How Las Vegas casinos catch cheats

Ever wonder how casinos catch card counters and other casino cheats determined to gain an upper hand? MSNBC did a great inside story a few years ago that scratches the surface. But since we’re in the casino business, and since many folks on our team have worked security in real casinos, we thought we’d let you in on the exciting world of casino security. Today, we’re going to walk you through all the ways casinos are able to monitor and catch cheaters.

The Eye in the Sky

Casinos are designed to keep you looking straight ahead or at the ground. After all, that classic casino carpet is always mesmerizing, as are the blaring lights of the slot machine. With so much going on, no one really looks up. But if you do, you’ll notice cameras. Tons of them, usually numbering in the hundreds (and sometimes over 1,000 at the big casinos). The cameras feed into a main command center where dozens of skilled security experts pay attention to everything that’s happening on the floor. The security personnel can zoom in, pan, tilt, and maneuver around the room as if they were right on the floor. And it gets better. These people know what they’re looking for. Each and every one of them knows the ins and outs of every game, and they’re well aware of how players cheat at each game.

Choke Points

Just because you aren’t caught cheating it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually be caught. If a casino suspects a player has been cheating after the fact by reviewing footage, they can go back in time through the magic of recorded video and find out more. The top casinos are designed with choke points. In a nutshell, these are areas of a casino that every player will pass through. And these choke points allow the casino to capture an unobstructed view of each person passing through. Players don’t necessarily know they’re currently in a choke point, making the concept even more amazing.

The Face Database

When a player is banned from a casino, he or she isn’t just kicked out blindly. Photographs are taken and research is done on them. And then they end up in a Face Database. It includes details on which games the perpetrator was caught cheating at, their age, hair color, possible disguises, and pics of their face.

The Sharing of Information

Details on cheats don’t live in a silo. When a player is caught cheating, all information on them is shared with other casinos. And while casinos owned by different parent companies do compete with each other, they all share a common interest in keeping cheats off the casino floor and out of Las Vegas. So a known cheater caught making gains at Bellagio would likely find his or her information shared with Wynn and Las Vegas Sands properties, too.

Eyes from the Ground

It’s not just people sitting in a command center who pay attention to what’s happening on the casino floor. Pit bosses, dealers, and undercover officers are tasked with making sure players are playing by the rules and cheats are kept away.

Thinking of cheating at a casino? We don’t recommend it. Las Vegas casinos are notorious for not being nice to casino cheats. If you must count cards, we recommend doing it online where no one will be the wiser.

Susan Sedlak

Susan Sedlak is a writer based on San Diego, California. Being an avid player, and most importantly, an avid blog reader, Susan knows how to deliver interesting, highly entertaining articles.