7 Casino Technologies They Don't Want You To Know About

Movies make casino cheaters seem like modern-day Robin Hoods, but don't be fooled. Regulatory agencies toss around jail sentences faster than mob goons used to break knees. But casinos can't prosecute what they can't catch; everything starts with detection.

Casinos are better than ever at stopping theft — employing a complex web of advanced technology to nab cheaters before they can slink away. You're being watched before you even enter the door.

Licence Plate Readers

Your car can get you tossed off casino property long before security sees your face, thanks to cameras packing licence Plate Recognition technology. It's pretty straightforward: the camera snaps a picture of the licence plate of every car pulling into the casino. Optical character recognition software converts the letters and numbers on the licence plates into text. The number is then compared against the plates of undesirables and known gambling addicts. If your licence plate comes up hot, security turns you away before you even reach the door. The process is automatic and lightning-quick.

Image: PlateRecognition.info

Biometric Face Recognition

Your face is scanned by cameras the minute you enter the door. Most casinos rely on security personnel manning high-megapixel digital cameras to identify unwanted guests, but a new technology is beginning to make the rounds at some establishments: biometric face recognition. The tech's still young, but it has the potential to change casino surveillance forever.

There are two types of biometric systems out there: dumb and smart. Dumb systems automatically detect human faces and grab a snapshot of every person entering the premises. Smart systems do that too, but they then analyse the face of each guest and compare them against the images of undesirables in the casino's database. If the system finds a match, it alerts security.

As useful as smart biometric facial recognition sounds, not everyone is sold on it. "I don't believe in the success of biological facial recognition," says John Connolly, the chief agent for Eye on the Action and manager of the Casino Surveillance & Security Society. "Most of the images captured are taken from cameras either on ceilings or just below, therefore we see the head of the suspects from an angle which is usually above the subject's head." Connolly says "the time it takes to search through large databases" is another drawback.

Angel Eye

Even if a cheater's Groucho Marx glasses and moustache combo gets him by the biometric facial scanners, the odds are still against him at the baccarat table, thanks to a nifty little system known as Angel Eye. Designed to put the brakes on a rampant card-switching problem in Asian countries, Angel Eye relies on bar codes placed on each card with invisible ink.

As the baccarat dealer deals cards, a sensor in the dealing shoe keeps track of the cards being dealt and transfers the information to a computer. After the cards on the table are revealed, the dealer presses a button on the shoe, and the results of the hand – as judged by the computer – are displayed. Security starts flexing its muscles if the results on the table don't match the computer's.

Image: cardsharkonline.blogspot.com

RFID Chips

Taking your money and running also falls under intense technological scrutiny – the chip-cashing booth is the last line of defence against cheaters. Many casino chips now contain itty-bitty RFID chips in their core. These chips broadcast unique serial identifiers over radio frequencies (hence the term RFID). RFID-reading equipment tableside and at the chip cashing booth are tuned to detect the signal. Counterfeit chips won't sing the proper song – and casinos will refuse to cash them out. Casinos also use the RFID chips for more mundane tasks, like keeping track of the chips they lend to players on credit and tracking play data for specific tables.

RFID-embedded chips have already paid off big in at least one major heist. After a man robbed the Bellagio casino to the tune of $US1.5 million in chips late last year, the casino simply turned off their transmitters — instantly making the chips worthless.

Image: popularmechanics.com

TableEye21

TableEye21 combines several technologies into a single impressive service: an overhead video camera keeps track of the action, and by using a mixture of video analysis software and information from RFID chips, it's able to overlay the video feed with real-time information of the cards being dealt and the chips being wagered. In the meantime, TableEye21's robust software methodically tracks all kinds of stats for the table, including dealer rounds per hour, trend reports, and player win percentage. Casinos use that information to help identify when a player is counting cards or working in cahoots with the dealer to screw the casino out of money.

NORA

Casinos can lose a ton of money when multiple cheaters join forces in a quest to win big. If a pit boss notices something funny going on or TableEye21 shows odd number trends for two or more people, casinos can turn to Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness software for help. Casinos maintain massive databases of information on transactions, cheaters, employees and other "people of interest". NORA — now sold as IBM Relationship Resolution – scans those databases and recognises relationships that may not be obvious at first glance.

If you simply plug a person's information into NORA, it can identify if the John Smith applying for a job as a blackjack dealer is actually Johan Schmied, the notorious German blackjack scammer. It can also detect relationships between multiple people by identifying similar data in their backgrounds. NORA can tell security personnel that, hey, these two players belonged to the same fraternity at UNLV in 1987, or that the dealer and a hot-handed player used to share the same address and phone number — and they were both arrested for the same fraud case in 1994.

Need more proof of NORA's power? After 9/11, the Department Of Homeland Security began using the technology to help identify links between potential terrorists.

Image: playwinningpoker.com

Casino Security Off-Land

Not all gambling takes place in multibillion dollar casinos with full security staffs. Online casinos draw plenty of action, as do cruise ships.

Iovation's ReputationManager 360 software won a spot on Casino Journal's "Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products" for 2010 and helps online casinos block access to cheaters before they can place a single dubious transaction. The software draws on Iovation's massive "Device Reputation Authority" database, which stores data on over half a billion different devices. "Over 2000 fraud professionals and hundreds of online brands contribute 50,000 details of fraud each day," Iovation boasts. ReputationManager 360 taps into that resource whenever an IP address attempts to make a transaction and assigns it one of three ratings: Allow, Review or flat-out Deny. Just in case those cyber-cheaters trick to get tricky, Iovation's "Real IP" application (included with ReputationManager 360) traces connections routed through proxy servers back to its original IP address.

Security on cruise ships is still tight, but it doesn't require as many technical bells and whistles as their land-based counterparts. "Although these types of technologies are 'nice to have,' there is no real need for them," says Craig Morton, a cruise ship surveillance manager. Betting games at sea are "alternative forms of onboard recreation, (with) low levels of play and occupancy, (and) most passengers are on tight budgets." Without large amounts of cash changing hands on a regular basis, cruise ships can get by with smaller teams and fewer technical tricks.

Wrap Up

The smartest technology in the world won't help if it's backed by stupid staff and procedures.

"One thing to remember is that all these technologies in themselves do not necessarily deter the professional cheat," Morton says. "They are fundamentally intelligence gathering tools which then provide the Surveillance Team with additional information on suspected play or persons. The real benefit of these systems is when proper procedures are in place to gather, analyse, manage and process the relevant data in a meaningful and productive way. If not, then the Surveillance Team finds itself overwhelmed with intelligence and data which they cannot handle."

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Comments

    Incredible,.. The police can't catch shit, but casino's, arguably among the worst thieves out there, can catch you counting cards for god's sake! There's something seriously out of kilter here! #[

      Na'rly.

      Casino -> Finite controlled environment with many known variables.

      Police -> Great big bad world of endless mayhem.

      I do agree that casinos are thieves.. in spirit. That's more about the billions they spend on human behavioral research and subliminal tactics which irk me in the same way the advertising industry does. TBH tho, what sane individual doesn't recognise that it's a system inwhich you are guarenteed to lose.

        ...the eleventy billion who loose all their money there?

      Probably because a police department's budget is extremely small compared to a billion dollar casino, duh

    You say they stop known gambling addicts at the door? Sure about that? I'd think the casinos are more than happy to allow 'gambling addicts' to whittle away their family's life savings and food of the table over a few hands of blackjack and claim they sleep well at night by putting up a few "gamble responsibly" posters here and there...

    Solid article! There is more money being spent by private sector to make more money than the public sector to safe keep what they have.

    "Need more proof of NORA’s power? After 9/11, the Department Of Homeland Security began using the technology to help identify links between potential terrorists."

    Because that worked so well for the hundreds of folks who were accused of crap they had nothing to do with!

    Casinos as thieves? Rubbish. The commenters above seem to think that they have a right to win!?! People gamble there knowing the odds of the games are against them, and hope to beat the odds. There's no subterfuge by the casinos in using technology to protect against cheats, they have a right to protect their interest in stopping people from gaining unfair advantage and playing outside the rules. If you want to gamble at a casino, go in, have fun, be happy if you win. And if you lose, look back at the point of your session where you could have walked away winning...

      Are kidding me! YES YOUR RIGHT SOME PEOPLE KNOW THE ODDS AND STILL PLAY. BUT DO THEY REALLY KNOW THE ODDS? BECAUSE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THEY HAVE TODAY THE PPOSSIBILITIES ARE MORE IN THE CASINOS FAVOR (ODDS) THEN ANYBODY REALLY KNOWS! AND TO CATCH CHEATERS. HA HA THE REAL CHEATERS ARE THE CASINOS EVERY SLOT MACHINE IN EVERY CASINO IS A COMPUTER WITCH CAN BE PROGRAMMED AND CONTROLLED AT ANY TIME TO RAISE OR LOWER THE ODDS OF ANY ONE PERSON TO WIN OR LOSS SO U TELL ME HOW THAT ISN'T CHEATING. AND PLEASE DON'T COME BACK WITH THEY CAN'T OR THEY WON'T OR THEY DON'T HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO DO THAT BECAUSE IF THEY HAVE THE MONEY AND THE TECHNOLOGY TO DO FACE recognition to catch cheaters then think before u talk unless u r someone that works for a casinos

    Ocean's 14 will teach us how to avoid all these

    Counters are not cheaters.

    First, using your brain to play blackjack isn't a crime. Second, am I the only one here who think's it's questionable for a casino to be able to pick and choose who it's going to deal a round of cards to (i.e., deal to the stupid, unskilled, or impaired players only and not to anyone who shows any sort of skill).

    I've been playing blackjack for a long time and I can tell you with 100% certainty that these systems combined with sweaty pit bosses, poor dealer procedures, no-mid shoe entry rules, and mistakes by greedy marketing departments cost casinos way more money than all the card counters in the universe. Let the players play and don't sweat the money...the real threats to the bottom line will become obvious by their accumulated win and their style of play...super advanced technology is just a waste of money that enriches the security companies and consultants.

      The Casino's aren't the real world dude. Your on private property playing a system that created by a business designed take money from you in exchange for the entertainment you get from thinking your are somehow a smarter human being than anyone else and you are going to beat them.

      If you win or take money from them as far as they are concerned you are "cheating" and they have the right not to let you play (or worse if you really rip them off). Usually worst of all, casinos are government sanctioned so the cops and the law are on their side.

      If you're so smart you wouldn't be wasting your time on cards but be trading stocks of derivatives and making some real money.

        Big Player has make one of the most interesting and true comment on the situation. Let people play, let counters win and more players than ever will come to have their chance. At the end, only a few well prepared Blackjack pros have what's needed to win in the long run.

        every shufflers which shuffles the cards in black jack & in poker are made by same company they are programmed & machine is rigged to make fix hands
        they have technology you will never be winner save your money or play where they shuffle by hand

          This is ridiculous, if you did any research at all you'd know that One2Six shufflers aren't capable of reading card values.

    The striking resemblance to Ordinary Life within the "Casinos" being too obvious to miss, that is that almost everyone must lose so that a few will win really big, the cunning lie that this is mainly about "entertainment," the "fix is in" nature of the relationship of the Casino Owners and The State, the omnipotent greed, the hilarious allegorical denials claiming this isn't an example of dog eat dog...all the while denying the desperate screams of millions of victims...many of those suffering from the same pathologies as "the winners," isn't all of this rather too perfectly one of the many rings of hell?

    Card counting is not effective in Australian casinos (at least the legal ones). In Oz they use multiple decks of cards in the shoe, up to 8 decks. Then they insert the red card, so that the deck is reshuffled when they reach the card. That means the advantage of card counting is reduced to a margin that is below the percentage of the house advantage. So you will still lose, but at a slower rate.

    @dave lord having worked as a croupier in australian casinos for many years you are quite wrong about counting in aus casinos if you know where to play. Also 6 decks are used not 8 and 6 decks produces results more consistent for counters than 1 2 or 4 decks

    @dave lord you obviously have not much of an idea of what your talking about. Aus casinos use 6 decks for a start.

    My question is of a serious nature .! Can a casino use facial recognition cameras and use the information too change the winning hands on the computer shufflers based on guilt by association or a underzirable political or religious parties .... ! Can the software exist ?

    Sorry maybe I did not explain myself properly. Can card shufflers software be manipulated by Casinos through out the world that are not regulated by federal gaming standards !
    Thank you

      yes you are 100% right
      the moment you enter in casino you car plates are scanned by cameras hiding in a bushes
      at the door you have facial recognition system knows who you are
      on the poker table cameras & shuffler machine works with DEALER BUTTON & produce rigged & set hands which you rarely see when you play without shuffler machine
      in blackjack all five cameras are hidden in poll of the table which tracks your every move
      see TANGAMGAMING COM SEE HOW tableeye software works
      nest way to win in gambling DONT GAMBLE these superfast computers & technology you cant beat no matter how much you know about gambling, GAMBLING its mirage ITS A ILLUSION thats why people get addicted to this

    I am a dealer in Australia, and I can tell you my casino offers 4,6 and 8 deck games. Although on main gaming floor, you will only get 6deck continuous shuffle. Which pretty much kills of any hi-lo card counting system.

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