The Science of Casino Security

On the face of it, a casino seems like a fantastic opportunity to commit a crime, and to some extent this is true.

The idea has made it into popular culture through films like Ocean’s ElevenTakersThe Sting, and even video games like Grand Theft Auto. However, there have been significant amounts of cash lifted from real-life casinos that have inspired these films and games.

From Anthony Carleo’s brazen robbery of the Bellagio, where he simply grabbed handfuls of chips and drove away on a motorbike, to the more high tech scam in the London Ritz, which involved lasers, a computer, and mobile phones to determine probabilities on a roulette table, casinos are constantly having to deal with criminals attempting to take their money.

To prevent these thieves from succeeding, casinos, both online and in cities like Vegas, have invested heavily in some cutting edge security technology and, in this article, we’ll be looking at some of that tech and how it is implemented.

Staff Security

Of course, casino robberies happen about as often as shark attacks do, but when they do, they often involve casino staff. This, of course, makes sense, as staff working for the casino, particularly in the security departments, have the greatest ability to circumvent those same security precautions.

To mitigate this issue, casinos operate a “man-on” system in which another staff member, usually a higher up person such as a table manager and pit boss, is assigned to oversee a dealer and watch for signs of theft or any attempt to signal a player in order to defraud the casino.

Security Equipment

From the moment you arrive at a casino, you are being tracked by some of the most high-tech security in the world.

When you pull up in the parking lot, license plate recognition systems are already scanning your car and comparing your license plate number to that of know cheaters and troublemakers.

As soon as you step in through the doors of the casino, you are being picked up by advanced camera systems such as Angel Eye, created by Angel Playing Cards which tracks the cards being used at various tables to ensure that players cannot replace cards during the game.

If you are thinking of using a gang of confederates and, let’s say a computer in your shoe, to win at roulette, you might want to think again. Most high-end casinos now employ NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness), to spot groups of individuals working together.

According to the tech website Popular Mechanics, NORA can quickly ascertain if two people have ever even lived near each other and predict if groups of seemingly unconnected people are working together.

Even modern casino chips are high tech, each one fitted with a microchip that emits a certain radio frequency. This means fake chips can easily be identified and the radio frequency can be changed to “lock out” stolen chips

Online Security

Of course, for the modern casino, physical security is just one factor to be taken into consideration. Online casino companies adhere to all regulations set out by the governing bodies so, for example, companies like Betway provide a safe and secure environment for players to just relax and enjoy their game.

In addition to instituting a fair hardware random number generator system, to keep their slots fair, online casinos also have to deal with attempted hacks, data mining, and the creation of fake accounts to cash in on generous casino bonuses.

These attacks are usually defeated by the use of solid online security infrastructure, firewalls, and some of the same Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness techniques used by brick and mortar casinos.

While the sheer amount of security employed by casinos can evoke a certain amount of gambler’s paranoia, it also serves to keep the casinos’ patrons safe. In addition to catching card cheats and troublemakers, casino security also stops pickpockets, thieves, and can even alert staff when a customer is having a medical emergency.

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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