The secret to good casino surveillance is not what you think it is. Everybody knows that you have to watch out for the players. The players are coming in to make money, and if that means steeling or scamming, there is no lack of people looking for an easy buck. What most people don’t realize is that 35% of casino theft is actually perpetrated by casino employees. Proper surveillance of casino employees and simple measures can prevent theft.
The first step is hiring the right employees. One of the number one motives for theft is debt. Hiring an employee steeped in debt to work in a place with such a voluminous cash flow is a recipe for disaster. Proper screening of employees is the first step in theft protection.
The second step is allocation of surveillance staff and investigators to specifically monitor staff. They should audit staff both randomly and at set intervals. Not only can this prevent willful fraud, it can also prevent unintentional procedural errors and miscalculations.
The employees are being watched by CCTV cameras 24/7; however, if the surveillance team on the other side of the screen doesn’t know what to look for, it’s useless. They have to be able to identify a ‘tell.’ A ‘tell’ can be body language or other behavior that tells the surveyor that suspicious activity is taking place. One such ‘tell’ is called “rubbernecking.” “Rubbernecking” is, for example, when an employee is frequently looking to the sides to check if anyone is watching him. This is a sign that he or she is performing suspicious activity.
The team must also be able to identify gestures that aren’t being made. One simple theft prevention measure is to require the dealers to clap their hands and present their palms to the CCTV cameras upon the completion of their shift. This prevents chip theft. If a dealer fails to do so, it is up to the surveillance team to be diligent and aware.
Surveillance teams also need to keep an eye out for the way the dealer is dealing. There are very specific requirements for how the dealer must deal, and failure to adhere to the requirements can be a possible sign of collusion between the dealer and one of the players.
One of the most sensitive areas requiring surveillance is the casino cage. Here the surveillance team must watch for a number of ‘tells.’ Here too, the employees must clap and show hands, and weird body language should alert the team. However, because of the large volumes of money being counted, the security measure enacted in the cage is to require employees to lay out all chips and money being exchanged. This enables the surveillance team to count the chips and money as well.
What do you think of casino surveillance? A necessary evil? Do you prefer to play online so there’s no “big brother” watching?