Friday, February 26, 2016

Casino Game Protection Post: State of the art surveillance systems...Where's the problem?

They See it all, right? WRONG!

We have all seen countless TV programs depicting just how impossible it is to cheat in modern gambling casinos in Las Vegas and across the world. Surveillance and security gurus like the Atrium's Ted Whiting give us demonstrations how they use this ultra-high-tech equipment to monitor their casino floors and then film and nab the casino cheats after gathering all that video evidence. Then, of course, come the big-bad agents swarming to the tables to bust the cheats.

Slam-dunk, right?

Not really.

All those surveillance-camera video sequences you see on TV that lead to putting cheats in jail and saving the casino millions of dollars are certainly true when they happen.

And that is the key: WHEN they happen. The reality is that when you take into account the tremendous volume of cheating that goes down in casinos, all that high-tech video surveillance rarely comes into play--in fact, surveillance itself rarely comes into play.

What am I talking about?

I'm talking about the problem. Which is that what Ted Whiting and the other TV casino-surveillance stars fail to mention on the broadcasts.

It is simply this: the more sophisticated that surveillance systems become, the less capable casino floor personnel become. And this is not difficult to understand. Casino floorpeople and pit bosses lose their motivation to learn and understand casino-cheating because they know that the casino's video cameras will record everything, and all they have to do is wait for the surveillance department to call them and report that they have picked up on a casino cheat and now they, the floorpeople, can go and catch him.

But what they don't know, or at least not take into account, is that the cameras cannot initiate anything themselves. They cannot tell the casino employees on the floor that they have just recorded a cheating incident and that someone should call them, the cameras, for details. Video cameras cannot tap a floorperson on the shoulder and say, "Hey, Mac, a guy on blackjack table #4 just capped his bet after getting blackjack," or, "that girl with the blond wig just pastposted a bet on roulette table #2."

It has to work in reverse. The employee on the floor has to see...or at least suspect...a cheat-move going down, and then he has to call the surveillance operators and report his findings so that they can go review the video evidence.

This is how it should work--but it rarely does. In fact, during my twenty-five-year cheating-career, never...and I mean NEVER...did a surveillance operator upstairs catch on to one of my cheating moves. 

And what compounded the problem for the casinos is that their employees on the floor rarely got suspicious of anything I ever did at the tables. And that's because they simply didn't know what to look for because they figured the cameras would do the looking for them.

And imagine how much worse this problem is now. I've been retired from active casino-cheating for 16 years, and surveillance equipment has only improved exponentially. Which of course means that the capacity of casino floorpeople to recognize scams on their own feet has declined, maybe not as exponentially, but certainly significantly.

So what I suggest to Ted Whiting and any other directors of casino surveillance is to get some good training programs into action to teach their casino floor employees a thing or two about spotting a cheat on their own and protecting their gaming tables.