An 'eye-in-the-sky' at the Trump Taj-Mahal casino.

Photo courtesy of Raul654

Casino Security

Something about gambling (probably the presence of large amounts of money) seems to encourage people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot, instead of trying to win by random chance. That's why casinos spend a large amount of time, effort and money on security.

Security starts on the floor of the casino, where casino employees keep their eyes on the games and the casino patrons to make sure everything goes as it should. Dealers are heavily focused on their own game, and can easily spot blatant cheats like palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses watch over the table games with a broader view, making sure patrons aren't stealing from each other and keeping an eye out for betting patterns that could signal cheating. Each person in the casino also has a "higher-up" person tracking them, watching them as they work and noting how much money their tables are winning or losing.

Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech "eye-in-the-sky" that allows security personnel to watch the entire casino at once. Cameras in the ceiling watch every table, change window and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on certain suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors. The video feeds are also recorded, so if a crime or a cheat is detected after the fact, the casino can review the tapes and find out who the culprit was. Note slot machine payouts are determined randomly by the computer chips inside the machines. No one watches the slot floor and controls the payouts.

There is a more subtle aspect to casino security -- the routines and patterns of casino games. The way the dealers shuffle and deal the cards, the locations of the betting spots on the table and the expected reactions and motions of the players follow certain patterns. When someone does something out of the ordinary, it's a lot easier for security people to spot it because of the patterns.

Here are some tips on casino rules (written and unwritten) that will help keep you on casino security's good side:

  • Never touch any game equipment (i.e., cards or dice) with two hands. Try to avoid touching things at all, if possible. But if you need to, such as a blackjack game where your cards are dealt face down, or at the craps table, only use one hand. Keep the cards or dice above the table and in view of the dealer at all times.
  • If you're not playing a game, it's OK to watch, but don't disturb the other players.
  • Don't touch your chips once you've placed your bet, and don't collect your winnings until all bets have been paid up.
  • Don't reach all the way across a table to place a bet, especially if it means you might knock over another player's chips. Ask the dealer to place the bet for you.
  • Never place any items other than chips on the gaming table.