Casino Surveillance

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Walk through a casino and look up at the ceiling, you will see cameras everywhere.  They’re usually covered with a Plexiglas dome, and someone in a surveillance room is operating the camera watching and waiting.

The Function of Surveillance

The primary function of casino surveillance is to protect the assets of the company.  They’re looking for customers who attempt to cheat the casino while playing the slot machines or live table games (blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, etc.)  Surveillance is also looking at employees who handle money or casino chips.  Anyone who can threaten the assets of the company is being watched all the time.

Who Can Threaten the Assets

Casino patrons who try to manipulate the dice on a crap table or mark cards on a blackjack table.  There is a multitude of ways they bad guys use to cheat and win.  They usually get caught, for a couple of reasons:  They’re not very good at doing it and they’re greedy.

The most costly offense to a casino’s assets is employee theft.  Patron’s might steal and cheat, but that’s short term.  When an employee steals its long term.  They do it everyday little by little, hoping they won’t be noticed. 

The Most Vulnerable Area

The most vulnerable area for employee theft is the count room.  That’s where money is taken that has not yet been counted.  Slot machines have boxes inside called bill validators.  That’s where the player’s money goes.  The slot machine reads the denomination of each bill but does not keep a running count.  The same applies for the live table games where the dealer puts the player’s money.

The procedures for count room employees are strict and must be adhered to.  A good surveillance team will watch the count team for as long as it takes to count the money in each box.  Because the money has not been counted prior to entering that small count room, there is no dollar figure to match.  There are more cameras in the count room per square foot than anywhere else in the casino.  For instance, in a 12’ x 12’ room there might be 30 cameras on the ceiling.

It might not be as glamorous as Ocean’s 11, but I enjoyed my career in casino surveillance.

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