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Security Cameras in Gaming

Published by Jennifer on December 19, 2006 7:28 AM

In an industry constantly facing threats of cheats, theft and fraud, from customers and employees, security cameras are an essential element of a successful casino or other gaming operation.

Gaming was one of the first industries to adapt CCTV technology in the 1960s and 1970s, and most casinos installed hundreds of CCTV cameras, focusing on tables, dealers, customers, slot machines, bars, pit floors, restaurants, and lobbies. Security personnel, while constantly viewing camera footage, began to notice common behavior patterns among thieves, cheats and dishonest employees. Close observation of these patterns, along with a dense layout of security cameras, along with foot patrols and pit bosses have helped casinos isolate and decrease crimes like pick pocketing, employee theft, and card cheats. In many areas where gaming is popular, it is now required by law for security cameras to be monitoring gaming tables and dealers at all times. Casinos are also required to keep footage of any crimes or violations caught on tape.

Digital security cameras are superior to their analog counterparts in several ways. Traditional CCTV cameras are connected to an analog (VHS) recorder by coaxial cable, and record security footage onto video cassettes. Digital security cameras may either be wired or wireless, and transmit footage to a server or digital recorder where it is stored. Unlike bulky cassettes, digitally recorded footage has an indefinite shelf life and requires much less effort to store and organize. Footage from a digital security camera is of a much higher quality than analog footage, and allows for closer observation in an environment like a casino. Wireless technology allows security personnel to get a closer look or better view at a table or dealer without having to worry about cables or wiring. Cameras can be easily maneuvered and re-arranged to adjust to new security threats, yet still remain discreet and hidden from the public.

Casinos and other gaming operations are beginning to capitalize on cutting-edge facial recognition technology to ensure that customers who have violated casino rules will not try and re-enter the facility. Facial recognition technology enables the camera to independently seek out and recognize faces and facial features and match them to a database of prohibited customers. Facial recognition is a type of video analytics, a kind of “smart” camera technology which is able to find and track objects, especially people, in its field of vision. Future developments in video analytics technology will allow cameras not only to recognize faces, but track suspicious behavior. Since casinos long ago isolated the types of shifty-eyed, “rubbernecking” behavior of suspected card cheats and deceitful employees, using cameras with behavior tracking video analytics technology could make casino and gaming security scores more efficient and effective. Not only would video surveillance cameras be able to independently identify suspicious behavior, they could also monitor the movement of customers and employees throughout the casino, monitoring how long they spend in certain areas. This data is valuable for marketing campaigns and can help casinos maximize their revenue while making their business safer and more effective.