Security Systems in Casinos: CCTVs and Facial Recognition Networks.

Posted on September 23rd, 2009

Modern day casinos focus a lot of time on their security systems- something that is not suprising given the amount of money that flows though a big property like Bellagio´s on The Strip in Las Vegas. When you have players in The High Roller Rooms playing up to $100,000 a hand you are not going to leave the security to a fat man in a brown suit who is half asleep by the entrance door. Fascinating, don´t you think? Well, if you are interested, we´ll go into a little more detail.

In fact casino security is a billion dollar industry in its own right. There will always be scam artists and fraudsters targeting these businesses. The potential gain is just too tempting. So the casinos play a highly expensive game of cat and mouse in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the scammers.

You can broadly split casino security into 2 areas. The physical “casino police” who patrol the gaming floor and ensure that nothing untoward is going on. They are also there to ensure the safety of their customers. And the technology and global network behind the scenes, which enable the casinos to identify and ban known fraudsters and to quickly pick up on any shady dealing. Often the problem comes from inside the casino- employees are targeted for “Insider Jobs”, so the casino management has to monitor its own workforce for any irregularities as well.

The technology that sits behind the scenes include the CCTV network (the  casino’s closed circuit television known parochially as the Eye in the Sky), and a global communication network and database check that enables casinos around the world to identify know fraudsters quickly.

Many casinos have catwalks above the tables and slot machines that are hidden by one way glass. So next time you are playing blackjack in Vegas or Macau look up! You might be looking up someone´s trouser legs without even realising it.

Things to Look Out For
We always find it fascinating when you go into a casino to try and spot what is going on behind the scenes. It may feel as if there is nothing in particular going on, but take a closer look around you.

What about the guy leaning over the slot machine doesn´t appear to be playing? How many table manager´s can you see next to the roulette table? It´s normally easy to spot one, but can you see another guy who is slightly less obvious watching from a different angle?
They are there to make sure that there is no “past posting” going on (where you place a chip after the whell has stopped), or that none of the players are stealing chips from each other. They are looking out for weird betting patterns too, and tables that seem to be paying out above the average.  Everyone working in the casino is being tracked by a supervisor to track how much money their tables are winning or losing.

Sophisticated “Eye-in-the-Sky” cams allow the security team to watch what´s going on across the entire casino. The footage is also recorded, so they´ll have evidence that stands up in court if something fishy has been going on. Casino games over the length of an evening always tend to follow patterns of winning and losing, so if something sits outside of the ordinary, it is relatively easy to spot. Then it´s just a case of working out what the scam is.

Facial Recognition Systems
Perhaps one of the biggest development in casino security systems of recent years has been the spreading of networked facial recognition systems. These systems build up a database of the facial features of known casino fraudsters and scam artists and enable the casinos to share information across the globe and identify potential scammers before they have even had the chance to bet at the tables.

The Venetian Casino in Macau which is the world’s largest casino, uses VisionAccess 3D Face Readers to check its employees are who they say they are when they start their shift.

The 3D face reader is a hands-free biometric device that checks your faces in milli-seconds by matching the structure of your face against a database. Very Gattica!  It beams a just visible near infrared light grid onto your face and then takes a picture. In this way it has reduced the amount of illegal workers in the casino (no system is perfect, not even this space age one).

So not only are you clocked in or out, if you have had a rough night out on the tiles, the machine will know!

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