The best casino security teams understand evolving risks and invest in the people, processes and technologies needed to mitigate those risks.
Casino security is a top priority, but complex to achieve. Employees can steal cash or poker chips (internal theft), players can cheat (external theft) and robbers can target cash-handling areas or cash deliveries. As the old saying goes, “Criminals go where the money is.” Casinos are a prime attraction for thieves and con artists, as many famous movies (such as “Ocean’s Eleven”) have shown.
As a Casino.org post on how casinos keep money safe explains, “The risk of crime, theft and inappropriate behavior is higher on the premises of casinos than at other retail premises because of the large amount of money that passes through the casino and is kept on site at the casino every day.” So how do casinos typically enforce security? Here are seven best practices:
1. Employee Screening
Internal theft is a massive problem in all industries, especially those involving large amounts of cash. Casinos manage a lot of cash, so ensuring that employees don’t embezzle funds (i.e., take company money for private use) is the first line of security. Casinos carefully screen the backgrounds of candidates, looking in particular for criminal records involving theft or prior embezzlement. Hiring employees who have integrity is step one for security.
2. Trained Security Staff
A casino’s security team observes everything that’s happening inside a casino. They walk around, using their eyes and security cameras to watch for internal theft, player cheating or any other security breach. When trouble happens, security launches into action to protect the casino’s assets. A highly-trained and experienced security professional, someone who knows what to look for, may be the best line of defense a casino has.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are placed all over a casino, acting as security’s “eye in the sky.” These cameras send video feeds to monitors, which the security team watch in order to detect signs of trouble. The cameras are also great investigative tools, allowing the casino security team to go back and review suspicious activity, and perhaps share it with police authorities as evidence of crime.
4. Facial Recognition Software
Casinos have a database of excluded players, those with a history of cheating. As CCTV cameras zoom in on players, they run captured images through facial recognition software that cross-references players against a blacklist. If a player gets flagged as “excluded,” the security team will receive an alert and can then remove the blacklisted individual from the premises. This technology is improving rapidly, and casinos are a prime user of it.
5. Digital Tracking of Chips and Cash
Another technology involves tiny tracking devices that can be embedded in poker chips or cash that give off a signal that security can track. So even if a “bad apple” employee or outside criminal steals poker chips or cash, these assets can be tracked and retrieved.
6. Data Security
Casinos collect a lot of data about customers and employees. Keeping that data safe, whether from external hackers or internal threats, is a major component of security. Internal threats can be malicious or simply due to incompetence. IT systems need to include appropriate security procedures and employees must be trained in how to comply with security standards. Data security requires a careful coordination of systems, processes and people.
7. Careful Coordination
Security is a team effort involving the security team, security technology, casino gaming employees, local police and others. The sharing of information, data and observations is a key success factor for security. Security works more effectively when everyone shares the same goal and technology is leveraged to achieve that goal.
So it’s clear that casino security is a continuous priority and a constant challenge. The best casino security teams understand evolving risks and invest in the people, processes and technologies needed to mitigate those risks.