Five Things that are Absolutely Necessary to Protect Casino Games, Part 2

NOTE Willy Allison, the organizer of the World Game Protection Conference, to be held March 5-7 at Tropicana in Las Vegas, and one of the top experts in casino surveillance, the, sent out this article on his game protection blog in the run-up to his show. This week, the GGB News Special Report will reprint it in installments each morning. Today’s report is part 2 of the series.

Five Things that are Absolutely Necessary to Protect Casino Games, Part 2
  1. 2. Execution of the Correct Outcome

Just as important as ensuring the game has a random outcome is making sure the rules and procedures are carried out for each game the same way, every time. We all know that rules govern the game; however, procedures facilitate how the game is conducted, controlled and the correct outcome executed.

In c asinos we have lots of procedures, for a very good reason. They are proven best practices that combine game efficiency and game protection. Most have stood the test of time. Procedures ensure games are conducted in a consistent manner. This gives everyone with interest in the game (players and the house) assurance that the game is being played on the up and up.

Consistent adherence to procedures provides a flatline for the conduct of the game that if breached, can serve as an alert to supervisors and surveillance personnel of cheating or fraudulent activity. From a game protection standpoint, procedures provide a defense that is to casinos what shields were to the Spartans. Unfortunately, at our own peril, we don’t always enforce them. Careless staff and lackluster oversight creates an environment of complacency. Players looking to beat the house legally or illegally strive in this type of casino environment.

Sometimes casinos bend procedures for players considered by casino executives to be high-rollers. History has shown us that this doesn’t always end well. Some of the Top 20 scams of the last 20 years were successful because casino executives, dazzled by the possibility of a sizable win for the house coupled with the fear of the high-rollers leaving and going somewhere else, enabled organized cheat teams with large bankrolls to dictate the procedures of a game in order to facilitate a scam. By “social engineering” management, time-proven best practices were thrown out the door and the cheats took advantage of the open door.

Sometimes casinos add extra procedures in an effort to increase security only to learn that sometimes more procedures means more opportunities for cheats. A prime example is when manufacturer pre-shuffled cards came on to the scene. A number of casinos felt it would be a good idea to lay a deck or two of the pre-shuffled cards face up on the baccarat table after they came out of the box, to prove to customers (and surveillance) that they had been shuffled. They were then placed into the shoe and dealt. Concealed video camera cheats had a field day recording future card sequences and results.

In some cases cheating has been enabled because of new processes introduced to the game incorporating new technologies. A prime example is the case of the casino who used an automatic deck checker to check that all 8 decks of cards were present and accounted for after arriving pre-shuffled from the manufacturer. The deck checker, a relatively new product on the market, had a design flaw that sorted the cards face up instead of face down. The deck checker was positioned under a surveillance camera (an extra layer of security) which revealed the order of all the cards before they were placed in a shoe carrier to be taken to the baccarat pit. Someone with access to that surveillance camera was able to relay the entire order of the cards in the shoe to a high-roller player accomplice. That was very costly.

Three pieces of advice for casinos:

  • Formulate procedures based on time-proven best practices and enforce them.
  • Any requests for an exclusive change of procedure by a group of players should be collaboratively risk assessed internally, with the final approval coming from the CEO/president.
  • Sometimes more “layers of protection” creates more opportunity for cheats.

Willy Allison is a game protection consultant/trainer and founder of the annual World Game Protection Conference. Willy’s website is The conference website is