers of cages can be a terrifying experience. One might assume the initial response from a casino would be an immediate security reaction. However, casinos will instead hold their security off. They will use their digital technology to get as much coverage of the incident and the individuals involved as possible and will then let the accomplices escape.

Why? The casino knows that a confrontation is more likely to result in a violent end which is not in the best interests of the employees or players at the casino. The security will kick into action as soon as the culprits leave the premises. The culprits are then often tracked down using CCTV and eye witness evidence as well as spending habits and activity of the suspects which can often be traced due to the chips or cash stolen being marked and linked to the casino.

How Much Money Does a Casino Keep On Site?

This is one of those questions that really depends on the laws and guidelines of the jurisdiction that the casino is operating within. For example, the Nevada Gaming Commission states that a casino must have enough cash on its premises to cover every chip that is in play on its casino floor. This figure can vary depending on what time of the week and year it is. The big Las Vegas casinos such as the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace will be looking to hold anything up to $70 million on the average week day. This figure approaches $100 million on a weekend. However, for big occasions such as sports fights, Spring Break, or March Madness this figure can increase even further to approximately $150 million. It goes without saying that this figure is not quite as high for the smaller casinos, but even the smallest of establishments would be looking to keep at least $20 million on site.

How Do Casinos Store Their Money?

Money held within a casino is present in two forms. Chips and cash. The chips are in play across the casino floor. These chips are tracked. This ensures that any chips that are part of an attempted robbery will be flagged up if they are used at the casino or at another casino in the future. The cash reserves are stored in a series of safes in the vaults of the casino. You will no doubt have watched a classic Hollywood movie such as Ocean’s Eleven where the plot revolves around breaking into one of these vaults and stealing the money inside. The movie only gives you a rough idea of the scale of security put in place to protect these funds from theft.

What Do Casinos Do With Their Money?

At the end of the day, casinos are business set up to make profit. The phrase “the house always wins” is commonly used because it is not far from the truth. A casino is there to make money for itself and not the players. Money that is made by the casinos is not only used to replenish their on-site stocks but to also pay their employees, improve the security at the casino, and invest in the business itself.