Last year, casinos in the UK grossed £13.0 billion – that’s a lot of money handled. However, these kinds of profits have made casinos a prime target for theft – whether by players or even staff members. So, it’s hardly surprising that security has become a top priority for the gambling industry.
But how exactly do casinos typically enforce security? Here are five examples; ranging from simple to highly complex operations.
1) Employee Screening
Believe it or not, the extent of the security processes used in casinos starts directly with its employees. Internal theft is a huge problem for casinos. In fact – several casinos have previously attributed 50% of all losses to employee theft. Casinos manage a lot of cash, so ensuring employees aren’t taking advantage and embezzling the profits is the first line of security.
To help prevent the risk of internal theft, casinos carry out extensive background checks on job candidates. This includes a criminal background check, for casinos will not hire anyone who has been convicted for financial or violent crimes and a reference check from previous colleagues and bosses, where they’ll ask about an individual’s trustworthiness and competency with numbers.
All employees in the UK must also obtain a Personal Functional License (PFL), or Personal Management License (PML) through the Gambling Commission before even considering a job in a casino.
2) Facial Recognition Software
Casinos have databases full of banned players, for example those with a history of cheating. Previously, casinos would have to manually recognise guests who have caused problems through CCTV surveillance systems. However, the introduction of facial recognition has completely transformed how casinos monitor and identify unwanted guests.
Through facial recognition, casino CCTV cameras can run captured images through the software that cross-references players against the blacklist. This way, casinos will instantly know the moment that banned players enter; making the casino safer and more profitable. The software cannot be tricked by new haircuts or other disguises either, for the software detects someone based on the thousands of location points on an individual’s face.
3) Security Staff
Acting as the backbone of a casino, the security staff are the ones who observe everything that’s happening; using their eyes or security cameras to watch out for player cheating, security breaches and internal theft.
For example, the surveillance officers are in charge of using video and audio equipment to monitor every single movement made on the casino floor by members of staff and players; mostly watching out for cheating and theft. They also have to re-watch footage and review suspicious activity and potentially share it with the police as evidence of a crime. Alternatively, a games manager is responsible for circulating amongst gaming tables to ensure regulations are being conducted correctly, e.g. checking the dealers are following house rules.
A highly-trained and experienced security professional, someone who knows what to look for, is possibly the best line of defence a casino has.
4) Chip Tracking
Perhaps one of the most advanced security measures in casinos is how they track their chips. Considering these are used to represent money, it’s essential no players or employees are able counterfeit or steal them. This differs completely to when you, for example, play casino on Paddy Power, as there is no risk of copying casino chips online. Here are a couple of examples of casino chip tracking security:
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a form of electromagnetic technology that automatically identifies and tracks the tags (which contain electronically stored information) attached to objects.
RFID casino chip
In casinos, these RFID tracking devices are embedded inside the chips and contain information on their monetary value and location. For example, if a player tried to steal chips to use inside another casino, they can be tracked and retrieved. RFID chips also help prevent counterfeiting, dealer mistakes and player cheating.
UV Security Prints:
An ultraviolet (UV) security print is a feature that safeguards chips against copying or counterfeiting. The technique uses a combination of UV and infra-red (IR) inks, making the security marks only visible under UV or IR light. Serial coding can also be added to enhance the security of chips further.
With casinos handling large amounts of money every day, strong security measures are a necessity, but also a constant challenge. However, the best security procedures are carried out by those who understand the evolving risks and constantly invest in processes, people and technologies to reduce these risks.