Casinos are a wonderland of decadence, where everything from the opulent decor to the free drinks are meant to lure gamblers into throwing their chips in the hope that they’ll win. But something about gambling — or maybe just the idea of winning a lot of money by chance — seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security.
The basics of casino security start on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on patrons to make sure nobody’s stealing or cheating. Those eyes are supplemented by cameras in the ceiling, which give security workers an “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire casino. Each camera can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors.
In addition to watching the patrons, security personnel also study patterns. Dealers, pit bosses and table managers all have a set routine for dealing cards, shuffles and betting, and security staff look for deviations in those patterns. They’re also on the lookout for blatant cheating like palming or marking dice, as well as more subtle signs of cheating such as a shift in betting patterns.
In the past, mobster money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas casinos, but federal crackdowns on organized crime mean that legitimate businessmen now have more cash to play with than the mob. Many have even taken sole or partial ownership of casinos.