These days, walking into a casino security room is reminiscent of a high tech spy adventure. A tightly weaved network of cameras, scanners and sensors populate every inch of the casino floor to keep a constant eye on players. Everything from players’ movements and play styles to estimates of their long-term worth to individual casinos is recorded and studied through some of the world’s most advanced security systems.
In Las Vegas, casinos employ surveillance technology and spy gear that has been used to develop better security measures for big banks and even government agencies, and the impressive security systems don’t stop with Sin City.
Think back to your favorite films about the heyday of Mob controlled Vegas casinos. In each one, you’ll likely remember pit bosses eyeing something suspicious and alerting the bosses. As great as this system is for movies, it isn’t enough for major casinos who could, potentially, lose millions in a single night to a team of crafty players. As cheating strategies have continue to remain on the cutting edge of casino security limitations, the world’s largest gambling establishments have developed a nearly unbeatable network to help ensure that the house advantage is always in play.
Casinos have a vested interest in being innovative, because they are constantly vulnerable to less than honest players. That’s why Las Vegas, as well as other gambling hotspots, has become a sort of proving ground for a variety of types of surveillance technology.
Take, for example, the gambling industry’s Non-obvious relationship awareness (NORA) software. This program allows casinos to instantly determine if a player and dealer have ever shared a phone number or lived at the same address. While, in the past, finding a link between casino staff and players could take weeks through the use of a private investigator, security evolved to meet the industry’s rising demand. Now, the NORA software is being implemented into the Homeland Security department of the United States to help identify terror suspects.
For a preview of the future of the casino security industry, there’s no better place to look than the blackjack tables. A system called TableEye21 uses video cameras and video analysis software to track casino chips and identify players who employ card counting strategies to limit the house advantage. With this information on individual players, casinos will know the skill level of players from the moment they enter the casino.
Casino security is in an endless period of evolution as managers play a cat and mouse game with cheaters. The days of having one pit boss and a single camera to fool have long since passed, and continuing advancements are making it much harder to beat the house. The industry has come a long way since the Mob casino days, and the advancement shows no signs of slowing down.
The good news is, for both players and casinos, gambling is safer than it has ever been before. Whether protecting you from suspicious individuals hiding in a stairwell or catching a player switching cards at the baccarat tables, the evolution of casino security has made casinos much more inviting to players from all backgrounds.