Mexico’s Winpot Casino in Hot Water Over Hidden Cameras in Bathroom

Posted on: August 25, 2022, 07:26h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2022, 01:11h.

UPDATE: Officers with Mexico’s Ministry of Public Security and Civil Protection agencies have shut down the casino as a result of the former employee’s complaint.

Gamblers know that when they visit a casino, surveillance cameras will follow them almost everywhere they go. Off-limits are bathrooms, except for in the Winpot Mérida casino in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Winpot Casino
Gamblers mill around outside the Winpot Casino in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The casino faces accusations that it installed hidden surveillance cameras in the women’s bathroom. (Image: PorEsto)

A former casino employee made the stark revelation on social media. She accused the property of installing hidden cameras in the women’s public bathroom, and provided images to support her claim.

While still working at the casino, she tried to discuss the invasion of privacy with her bosses. However, instead of engaging in productive dialog, they opted to fire her.

Bathrooms are Common Areas

When the then-employee approached her boss after discovering a camera, she received a reply that contradicts Mexico’s privacy laws. The casino manager told her that bathrooms are “common areas” and, therefore, eligible for the placement of security cameras.

What the manager, only identified as Juan Manuel V.Z., left out was that the law stipulates that cameras must be visible and identifiable. There must also be signage to indicate that the cameras exist.

In Winpot Mérida’s situation, the camera was barely noticeable in the far reaches of a corner of the bathroom. However, it could clearly capture almost everything that was going on, based on the images the employee posted on social media. In addition, a local media outlet reportedly has video and stills the casino captured.

The biggest part the manager missed was that bathrooms are not common areas, according to law. Mexico’s Organic Law on Data Protection and Guarantee of Digital Rights specifically states that “cameras in the bathroom are totally prohibited by law.”

At the very least, the employee wanted to see the casino post a sign to inform those entering the bathroom about the camera. However, the manager refused and instead fired her.

In many areas with a casino presence, the laws permit the installation of cameras only up to the bathroom’s entry. This is the case in Nevada, California, Australia, Spain, and in other jurisdictions.

Pattern of Negligence

The Winpot has previously shown that it doesn’t mind bending the rules to suit its own endgame. Last November, police shut the casino down for violating several rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mexico ordered casinos to shut down no later than 1 AM. But Winpot ignored the directive. When police responded to a complaint, they found the casino had also ignored the maximum capacity regulation in place at the time.

In March of last year, Winpot used COVID as an economic opportunity. Until forced to stop, it was charging non-members MXN500 (US$25.18) to conduct a COVID-19 test before entering the casino.

Hidden Cameras a Problem in Mexico

This isn’t the first time the Mexican public has had to deal with hidden cameras where they shouldn’t be. This past May, students at a school in Monterrey found cameras hidden in the bathrooms. The school is open to elementary and high school students.

After several pupils found the devices in trash cans and elsewhere, they reported the discovery to their parents, who confronted the school’s director. He, like Winpot’s manager, said the cameras were there for security reasons.

Police later charged the director with child pornography, sexual harassment, and more.