Casino heists are one of Hollywood’s most cherished plots. Ocean’s Eleven a movie starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney, laid the blueprint for those tempted to try.
But guess what? Pulling off a stunt like this seldom can work in favor of the masterminds.
Casinos have become even better at keeping their assets safe. Planning to rob a casino is quite the daring endeavor. With the casino’s own security resembling a small army base and the number of people visiting, any criminal would have to raise hell to even get to the money, let alone walk out with it. Criminals have tried it all:
- Entering the casino at gunpoint and walking away with petty money
- Trying to break into the vaults of casino properties
- Launching hacker attacks to steal customers data.
Well, it hasn’t worked, and casinos remain a tough security nut to crack.
In the 21st century, there are a number of other threats that could put a dent in the casino’s finances, and most of them are “legal”. Forget about breaking into titanium vaults and think how the modern mavericks crack open the safes of the casinos without even seeing them in person.
Yet, some attempts have been successful to the point of sending ripples across the entire gaming industry.
Casino Security: What You Need to Know in One Place
Casinos are fortresses even though the front entrance remains wide open around the clock. You can walk in and out of a casino without raising suspicion. Yet, once you walk in, you will find the answer for the apparent effortlessness with which you have been admitted. The casino employs multiple measures to keep customers safe and cheaters at bay via:
- Complex video surveillance
- Facial recognition software
- Security details around the property
- Staff trained to spot cheaters
- State-of-the-art safes and vaults
CCTV systems and cameras criss-cross the entire casino floor at all of Atlantic City and Las Vegas’ properties and once you enter, the casino will have eyes on you at all times. It’s just as much as for your security as it is for the casinos.
The number of cameras is not publicly advertised, but some of the larger properties have over 2,200 cameras in place and hundreds of employees tasked with ensuring that the money is off-limits to cheating third parties.
Since casinos can track customers around the clock while they are on their property. Many operators have compiled and shared blacklists among industry leaders, which allows them to spot any party that has been caught cheating in the past, allowing casinos to quickly remove such individuals from the property.
Of course, there is a lot of surveillance going on at first. Nobody really sends you a security detail to intimidate you or guilt you into admitting that you are counting cards, for example. Casinos are reputable establishments these days and they wouldn’t risk making an accusation without having evidence.
So, how does a casino throws a fraudulent customer off their game without sending in a formidable security detail in?
Simple, they try to distract you, so if you are counting cards, for example, expect to be:
- Chatted up more often by casino staff under cover
- Offered free drinks
- Face challenges at the table, such as more decks added to the shoe
After all, a casino doesn’t want to just throw out a customer. And besides, casinos are well-prepared to handle both physical as well as digital threats of any sort.
While there are security details around casinos and technologies help screen that firearms aren’t carried into the casino, facial recognition software and casino staff inside are tying to unearth any individual currently trying to beat the casino by using anything from marked cards to counting strategies or relying on a gambling system that guarantees profit.
Why Would Anyone Want to Rob a Casino?
You may suspect that a casino has a lot of ready cash on hand. This is true, but how much exactly could be beyond your wildest guess. Well, for starters, a Las Vegas property is said to hold around $80 million on a weekday with the number going up during the weekend.
Special occasions, such as the Super Bowl, March Madness or a UFC event can crank those numbers and double them easily in no time. With so much money going around, it’s quite understandable why criminals would be tempted.
Yet, navigating though the maze of security measures, safes, and vaults makes a heist of this magnitude a Herculean task that has been undertaken with some degree of success on at least five occasions.
In fact, you might have better odds at beating a progressive jackpot game and hitting a few millions worth of prize pool before you penetrate the small fortress that is the casino’s money storage room.
The Casino Heists of the Digital Age
Nobody really wants to get physical with the casinos. Instead, “criminals” are being more inventive. Some, try to cheat the casino for fun and they are willing to make a clean breast of it. For instance, counting cards is a very popular hobby that some mathematicians and MIT scientists have.
Others show clear criminal intent, but that is also not necessarily “illegal,” as such. Back in 2004, three friends entered the Ritz Casino and managed to win nearly $2 million by pointing lasers at roulette wheels and calculating their speed.
Once this was done, they “just” crunched the numbers and calculated what numbers are the most likely to turn up at the wheel.
Roulette is one of the most skill-based games in the world of casinos where things are mostly random. There are several betting strategies that would allow gamers to grow their bankrolls incrementally. In that case, it worked, although the casino caught the trio in the end.
No Stone Left Unturned
Casinos are not optimistic about their ability to prevent gamers from trying to cheat. It’s in human nature to try to beat the system. That’s all very well as in most cases people who try to develop systems and “cheat” the house aren’t hurting anyone, as casinos have their way of catching them up quick.