Things You Should Know About Casino Surveillance
If there is anything more enigmatic within the gambling world, it must be the casino surveillance operations. While we all know that they are somewhere above us, clandestinely monitoring our every casino move, few of us are aware of the exact nitty-gritty behind their operations.
If you are a fan of the casino movie genre, you must have noticed the unmissable presence of the “big brother” following every move of the leading film protagonists. And, it wouldn’t take you long to spot an odd camera, or two peppered around key vantage points of the casino floor, each time that you visited your local gambling house.
While the first image that springs to mind is that of a stealthy group of undercover agents, huddled together in a small room and glued to their surveillance screens while observing every move that we make, the truth is somewhat more complicated.
To reveal how these secretive sleuths really operate, we suggest that you read further.
Duties of a Casino Surveillance Officer
Being a casino surveillance officer means that you need to possess an array of skills, ranging from spotting wrongdoers on the casino floor to compiling comprehensive reports about any suspicious activity. This is especially important, since catching repeat offenders is as critical than pinpointing a once-off misdemeanour.
The primary responsibilities of a casino surveillance officer include:
- Survey the casino floor – with the help of cameras and audio equipment, the officers continually scan the casino floor to spot any underhanded activities conducted by either the gamblers or the staff members.
- Identify advantage players – Advantage players are those players that use non-criminal methods to maintain an edge over the house (e.g. counting cards at blackjack). While the actions of these players are not illegal per se, they can be banned from a casino based on the frequency of their offences.
- Spot players that cheat – There’s no grey area when it comes to cheating and cheaters will face the full might of the law if caught. If spotted, surveillance officers have the right to detain crooked players before handing them over to the police. Should law enforcement ask for evidence of the incident, the surveillance officers need to provide the corresponding footage.
- Monitor the cage – the “cage” is where the client-facing cash is kept and where the cashiers interact with gamblers. Keeping an eye on this area allows the surveillance officers to identify any cunning cashiers or players that might be in cahoots with them.
- Remove unruly gamblers off the floor – With alcohol flowing freely and fuses short, some players can occasionally go a bit bonkers. When this happens, surveillance might be called up to identify and provide backup to the security team to get these players safely off the floor.
- Generate incident reports – whether an incident is caused by an advantage gambler, a crooked employee, a cheater, or as a result of any other matter, a report needs to be submitted to the management. This is usually the responsibility of a surveillance officer.
What Does One Need to Qualify as a Surveillance Officer?
It might appear that a wannabe surveillance officer might first need to have a solid tech and IT background to qualify for the job. The reality is that this is not the case, and most officers that apply for the job only have a high school diploma.
If successful, the candidate will need to obtain a surveillance officer’s license that will cover their law enforcement and gaming surveillance competencies. Also, once hired, the incumbent can undertake additional classes and programmes to further hone their skills, either through the casino or via an external educator.
And, it can be a lucrative career path. Well-performing officers can earn over CA$60,000 per annum, which is not too shabby if you ask us.
Challenges Encountered by Surveillance Officers
The primary concern facing most surveillance officers is the admissibility of video and audio footage as prime evidence in a criminal case. Although it is often seen as a welcome boost on the side of the prosecutors, occasionally the evidence alone has been deemed as insufficient in certain high-level cases.
Although casino surveillance officers have often been stereotyped as having only one duty of staring into their computer screens, their job description goes beyond just manning cameras. In fact, they are a crucial lever within the casino security system. And, through their actions, they make the casino environment safe and fair for honest players to enjoy themselves in.