With the funds and incentive to find the best surveillance technologies, casinos have gone so far as to become the surveillance industry’s proving ground.
As Popular Mechanics reports, casinos hire the best computer security experts and cryptographers, taking on the first version of new technologies that other businesses and agencies, including Homeland Security, have later found useful. Here are a few of the tricks they have up their sleeves.
Designed to stop card switching, Angel Eye technology involves a sensor in the dealing shoe and invisible barcodes on all the cards. The sensor reads and records all the cards’ barcodes when dealing. If the cards don’t have the same barcodes when they go back to the deck after a game, security gets the alert and can figure out who was trying to beat the system.
Radio Frequency Transmitter Chips (RFID Chips)
Thinking of stealing chips from a casino? Casinos have gotten around this common attempt with RFID chips. A small radio transmitter fits into the center of the chip, and equipment at the table and at the cash-in booth will read the signal. Counterfeit chips, however convincing they look, won’t give a signal and will give themselves and their cheating owner away. If you do manage to steal the chips like this man did, the casino can mark them as stolen so that they will know the thief when he tries to cash them in.
RFID chips aren’t good just for catching counterfeits. When used with TableEye21 software, they also help profile and rate players. Using several cameras at the table in addition to the smart chips, TableEye21 can create statistics about how often a player wins, if they win more when with a particular dealer, and more. This can not only tell the casino if someone is cheating; it can also tell them which players will make them the most money.
NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness)
If you are acting so suspicious that you’re entered into NORA, and if you are working with a dealer or another player, your cheating days are probably over. That’s because NORA contains the massive amounts of information that a casino acquires on its employees and players. Casinos have used it to catch a cheater using an alias and to connect a team of players who were staying at the same hotel or who went to college together. In fact, Forrester reports that it was a version of NORA that brought down the famous MIT card-counting team led by Bill Kaplan, later portrayed in the movie 21. The software has been so successful that Homeland Security picked it up to track and connect terrorists, according to Popular Mechanics.
Basically, casinos are where surveillance software and analytics are born and start to grow up before being noticed and adopted by powerful government agencies and security organizations. And the technology is only going to get better.