10 Things You Need to Know About Casino Security

By in Tips & Advice on
6 Minute Read

Thanks to movies and television shows, casinos enjoy a mystique of invincibility. Only the most secretive and successful of movie criminals ever get away with stealing from a casino.

But there may be more truth in the early scenes of Ocean’s Twelve where Terry Benedict tracks down Danny Ocean’s team than in the scenes where the (good) bad guys come out on top.

Casino security is patient. They may not always be able to take action but they watch and record everything. If they miss something, they go back and review the video.

Sooner or later, the security teams figure out what is going on beneath their noses.

1 – They Cannot Arrest You If You Haven’t Committed a Crime

Unless you’re playing in a jurisdiction that confers powers of arrest on casino security guards, they cannot legally hold you just for being a suspicious person. If you commit a crime in a casino or are wanted, the security team can detain you until the police arrive.

If the casino feels you are a risk to their profitability or disrupting their customers’ entertainment, they have the right to ask you to leave. If you refuse to do so you are then trespassing and they have legal rights.

On the other hand, if a certified police officer is on duty at a casino, either as security staff or for official purposes, they can detain you if they become suspicious. Where and when off-duty police officers work in private security is determined by their jurisdictions.

3 – They Share Information About Known Cheaters and Counters

Card counting is not cheating, but casinos are not required to tolerate it. They’ll make a call on whether to ask someone who is counting cards to either stop or leave. If you become good enough to be banned from a casino, count on their sharing your information with other casinos.

Cheaters are, of course, breaking the law. If caught, they will be arrested and prosecuted. But after a known cheat has been released from jail, they will find that casinos have long memories.

Although some people resent the fact that casinos make huge profits from gaming, everyone has a choice not to spend their money on gambling. No one is entitled to cheat the casinos just because they don’t like losing.

3 – More Casinos Are Using Facial Recognition Software

This controversial software has been made available at gaming industry trade shows for a few years. It’s expensive, and privacy advocates are concerned about it. But you need to know it’s out there.

Facial recognition software, like many tools deployed for security and crowd management, can be beneficial. A family that becomes separated from a child may be swiftly aided by a facial recognition system.

Casinos track people in several ways. Casinos often know more about many of their patrons than any law enforcement or intelligence agency does.

People claiming to be successful card counters in online discussions sometimes talk about wearing disguises to fool the facial recognition systems. The practice is not illegal, but casinos don’t have to put up with it.

And some jurisdictions pass laws that forbid the use of disguises to evade police. California has a law like that. If you commit a crime there and disguise yourself to get away, you’re committing two crimes.

4 – Casinos Have Used Machine Learning for Over a Decade

Jeff Jonas founded a company that was known as Systems Research & Development until 2005 when it was purchased by IBM.

The company provided software to casinos to help them identify relationships between dealers and gamblers. Jonas also helped develop facial recognition technology that was widely deployed around the world by 2008.

5 – Tax Laws May Force Casino Security to Track Your Movements

Casino Bar

Although this varies by nation and regional jurisdiction, casinos are required to report large wins for tax purposes. The thresholds vary around the world. I’ve had to fill out paperwork for jackpots over $1200.

If a player wins a jackpot, goes to their room, changes, and goes back to play again, casino security may be watching them to ensure their winnings are properly reported.

If the casino is part of a resort with a hotel, assume the hotel security system is linked to the casino security system.

6 – Casinos Usually Won’t Confront Armed Robbers

Employee and customer safety comes first. If a brazen criminal or gang enters a casino with weapons, the security staff do what they can to protect the people inside while avoiding violence.

Casino security is patient and meticulous. They’ll record everything that happens and ensure the evidence is turned over to police.

Criminals may get away with armed robbery in a casino, but after that, the odds favor the house. The more money that is stolen, especially if anyone is harmed, the more intense the search for the suspects becomes.

7 – Casino Security Rarely Intervenes in Third-Party Crime

Casinos and prostitution go way back. Unless a sex worker is delivering services on the premises, casino security just watches.

On the other hand, if a patron threatens suicide, casino staff will call the police or, if reasonably possible, restrain the person.

Minor thefts often occur at casinos. If security can catch the thief without causing a problem, they may take action.

They are more likely to save video for a police investigation.

Security officers may pay more attention to dealers who are in a position to harm the casino’s business.

8 – Casino Security Teams Share Stories and Experiences

There are both academic and commercial security training programs for the gaming industry. Security consultants also provide expert advice and training to casino staffs around the world.

If someone committed a crime in a casino, especially a big crime, it has been studied and analyzed and shared in classes with security officers and managers.

Although a lot of petty cheating scams are covered, training courses may cover large-scale cheating systems. One casino caught 60 people working together to steal chips from a roulette table.

9 – Insurance Companies Are Deeply Involved in Casino Security

Casino-Camera-in-Ceiling

People often dismiss news of big crimes where a lot of money is stolen. In the movie Ocean’s Twelve, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) mentions that Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) recovered all his losses from the previous heist through insurance.

But insurance companies are beholden to their owners and policy holders to recover as many losses as possible. They also invest a lot of money in loss prevention programs.

Loss prevention specialists develop guidelines for policy holders to follow. The degree of compliance with those guidelines may affect the cost of premiums.

No matter how rare the event, if a casino cashes in an insurance policy to cover losses by theft, the insurance company will assist the investigation in every way possible. They’ll also perform a “post-incident analysis” to help prevent similar future losses from occurring.

10 – Native American Casinos May Use Tribal Police for Security

They will still be polite and professional. Protecting staff and patrons’ lives is still their priority. But whereas the security guards in Vegas and other commercial gaming communities must wait for the police, most (if not all) Native American casino guards are the police.

They pack guns, wear uniforms and badges, and know what they are doing. The First Nations casinos often make more money than commercial casinos.

In theory, they should be more attractive targets. But while crimes do occur at Native American casinos, they are generally considered to be very safe.

An unfortunate side effect of any type of casino’s good security provision is that it’s generally easier for criminals to prey on gamblers away from the casinos.

Conclusion

The general public may think of the conflict between casinos and the people who try to rob or cheat them as a cat-and-dog rivalry. When you look closer at how much security experts know before the next thief walks in the door, it starts to look more like a cat-and-mouse game.

Casinos will let people get away with almost anything if that is the only way to protect people and property. But once their employees and customers are safe, the security teams leap into action and analyze the incident.

What they learn from every scheme and crime is paid forward into the industry’s growing pool of knowledge and experience. By adopting and improving good security policies, the gaming industry remains profitable and creates a safe, family-friendly environment everyone else can enjoy.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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