The House Is Watching You


Jesse Hicks examines the near-omnipresent surveillance technology in most casinos, where “cameras monitor 98 percent of the casino floor”:

They keep a close eye on the tables, since that’s where cheating’s most likely to occur. With 1080p high-definition cameras, surveillance operators can read cards and count chips — a significant improvement over earlier cameras. And though facial recognition doesn’t yet work reliably enough to replace human operators, [Las Vegas director of surveillance Ted] Whiting’s excited at the prospects of [Optical character recognition (OCR)]. It’s already proven useful for identifying license plates. The next step, he says, is reading cards and automatically assessing a player’s strategy and skill level. In the future, maybe, the cameras will spot card counters and other advantage players without any operator intervention.

Update from a reader:

I can confirm anecdotally that your post is correct.

My mother lives in Las Vegas. She and a friend went to dinner at a casino one night, and then to a show. When she sat down at the show, a security guard walked up and handed her a jacket she had left on her chair at dinner at the other end of the casino. When she asked him how they had found her, he pointed to one of the “eyes in the sky” and just said “rewind.”

(Photo: The Grand Lisboa hotel and casino in Macau. By Samantha Sin/AFP/Getty Images.)