Casino security is one of the most important parts of running of a casino. Its role is even more important in this present day as cheats and criminals are using more innovative and technologically-advanced methods. That means casino security technology has had to keep up too.
Here’s the real truth behind the security that keeps us and the integrity of the games safe at the casinos.
Protection On All Fronts
The typical perception of the casino security industry is that it’s a secretive sector that is not afraid to push the boundaries to ensure that the safety of staff, players and games is guaranteed. However, the security involved in casino surveillance is far more in-depth and complex than that. There are many many aspects and factors to take into account.
Mitch Cohen, Vice President at Bric Security, estimates that, “the minimum upgrade contract for a comprehensive security system in a casino costs $150,000 with an average value of between $500,000 and $2 million”.
It might appear to be a lot of money but these systems are certainly seen as a necessity and an investment by casino management.
Ideally, the casino security systems will cover all areas of a casino from the gaming floor to the shops, restaurants, hotel rooms, reception areas, entrances, exits and car parks. These are establishments that are susceptible to crime at any time of the day in any part of the premises.
Many players at a casino are probably blissfully unaware of how intensely scrutinized every action is within the casino.
Derk Boss, a licensed private investigator and casino security surveillance expert from Nevada, says “Once someone arrives at our property, if we needed to put together their movements over their entire stay, we could easily do so. We would be able to track their movements on the property just about wherever they went — except for like the bathroom and into their hotel room”.
Even casino staff are monitored by their own management.
It goes without saying that the vast majority of staff at casinos are trustworthy and reliable. Unfortunately, casinos are most vulnerable to those that know how their systems work.
Even though there is an overwhelming financial and practical emphasis on tracking players, it does make sense for casinos to keep tabs on the actions of their own staff.
How Has The Game Changed?
Security in casinos is constantly in a state of flux. Regional President for Americas Oncam, Jumbi Edulbehram, comments that the industry has seen a huge shift from analogue camera surveillance to IP-based surveillance that has the ability to operate across a network.
This makes it much easier for casino managers to efficiently access information.
Edulbehram states, “Another change has been the incorporation of more analytics software that makes video data even more valuable. Built-in analytics play a strong role in helping security managers improve response and understand traffic flow patterns. For example, heat mapping gives important insight into loitering statistics, whereas people-counting tools can track visitors and better allocate staff at a moment’s notice.”
These changes have come as security in casinos attempts to stay one step ahead of the game. Security firms do not wish to show their hand to potential cheats and criminals, so the surveillance methods must remain highly secret at all times.
Places such as Las Vegas are no longer the “Wild West” settings that they were once purported to be. Trouble makers are not driven out to the Nevada desert and buried alive. Suspected cheats are not taken into a back room to have their fingers broken with questions asked later.
Myths such as casino toilets boasting secret doors so security staff can quickly remove the dead bodies of individuals that have committed suicide are dismissed as untrue. However, Cohen does confess that casinos do possess a number of secret doors for the benefit of security and VIP access.
What Does The Future Hold?
The ongoing war between casino security and those that continue to try to breach the walls of protection that this security puts in place is unlikely to ever end.
Cheating is an ideology and it cannot be eradicated. Cheats will always try to find a new way of overcoming the obstacles put in place by casinos and, in turn, surveillance teams will create new procedures and processes to keep the cheats out.
Cohen comments that the future of casino security will involve tagging and chipping of specific casino items to eliminate the potential for counterfeiting.
Advancements in technology will be used to counter cheating just as cheating will attempt to use technological advancements to its advantage.
Other evolutions in security are pointed out by Edulbehram who believes 360 degree video technology, infra-red cameras, data mining, alarming, license plate recognition and facial recognition will become more widely used.
Additionally, Lisa Litchfield of Champion National Security also mentions the continued evolution of cyber security technology. The next generation of 4K eyes in the sky are a particular area set to benefit from technological upgrades.
The future of casino security is a fascinating one. Criminals and cheats will never stop trying to find the next cunning method of taking the casino down.