Inside The Secret World Of Casino Security

security guards at desk

We’ve all seen those suave guys strutting into the casino vault in Oceans Eleven. With the right tools and a solid plan, it looks doable right? Wrong. Turns out buildings with over $30 million stored inside them are pretty well protected.

George Clooney might have fooled you into thinking that breaking into a casino isn’t any different from robbing a bank. Don’t let that silver hair trick you, the man’s a liar. The reality is that pulling off a casino raid is one of the hardest things on the planet to do. Even good old fashioned cheating isn’t easy.

From straight up armed robbery to swiping a few chips from the table, when it comes to criminality the house almost always wins. How do they manage to keep such a tight lid on hustlers, thugs and crooks?

Here’s how:

You’ll Be Lucky To Even Make It To The Tables

No matter how well you’ve planned your heist, it could all be over before you’ve even got out of your car.

Number plate recognition software is widely used across the casino industry. It reads your number plate the second you enter the car park. Then it lets security know exactly who you are, where you’re from and what previous convictions you have.

Don’t try and get smart by using fake plates either. When the system runs the numbers and draws a complete blank, security will be on you like a pack of wolves.
French casinos are using eye scanning

The Problem With Your Face

So, you’ve made it past the car park or you’ve decided to be clever and just arrive by foot. Your next hurdle is going to be facial recognition software.

All the cameras in the casino are connected to smart facial recognition programs. These take photographs of every single guest’s face and then check them against mugshots of known criminals, cheaters and even people who’ve simply been ejected from casinos before.

This whole process takes about 3 seconds.

If your face shows up on any of these checks, expect security to be marching you out of the building in under 2 minutes.

Vegas Invented Anti-Terrorist Surveillance

how much money in casino safe
Casino security cameras go even further though. It was the casino industry who invented the NORA (Non Obvious Relationship Awareness) tool back in 2010. NORA technology is now used by homeland security to trace links between suspected terrorists.

NORA is a software program that analyzes multiple databases and tells security staff if two suspected people, like a cheating player and a dealer, have anything in common. The software can notify the surveillance team if the pair have ever shared an address, called each other, sent each other emails, shared a hotel room or used the same Internet connection.

Ready For The Floor?

There isn’t an inch of casino floor that’s left uncovered by HD surveillance cameras. Security guards also rely on a heap of other techniques to spot scoundrels though.

All casino security operators are trained in reading body language at an advanced level. They take the same courses as the TSA agents you’ll see in every airport who are there to look out for terrorists.

Casino security guards look for everything from suspicious behavior, signs of unease and attempts to conceal weapons right up to tiny things like rapid eye movement.

One security guard on Reddit said they often approach guests just because they ‘JLDR’. This a special codename for suspicious behavior and means a person ‘just doesn’t look right’.
hooker robs gambler in Vegas casino hotel

Robot Security Is After You

Even if you’re planning on basically robbing a casino legally by playing super smart blackjack, you could still run in to some serious problems.

New technology including AI programs like TableEye21 will track your play and if you’re playing with too much of advantage, the casino will throw you out.

Prem Gurujan is the guy who made the software. He says “You get a printout of the player’s skill level, how much you can expect to win from him and whether the dealer is making errors. Since the system tracks the player’s bets, the casino knows exactly how good a customer the player is.”

If learning perfect blackjack strategy sounds like way too much effort to make, you could go down the route of cheating. Just don’t do it at the Mirage’s baccarat tables.

The Mirage is one of the first Vegas casinos to use software called Angel Eye. It’s a scanning device which sits inside the plastic box that dealers take their cards from. It reads ultraviolet symbols on the cards and raises an alarm if a player has swapped in one of their own cards without a special symbol on it.
how many security cameras at Bellagio casino

How about bribing a dealer and going into business with them? You could make a lot of money working together with a dealer who always makes sure you get the best cards. Thanks to technology, that’s a no go now too.

A company called BrainChip have just developed another type of artificial intelligence software that collects all the video footage from a dealers table and automatically lets security know about any dealer errors.

The Casino Can Get Inside Your Mind

Another handy add-on casinos use is a special infrared detecting camera. It scans your body and analyzes whether particular body parts are warmer than normal.

It’s scientifically proven that cheaters’ body temperatures rise when they cheat, so even if you look calm on the outside the casino will still know what your mind is busy doing.

In this day and age the casino’s only potential weak spot is its network security. Because almost all of their modern anti-theft and anti-cheating methods rely on digital technology, the most reliable way to steal from a casino is by hacking into their computer systems.

The Only Way In Is Online

how hackers stole from Australian casino
Hackers have been successful before. In 2013 a group of students took $33 million from an Australian Casino.

The group teamed up with a high-roller who was sent into the Crown Casino in Melbourne whilst the rest of the group hacked the casino’s surveillance cameras at the table he was playing at.
Sitting comfortably at home, the hackers were able to see exactly what cards the dealer and other players had.

The group then fed the info to the high roller using a simple set of signals. Over just 8 hands of baccarat, the team managed to win $33 million.

By the time that the security team discovered what had happened, it was too late. The casino is still trying to recover most of the money.