Dodsferd
Dodsferd
Joined: Jun 10, 2015
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June 13th, 2015 at 1:28:16 AM permalink
Keep in mind, the following is written in relation to the gaming laws and regulations outside of Vegas, particularly for Canadian gaming.

Surveillance, it’s in every casino, you see the domes everywhere, but what do they see? Have you ever wondered if you’re being watched? What information is recorded? What is kept, and for how long?

What do we do?

The primary objective of a Surveillance department in a casino is asset protection. This primarily means that the department keeps an eye on any monetary transactions going on within the property, as well as liability protection for the casino and its employees. The department will have a multitude of tools available for their usage, from a powerful CCTV system, electronic logs and databases, as well as a network of information usually shared among other properties, and other separate entities.

What can we see?

CCTV systems are made up of both fixed cameras as well at PTZ domes. Gaming regulations may vary, but for the very least, you’ll be looking at fixed cameras on every progressive jackpot machine, point of sale machines, entrances, tables, cash out windows, safes, and back of house areas.

PTZ cameras will be present everywhere, with major focus on overlapping coverage of the table pit, wide angles and coverage over slot floors, any lounges / bars, high traffic areas, exterior angles on adjacent parking lots, walkways, loading docks, etc.

Recording quality again will vary in accordance to gaming regulations, but you should expect at least a 30 fp/s, 4CIF (Common Intermediate format) video quality. – On this note, I’m not sure what sort of quality you can expect with an Analog system. I’ve only ever used digital, and it can get scary from there.

The system that we personally use, records well above the minimum standards, with enough PTZ control to be able to zoom a PTZ in on a table from a physical distance of ~30 feet away, and be able to read lines of text from a book, or text on a cellular device.

Depending on manufacturer, PTZ control will include a number of utilities that enhance the operator’s ability to perform their job, most notably are functions like a 180 degree button to swing the camera around, a turbo to enhance the speed, various physical pre-set locations to auto zoom cameras in.

PTZ control is most handy in the event of an incident occurring, which involves Security’s attendance. In this aspect, the operators on shift will be making sure to collect facial shots of any parties involved, as well as keeping coverage of the entire interaction with Security, for as long as the subjects remain on property. This footage is then exported from the system and saved to an external source where it will not expire, and can be distributed to other properties, law enforcement, or used as evidence in court.

What do we record?

Gaming regulations require casinos in our province maintain a continuous recorded history of 7 days. The footage is recorded in a FIFO format (First in, First out) and is continually re-written over as new footage is recorded. In the event of something noteworthy requiring an indefinite expiry, it can been isolated from the DVR system it is recorded on, and exported to an external source, such as a physical or networked hard drive.

When it comes to the topic of Advantage Play, or Persons of Interest, there are a few different things that get pieced together. There isn’t always a specific route of steps to take, but more of a list of things we gather for getting our information. Initially, a zoomed in photograph of the individual is taken with a PTZ, along with any associated information at the time. Typical information collected about individuals includes:

1.) Full legal name
2.) Place and date of birth
3.) Type of Identification used, Place of Issue, Identification #
4.) Full address of residence
5.) Any available phone numbers
6.) Occupation
7.) Known preferences for game types

In Canada, an entity known as FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada) require all transactions above $9,000 to be documented with the first 6 items listed above, and submitted to them via fax or E-mail. Without following this procedure, patrons are issued a stop play until they comply with providing this information.

Given the above requirement set forth by the Federal Government, buying in or cashing out $9,000 or more in a 24 hour period, effectively gives the casino all of the required information we would potentially need to circulate to other properties. If a patron attempts to skirt around the limit by cashing out just under the limit, or holding on to the chips, a Suspicious Transaction may be filled out in lieu of the $9,000 required report. This STR (Suspicious Transaction Report) requires the same information, and is essentially just another way to glean the information we use to track players.

How do we identify Advantage Play, or Persons of Interest?

The most common way information is gathered from a player, is through the required documentation of FINTRAC. This gives us all the potential information we could need to identify anyone with substantial funds playing in the casino.

Advantage play is really only a concern at my place(s) of employment, in regards to the tables. Never in my employed history have we ever investigated any players for any VP play or any slot play in general.

When a person is suspected of actually knowing what they’re doing, we gather what information we can, and pass it along a confidential network, accessible by every other provincial casino.

For Blackjack, it’s really not difficult to identify someone who may be counting, as any AP knows the signs themselves. We have the added advantage of having all of the play recorded, so we are able to rewind back, and count down a shoe along with the suspected players. If we determine through review that a player is in fact counting, we send word down to the pit and inform them of our findings, and anyone who’s been backed off, can tell you what happens next.

This essentially covers what first comes to mind in regards to this department, but I’m more than happy to provide what details I can in regards to whatever else may be of interest.
This feeling is heavy, makes my body ache and I'm ready; To fall into the sky and I see now, the reason why. My heart is heavy, takes me to a place I can't breathe. Only then I know why I see the warning sign.
Canyonero
Canyonero
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June 13th, 2015 at 2:09:48 AM permalink
That's some great information! Thanks and welcome to the forums!
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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June 13th, 2015 at 2:59:26 AM permalink
Quote: Dodsferd

When a person is suspected of actually knowing what they’re doing



I chuckled at that
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
1BB
1BB
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June 13th, 2015 at 3:47:08 AM permalink
I'd also like to welcome you to the forum, Dodsford, and say that I'm sorry you were doubted. That shouldn't happen. It's not fair to put new members under the microscope or to be rude to them because of a couple of bad actors. I also don't think administrators should be having open discussions about new members in front of the entire forum. I figured you were legitimate by the way you spelled behaviour early on. British or Canadian was my guess.

This was a great post! When we hear that surveillance can follow a patron from the time they enter a property until the time they leave, is that really true? Are there any blind spots besides the restrooms? Do elevators or any other areas have audio?

What is the casino's relationship with the police? For example, will they run a license plate just because you ask them to? What training does security go through? Are they "mall cops" or something more?

What is your policy on misuse of the cameras? We all know boys will be boys. Are they allowed to follow attractive women and point the camera at their chests?

I have a friend who worked surveillance at Foxwoods and he used to tell me that local police departments would bring film to the casino to be enhanced. Say a grainy film of a convenience store robbery or the like. Is casino equipment that good?
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
Hunterhill
Hunterhill
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June 13th, 2015 at 4:03:40 AM permalink
So if someone were to win a slot jackpot of $9000 or more do they need to provide their information to the casino, Since gambling winnings are not taxable?
The mountain is tall but grass grows on top of the mountain.
RonC
RonC
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June 13th, 2015 at 4:55:27 AM permalink
Quote: Dodsferd

When a person is suspected of actually knowing what they’re doing, we gather what information we can, and pass it along a confidential network, accessible by every other provincial casino.



As we've discussed many times around here, casinos don't want players who know what they are doing...

Quote: Dodsferd

For Blackjack, it’s really not difficult to identify someone who may be counting, as any AP knows the signs themselves. We have the added advantage of having all of the play recorded, so we are able to rewind back, and count down a shoe along with the suspected players. If we determine through review that a player is in fact counting, we send word down to the pit and inform them of our findings, and anyone who’s been backed off, can tell you what happens next.



I get that you can figure out who is counting, but do you also track whether a counter is doing well or not?
Dodsferd
Dodsferd
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June 13th, 2015 at 5:14:31 AM permalink
Quote: 1BB

This was a great post! When we hear that surveillance can follow a patron from the time they enter a property until the time they leave, is that really true? Are there any blind spots besides the restrooms? Do elevators or any other areas have audio?


Thank you :)
Yes, we can. In some past incidents, I've had to maintain live CCTV coverage of people for an excess of 8 hours. As long as they're in view, they're on tape. Again, this is more for something escalating to court than anything else.

Edit: Forgot to answer the rest of this question; You can't have perfect coverage with directional cameras. We cover what we can, the best we can, but it's also in the hands of the operator. A well experienced operator will maximize the coverage, and minimize the blind spots when able. Elevators usually have cameras as well, although at least in Canada, audio recording is still strictly legal only when one party is directly involved in the conversation being recorded. Most CCTV systems are set up to include audio channels, but we don't use them (Thank God, as I don't want to hear the Bacc tables.)

Quote: 1BB

What is the casino's relationship with the police? For example, will they run a license plate just because you ask them to? What training does security go through? Are they "mall cops" or something more?


About the same as any other civilian really. I've called 911 beyond count in my career. Sometimes CPS will let us know some information if we work with them long enough, but they don't really reveal too much. Security receive basic customer service and a PPCT (Pressure Point Control Tactics) training. I - Myself started out as Security. Some teams are better than others, some are a little more interested in just getting into fights. It's a department fueled by littleman syndrome.

Quote: 1BB

What is your policy on misuse of the cameras? We all know boys will be boys. Are they allowed to follow attractive women and point the camera at their chests?


We operate (the professional ones at least) with the intent of standing up in court showing what we were filming and why. Sure, I recognize that attractive people walk around all the time, but my job is to protect the assets of the company, and the people I work with. I won't say that people haven't been ogled before, but honestly, I feel it's a little gross.

Quote: 1BB

I have a friend who worked surveillance at Foxwoods and he used to tell me that local police departments would bring film to the casino to be enhanced. Say a grainy film of a convenience store robbery or the like. Is casino equipment that good?


Casino systems are among the top CCTV available from my experience. I'll still have new CPS officers enter the room and be blown away by what clarity we can see. Our latest technology that is being included into casinos are megapixel PTZ cameras, which are freaking phenomenal. Imagine getting a face shot of someone from across a football stadium, like they're standing in front of you.

Quote: Hunterhill

So if someone were to win a slot jackpot of $9000 or more do they need to provide their information to the casino, Since gambling winnings are not taxable?


Yes, they still forfeit their information. Regardless of tax exemption, every $9,000 limit gets pegged. Even a 75 year old woman playing for 12 hours, if she reaches that limit, she gets ID'd.

Quote: RonC

I get that you can figure out who is counting, but do you also track whether a counter is doing well or not?


Absolutely. It's not uncommon for high rollers or PoI to be tracked. Some of the players I've watched over the years have spreadsheets counting their buy ins, cash outs, and effective +/- for the day, as well as a running total. These logs can go back ~5 years depending on how often people play.

I know of at least 4 counters who we let play on a regular basis, just because they are horrid at actually making money. Kind of a sick industry really.
This feeling is heavy, makes my body ache and I'm ready; To fall into the sky and I see now, the reason why. My heart is heavy, takes me to a place I can't breathe. Only then I know why I see the warning sign.
Hunterhill
Hunterhill
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June 13th, 2015 at 6:15:56 AM permalink
I wonder if the law has changed or if it's different depending on the province.? 5 years ago i hit a 20k royal on vp and declined to give Information and my partner hit a 12,500 payout on a table game and also didn't provide information.
The mountain is tall but grass grows on top of the mountain.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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June 13th, 2015 at 7:07:05 AM permalink
Quote: Dodsferd

I know of at least 4 counters who we let play on a regular basis, just because they are horrid at actually making money. Kind of a sick industry really.



I think one of those guys started a thread here LOL
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
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June 13th, 2015 at 7:42:20 AM permalink
I'm certain I've read this article somewhere else before.
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!

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