Brick and mortar casinos are establishments which see a lot of cash change hands, and as such, they’re what casino security specialists would describe as a high-temptation environment. Both players and casino personnel are tempted to take advantage of real or perceived loopholes in the rules and the games to commit fraud and crime and it is obviously in the operator’s best interest to prevent and to stop such activities, at all cost.
A buck saved is as good as a buck earned, and because of the potential for crime as the potentially massive loses involved, casino security has evolved into an industry of its own. Most of the major operators have security departments as elaborate and as capable as a full-fledged police department. Back in the days, having some hired muscle patrol the casino floor may have been sufficient, but today, with security departments operating within the confines of actual law, there are scores of experts involved behind the scenes, and intricate surveillance systems at work. While they may indeed cost millions of dollars to run, casino security departments represent an absolutely imperative investment these days.
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Modern casino security departments are made up of two branches: physical security, which includes actual security personnel on the floor, trained and capable of handling calls for assistance as well as reports of suspicious activities, and surveillance, which – at a barebones minimum – consists of a closed-circuit television system featuring several “eyes in the sky”. The two branches of the security department operate in close coordination.
Preventing cheating on the part of the players is by far not the only job of casino security. They protect players from theft, violence, and all sorts of inappropriate behavior, and they also keep their own employees (dealers) in check.
Some of the bigger casinos feature special catwalks built into the ceiling in addition to the eyes in the sky. These catwalks can be used by security personnel to take an up-close look to the action at any of the tables, without people/personnel there being aware of their presence.
In addition to the actual security department, all casino games come with rules designed to prevent cheating or at least to make it as difficult as possible. When playing most card games for instance, players need to keep their hands visible at all times. Even roulette has a set of strict and rather intricate rules all participants must follow.
Card counting in an activity which does not break any of the rules of the casino games, nor is it contrary to any of the laws governing gambling, but individual casinos will escort players caught counting cards to another table (a different game) or straight out of the casino. Casino security experts are indeed well capable of spotting card counters. A player who wins a lot of money immediately draws more scrutiny and suspicion because at the end of the day, the way the house edge and the house drop work should not really allow anyone to walk away a long term winner from the tables.