Smile! You are being watched: Best surveillance techniques
Gambling establishments in Las Vegas can be seen as incubators where the most advanced methods of customer surveillance are maturing. The spy gear used in this “City of Sin” is a role model for the rest of the business world, from governments to banks.
In many gambling establishments, the administration will know who you are before you even open the front door. For example, in the parking lots of Mirage Casino, every time you enter a car, the cameras read its license plate. These photos are then entered into pattern recognition software. If your license plate appears in the files on unwanted guests, security will return your car keys and ask you to look for luck somewhere else.
And outside of Las Vegas?
License plate scanners are now being mass-produced by police patrol cars. That’s how they manage to pick up suspicious cars from the general stream.
Thousands of cameras built into ceilings cover 80% of the casino area. Video processors automatically record suspicious situations throughout the room (crowds of people in unusual places, left unattended bags) and on gambling tables (croupier errors, cheating customers).
Using the same systems, potentially dangerous passenger behaviour is detected at airports. In retail chains such as, say, Best Buy, such systems monitor customer traffic and collect statistical information on customer behavior.
When you sit down at a gambling table, you find yourself in the spotlight of several tracking systems. Invisible barcode cards prevent cheaters from turning around, suspicious link detection programs (NORAs) check if you are in collusion with croupiers, analytical programs assess your talents and skill.
NORA was designed specifically for gambling establishments, but is now also used by the Department of Homeland Security to identify links between terrorism suspects. Banks and insurance companies use NORA to monitor the relationship between their customers.
They say you can hear the money talking in Las Vegas. But if you convert your money into game chips, they’ll talk in an inaudible language of digital codes. Some venues are embedding tiny radio frequency transceivers into the chips, giving you extra protection against counterfeiting and the ability to rebalance your money in real time.
Miniature RFID microchips have spread everywhere, with millions of people carrying them everywhere – a company pass, a contactless credit card, a single ticket to a toll road.
Computerized slot machines, managed from a single server, allow casino administrations to lock bets and replace games. If a client uses his “player card”, the system can track and summarize the nature of his game, setting a specific slot machine optimal for the institution of reactions.
All slot machines operate on the basis of a rather complex algorithm – “random number generator”. The same principles are also applicable in advanced areas of cryptography, when it is necessary to encrypt information related to state secrets.
The cashier’s window is the last line of defense against those who try to take advantage of the casino. If the automated scanner that checks your documents feels bad, it will raise an alarm before the cashier starts transferring winnings to your credit card. Neither the intruder nor the cashier will even have time to blink an eye as the security team rings the bell.
Real-time document verification scanners are used for automatic passport control at border posts, banks and nightclubs.
It was no coincidence
Loss of symbols in slot machines, the behavior of the ball of virtual roulette, the order of cards – all this depends on the random number generator. But is it only from it? Practice shows that even a casino with integrity control md5 interfere with his work. The secrets of the casino lie in the fact that even reputable European institutions give advantages to large players, especially if they have already lost a serious enough amount. This doesn’t mean that a small depositor has no chance of a serious win, just a big player has a slightly higher chance. Read more in this article how NetEnt classifies players.