by Vic Taucer
GAME PROTECTION TRAINING FOR TABLE GAMES!
It’s still all about the basics!
Forget all that stuff they show on TV!...Its not like the Discovery Chanel!
Selling fear instead of operational training is hurting our gaming operations!
Over the last decade, the gaming industry has grown in an explosive manner and with this explosion a great need has arisen in the field of qualified personnel that truly understands the concepts behind protecting our table games from cheating and fraud. This need is being addressed by attempting to train our personnel; both surveillance and table games supervisors, in how to better protect our table games. Game protection is and always will be an issue in table games.
This training effort, whether it be delivered by in house staff or outside trainers is seemingly the way we have to go in this day of rapid casino expansion. Prior to the gaming explosion, training efforts in this vein were both non-existent and in many cases not needed. Both surveillance and operations were generally staffed with gaming veterans that had basically seen it all. This is not the case in today’s casino world. In some cases senior staff in both surveillance and operations lack the experience that some in the older days were equipped with.
In most of our casinos, both table games and surveillance staff are being trained competently and professionally. The training these groups are given consist of basic game procedures, advantage play issues and game protection methods.
Sadly though, some training programs and especially some of the so-called game protection experts in the training business are using a method that is detrimental to this much-needed training method. These trainers are selling fear as a training mode for surveillance operators instead of addressing real world casino issues. So many trainers that are hired by casino gaming commissions and surveillance departments, are selling training programs solely based on “cheating and game protection”, skipping the all important basic understanding of game operations.
Selling fear as a casino game protection training method puts emphasis on elaborate cheating methods that either does not exist in our industry or if they do exist it is on a scale that is miniscule. On the subject of game protection, both for surveillance and operations, we need to get back to basics here. We have our operators so frightened that they are looking for things that do not exist. These operators after this fear-based training become junior FBI agents, looking for grandiose scams that they have seen in a game protection seminar produced by a magician or a card mechanic. This kind of operational scenario can hurt your casino.
In table games, it’s still about procedure and accountability! Lets tone down (and maybe even skip) all the stuff about “moves” when it comes to game protection!
I cringe when I hear heated talk of “moves” and even worse, “countermeasures”! What are we 007! Forget about it!! Table games protection doesn’t work this way.
In Table Games, when we are talking about game protection, it is still all about the supervisor watching the game, the dealers following procedures and surveillance holding all accountable for their actions. A casino table game department operating on valid standard operational procedures with all being held accountable is what we are striving for. If procedures are intact and followed, “moves” and other elaborate cheating techniques that some “cheating experts” expound about on TV cannot happen. That stuff makes for great television but it is not how it really works. The use of technology, while assisting and also making for great TV, is a just that, an assistant. Surveillance job nor the supervisor’s job is not to watch for “moves”, forget that! Technology and its usage in watching for “moves” is hype and get us away from the real mission here.
In Table Games, we start looking into possible cheating scenarios generally when the numbers on game performance tells us to. If the games do not perform as per their expectations for a prolonged period of time, we start looking into possible cheating. Justifiably so as this is a valid indicator.
There are other times when we justifiably start looking for cheating. Not following procedures, sloppiness, un-readability by the dealers in operating games are all reasons to start looking into game protection issues. Things just not looking right by surveillance procedurally speaking are still a good first step in game protection (as long as we don’t go too far with this.). Informants are still one of the best tools we have in game protection, especially when it comes to employee theft and insider actions. We downplay this on those TV shows and allude to cheating is caught by technology but by far most cheating is caught (or at least the investigation starts) with an informant giving us the information. Technology is by far more exciting sounding than someone giving us a
The basics of casino game protection are pretty simplistic. They are based on both the operator and the surveillance personnel having a complete and thorough understanding of both the games and their operations
The basics of casino game protection;
1. A full and thorough understanding of casino game procedures.
2. A full and thorough understanding of cheating moves and equipment
3. A full and thorough understanding of how these moves is used when the procedure breaks down.
4. Full attention paid to the game operation and procedural compliance
5. Accountability by supervisory staff.
THE MYTH OF TECHNOLOGYS ASSISTANCE IN GAME PROTECTION FOR TABLE GAMES
So many casinos are putting too much emphasis of surveillance’s technology ability to protect our games. On some issues in table games, the use of technology is becoming a liability and not an asset in the way it is being used. In some casinos, we are using and putting emphasis on new technology in surveillance like facial recognition while neglecting core issues. In table games, technology doesn’t catch cheating. Technology, if used correctly, can be of great assistance in preventing cheating but technology nor surveillance nor supervisors “catch cheaters”! It’s all about prevention, we are not police investigators! Technology is a tool and must not be thought of as the ultimate preventative measure in game protection, at least not in table games.
In a recent article written by a vendor of surveillance/technology equipment spoke of “how the use of technology in game protection even gives the novice surveillance operator an advantage today” The author stated emphatically that technology is a deterrent and catches cheating. While I agree with the article that the proper use of technology does assist in game protection and is indeed a deterrent, technology in table games is just that, assistance. The article for the most part though was a commercial for the writer and a sales tool for his business. The writer is a vendor selling technology to surveillance groups. What would you wish to be said by someone trying to sell product? Be wary of information on a subject by vendors of a product that in his words will “catch cheating!”
A great idea and a possible assistance but not where we want to put emphasis in the protection of table games!
Here is a real myth and fallacy in its usage in Table Games Protection! The article made a great deal about the capabilities of facial recognition technology. While we have made great strides in this technology, it use in “catching cheating” at least in table games is minimal and sometimes this technology is mis-used and a hindrance. The article by this vendor is making a great effort to promote this product.
While facial recognition can match up people by matching them up with pictures in a data base with great proficiency, I question the use (and maybe over-use) of this product by surve
Date Posted: 12-Oct-2006
Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational, training and consulting company. Casino Creations specializes in table game evaluations, customer service training, dealer training and managerial training for table games operations.
A former professor of casino management for the University & Community College System of Nevada and long time casino manager at many resorts, Vic can be reached at 702-595-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for Vic Taucer’s new book, Table Game Management, available at www.casinocreations.com and at booksellers nationwide.