In a Casino the ever looming threat of criminal activity is always there and is always high. Which the chance to acquire too much money and with the opportunity to turn your life around in one night, it is understandable that people visit casinos time and time again with the sheer intention of slipping past the system and cheating.
Since the birth of computer surveillance (or CCTV as we know it) the level of security enforced by casinos has got greater though, and now the sheer intricacy and advancement of the technology used can usually pinpoint any suspicious behaviour or any cheating before you’ve had a chance to leave the building.
In the world’s most famous gambling and gaming city, Las Vegas, you can find some of the most technically advanced equipment protecting the money and funds and making sure no one walks away with something they haven’t won fair and square. Every now and again an insider will come forward and spill the beans on just how advanced the systems are, which is what Jeff Jonas (founder and chief scientist of Systems Research and Development) did. In a conference talk he proceeded to reveal the intricacies of the facial recognition software he helped developed and the fact that most high-end, large casino’s world over would now own something similar to it.
Facial recognition is something which tracks the depth and structure of your face – meaning that if you’ve been recognised as a cheater before, the chances of you successfully returning to that casino are very limited indeed.
Jonas also scrutinised the system though, claiming that in large casinos (such as The Bellagio in Las Vegas) the security isn’t being watched as often as it should. Jonas estimates that in a large scale casino there are perhaps 2000 CCTV cameras capturing footage but the footage would only be scrutinised and analysed if someone was inning big and arousing suspicion with large, unexpected amounts of money.
Casinos are flexible about who they let win and lose too. If you go into a casino and someone spots you counting cards (either by floor surveillance – a person working on the floor who has noticed your behaviour) or by CCTV, you will be watched for a short while and your skills examined. If you look as though you are making poor choices and frequent mistakes, the casino is likely to let you continue playing and continue thinking you’re winning. They know from experience that people like this won’t beat the house and that the house always wins. For the more experienced card counters, they will often ask them leave the premises immediately.
Jonas noted though, that even casinos play games themselves, he talks of a time when a successful card counter came as a guest of a high spender and celebrity. The card counter (although taking the casino for upwards of $20,000) was allowed to continue cheating “unnoticed” because his friend (the high spender) was busy losing millions of dollars on another table. In the case the casino’s win way outweighs their loss – so they put up with the cheater as it meant the high spender would stay.
But it’s not just the guests of the casino that are under the watchful eye of security and the surveillance methods. Many hotels and casinos have introduced just as high security and screening to watch their own staff and employees. The casino employees are just as much of a risk, to the point where many Vegas hotels will plant “moles” in the staff to simply watch and survey others behaviour on a close-up basis. Even without planting moles amongst the staff some casinos are extra cautious about their workers though. Dealers are expecting to send private signals to the CCTV at the end of dealing a game to indicate they’ve finished (with most this is a clap and then a palm facing gesture towards the table camera). If it is noticed that a dealer fails to complete this, suspicion would definitely be aroused and an investigation would no doubt take place.
Overall it’s clear that the levels of security at play are high, but isn’t that what you expected? With films such as Oceans 11 exposing the nature of casinos and the level of crime often taking place within them, often the casino owners are left with little more choice than too place the ultimate CCTV and surveillance.
Big Brother is watching: Gaming Surveillance was written on behalf bingo.ladbrokes.com.