Have you ever strolled into a casino and felt the feeling that you are being watched? Your every move monitored? The truth is you are, and so much more. You, as a patron, are only a small part of the picture in the world of Casino surveillance.
The surveillance Control Room is one of the securest rooms in the casino building, rivaled only slightly by the Vault and count rooms. The control room monitors all staff and patron activities on the premises via visual, audio, and access control. Surveillance is the eyes and ears of the casino.
The Surveillance Control room consists of highly trained staff and houses an array of specific tools and equipment. Surveillance monitors all patron and staff movements continuously? All live games, casino chips, and money coming in or out is monitored and recorded. Let’s see how they manage to achieve this!
The Surveillance Control Room
The Surveillance Control room is a very secure area in the casino, with a single point of entry, a blast-proof door, and no windows. The control room runs on a separate air-conditioning unit and has its own power backup and fire suppression system.
The surveillance control room must function independently from the main building. This is to maintain an operation base in the event of a disaster situation. It can lock down and manage the key areas if required.
Surveillance Employees Roles
Inside the Surveillance room, employees are assembled in separate groups or hubs, each with a specific area they will be in charge of monitoring. This allows staff to not become overwhelmed with the mass of information received in the control room but rather just receive information from the area they monitor.
The surveillance employees are not encouraged to interact with the gaming staff to prevent any bias in any fraud investigations.
The Surveillance System
The Surveillance system is designed so that the operator has access to all the information required to assist or analyze a specific situation that may arise on the premises. The following are just some of the main tools that are used:
Static High Definition Cameras And Audio
High-quality cameras are placed strategically to cover every square inch of the premises.
This can range from large box cameras with fixed lenses to pinhole micro-cameras that can be placed almost anywhere.
All table games, cashiers, and security areas have audio synchronized with their specific camera view.
Pan Tilt And Zoom (PTZ) Cameras
The PTZ camera is beneficial to the surveillance system. These cameras follow any target, be it static or moving. They can zoom in for a clear facial picture or on any small object. The PTZ cam is programmed to move by itself at specific times and view strategic areas when an operator is not using it.
Every camera view is recorded, and video footage is kept between 7 and 30 days, depending on the security risk or area. The recording is done on hard drives in a RAID system that can duplicate the information if a disk fails. All investigations and incidents can be archived for as long as needed.
The control room controls all secure areas, and anywhere money is counted. Doors that lead into secure areas have alarms or buzzers that sound in the control room when opened.
This is usually done with dual access; the staff member can’t open a secure door with just their access card. Surveillance will need to identify them and grant their card access every time they enter or exit. This is all done electronically; thus, Surveillance can control who enters and who does not.
All keys for offices, safes, or storage may be signed out by selected Casino staff members only once Surveillance has granted them permission. This is achieved by the control room issuing a unique Occurrence Reference number that must be presented and logged at the key issue office. When the specific key is signed back, Surveillance will be informed.
Monitoring Staff And Patrons
Below are a few examples of how guests’ are monitored on the premises.
Most casinos now require all patrons to register for a player’s reward card. This will allow the patron to add funds to the card for slot machines and table games. The card allows staff to recognize patrons when they play in the gaming area, but this is all materialistic to what Surveillance can see.
All cash transactions, purchases at restaurants or at loyalty stores, patron win/loss, and at what table or slot machine they were at any given time can be monitored by Surveillance. They can even determine where you have parked and which entrance you have entered.
A Patron scan is usually conducted every 30min. This requires a facial clip of every patron and body language monitored for suspicious activity. A patron scan is done on the entire gaming premises.
Casino employees are monitored their entire shift from when they enter to when they get searched at the end of the shift. They use their access card to gain access to certain areas. Surveillance can see exactly who or where staff is at any given time on the premises.
Live Game Monitoring
Whether it’s Roulette, Back Jack, Craps, or slots, a surveillance person is watching and reporting.
The surveillance employees monitoring the live games have received rigorous training. They have extensive knowledge of all potential payouts and possible fraud that may occur on the gaming floor.
Any irregularities noted, such as incorrect payouts, Slot machine tampering, or fraud, are quickly dealt with and corrected. If the incident is more severe, an investigation will be launched.
Monitoring The Money
The Casino vault and count rooms are under continuous monitoring. The staff members are required to annunciate all their actions that are being performed with money.
The Casino Vault
All casino playing chips and money must pass through the vault. All money issued to a staff member or banked must be annunciated and displayed to a camera to maintain audio, visual, and physical records. All note counters and scales are interfaced to display on the camera view.
The Count Room
The count rooms are similar to the vault but have mirrors placed on all the walls. This is to allow a minimal chance of a staff member committing fraud. They follow the same procedure set as the Casino vault, and the staff members are searched every time they leave the count rooms.
Surveillance is there to protect the company assets, staff, and patrons visiting the premises. In any situation, the Surveillance control room is the nerve center of the casino. The staff are very well trained and have access to some of the market’s best monitoring equipment.
They can be a good friend to you when needed, but they can supply all the evidence required by the authorities to efficiently do their job.
Do not let this detour you from enjoying yourself when you visit a casino; you will be in good hands from the eye in the sky if all your intentions are good. But for the few that would like to partake in the wrong side of the law. Beware someone is always watching.