It’s no news that the casino industry is a hot spot for criminal activity. The colossal sums of cash that get channeled through casinos online and offline equate to ludicrous amounts each year. Even illegal gambling is producing revenues, and practically all of it remains undeclared and kept off the books. Criminals achieve this through various methods, including money laundering, tax evasion, and if they’re really clever – heisting casinos.
In land-based casinos, it takes a high degree of skill and courage to even think about getting one up over the house – particularly when all the cameras and surveillance teams are monitoring the casino floor constantly. However, online casinos are no better off and can easily be prone to cyber attacks if they haven’t got the correct safety precautions in place.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the various methods and technologies that U.S. casinos deploy in order to prevent being targeted by criminals.
It should come as no surprise that casinos have managed to develop sophisticated technologies that recognize cheaters. The accuracy of this software has led it to become used within other industries and institutions as well, including governments and banks.
One system in particular is known as NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness), which allows casinos to quickly identify whether a player or a staff member has ever shared a room at the casino hotel, or lived at the same address in the past.
Many online casinos use SSL encryption technology to ensure the information stored on their servers is kept secure. This makes it completely inaccessible to hackers and third parties. It is used for securing payments and transactions carried out at the casino, and it also offers protection of players’ sensitive information.
Armed Security & Surveillance
In any land-based casino, security cards are the first point of call for any trouble or conflict. They’re trained to pick up on any suspicious behavior among players and casino staff; often patrolling the gaming floor with a firearm strapped to their belt.
Land-based casinos invest millions into their security every year. One of the most common means of protecting the casino and its patrons is the “eye in the sky”, a closed circuit camera which monitors the tables, hallways, elevators, diners, poker rooms, and anywhere else except the toilets. These systems allow the casino to catch card counters, thefts, hidden cameras, concealed microphones on players, and other suspicious activities.
Casinos in the UK are regulated by the Gambling Commission. Millions in cash is pumped through these operations each day, which is why every land-based establishment must have a cash reserve stored within a secure vault at the venue. These vaults have highly complex features including time delay locks, secure access codes, plus thick reinforced steel for the walls and floors. This makes it nearly impossible for any intruders to gain entry or commit theft.
Most would rather take their chances cheating the tables or slot machines over breaking into a vault. However, even if someone is able to pull off such a stunt, all venues have records which show exactly how much cash flows through the casino. This is closely audited in case of any breaches of security, and can result in an investigation if the numbers don’t add up.
Counterfeit chips used to be one of the biggest problems for casinos many decades ago. These days however, high denomination casino chips are equipped with a special sensor that is scanned by the casino. This makes sure the chip is genuine before it can be exchanged for any cash or prizes.
If a bright spark decides to try and steal a chip from a venue, the casino can simply switch off the RFID tracking so it cannot be used – essentially making it worthless.
While all players must stick to the general rules of the game they’re playing, many casinos also have strict conditions for how certain things should be handled. In craps, for example, you’re only allowed to hold the dice with one hand. It can only be thrown; not tossed or rolled, and it must be thrown against the wall which is furthest away. The dealer and players are not permitted to hand chips to each other; every bet and winning chip must be laid on the table before they can be collected.
Roulette is also governed in a similar way for security purposes. Players and croupiers must not touch the chips after “no more bets” have been called. Players are not allowed to collect their winnings from the outside until all winning bets have been paid out in the same box. This prevents players attempting to steal other people’s chips.
Facial Recognition Software
This sci-fi concept for facial recognition is still quite new in casinos. It works with an intelligent system that works with cameras, and uses keyword face-matching searches to identify and locate criminal patterns. This forensic video evidence can help recognize guests who may have been banned from the casino or caught stealing in the past.
It does have some sales advantages as well – such as giving the casino the ability to quickly see if a VIP or high-roller has entered the venue. It’s also highly useful for solving difficult scenarios where video evidence might be required, such as proving if a player has rightfully won a game or jackpot.
Facial Recognition is still yet to take off properly, as it hasn’t proven to be as effective as hoped. The main issue is people moving too quickly for the technology to read the information. In the next 10 years or so, however, it’s likely to become a far more accurate platform and less susceptible to these kinds of problems.
Monitoring Casino Staff
It doesn’t matter who you are on the gaming floor, every individual is a potential suspect. That goes for the casino staff and employees too. Some of the most notorious casino heists have come from punters teaming up with blackjack dealers and roulette croupiers. One white paper study published by Cisco found that approximately 50% of casino losses are as a result of employee thefts and scandals. 34% of arrests for suspected robbery and cheating were also found to be casino staff.
These facts just add to the reason why surveillance and security in casinos is so important. All recruits must undergo a background check before they can settle into a career at land-based establishments. When it comes to online casinos, it’s much harder to get away with cheating because even the live dealers are being watched by the operator; not to mention the fact that all the online players can see exactly what’s going on in real time too.
For anyone looking to steal from a casino these days, the odds of a successful heist are very slim. Casinos both online and offline are continuously implementing new technologies that are capable of recognizing crooks in seconds. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve throughout the next few years, it’s probably only a matter of time before the dealers and croupiers themselves are automated.
Thinking about it, Robot Roulette sounds pretty fun if you ask us!
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