Survey Says! Takeaways from the IACSP National Casino Surveillance Survey

We are proud to announce that we recently completed the first ever Surveillance Survey. This was a joint effort and sponsored by the International Association of Surveillance Professionals (IACSP), eConnect, and Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Magazine!

About the Survey

The survey was sent to surveillance directors throughout the world, and we had a tremendous response. I, for one, was surprised that we did get such a good response. As we all know, surveillance people are quiet, reserved and like to keep their information and methods close to the vest. It was great to see us all open up!

We haven’t had such an exchange of information between surveillance folk since we all used to get together for our monthly surveillance information network (SIN) meeting in Las Vegas in the ‘90s (hopefully there are some of you, besides me, who remembers those days, I hope).

Power of Shared Knowledge

I think surveillance sharing information, methods and techniques is a good thing. We all have our own expertise and ways of doing things, and most of us are pretty good at what we do. If I can learn something from you that will help me protect my property, that’s a good thing and I will do the same for you.

Additionally, almost all “real” and meaningful surveillance training is always because someone ripped us off. I remember everything about each time the property I protected was cheated or taken advantage of. And I can tell you how it was done, why we didn’t catch it, and how to catch it the next time. If we all can share that type of information, we can limit the number of actual incidents, protecting our properties, and the industry as a whole.

We also wanted to know, and I know all of you do too, about what other surveillance departments are dealing with out there. What are they seeing and dealing with? What are some of the best practices being used to detect cheaters? How about advantage players? What is the biggest concern that surveillance is having, and where do we spend the most time? What should be a concern and how is our time best used to protect your casino?

And don’t you want to know how your team stacks up against other surveillance teams as far as number of detections, staffing levels and compensation? What type of technology is in use and how effective is it?

The survey asked these questions and we got answers. Some of which amazed me, and some made me wonder why. We won’t go into depth here because you can request the survey at the end of this article (if you’re a surveillance professional or a senior executive) and see for yourself.

Key Takeaways to Help Your Casino Surveillance Team

What I will do now is provide you with three key takeaways from the survey that will assist you with your planning for your surveillance team and program.

  1. Biggest threat

By far, and not surprising to a lot of us; internal theft is by far the largest concern for surveillance teams. We see it more frequently, it goes on far longer than cheating and advantage play, and it costs us much more.

  1. Technology

Technology is changing the way that surveillance departments operate. The advent of facial recognition, license plate recognition, ID scanners, point of sale video interface application, player rating systems, crowd tracking and people counting, access control, to name just a few, have allowed us to continuously monitor for people, vehicles, events and activities that we can’t ever keep up with live!

It never ceases to amaze me how much and how frequently the systems we have working in the background pick up someone or something that we weren’t even aware of nor would we be, no matter how many surveillance agents we have on duty. Technology doesn’t take a break, it never blinks, and it doesn’t get distracted. Using technology, we really can be everywhere!

  1. Analysis of business information

Some surveillance departments are using departmental and property-wide business information to drive them to where losses and leaks exist or are devolving. Knowing that a beverage team member has an unusual number of voids as compared to other team members or that a blackjack isn’t winning what it should, can tell surveillance where to look and where they should be looking.

I think you’ll find the survey very informative, as I did, and hope that you’ll use the knowledge it gives you to take your surveillance room to the next level. You’ll never look back! Get your free copy of the IACSP National Casino Surveillance Survey Report

Derk Boss is a Raving Partner and also Director of Surveillance for Angel of the Winds Casino Resort