Five Things that are Absolutely Necessary to Protect Casino Games, Part 3

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 3 of the series and focuses on dealers.

Five Things that are Absolutely Necessary to Protect Casino Games, Part 3
  1. 3. Correct Payments and Forfeiture

The final part of the equation for operating casino games is the take and pay procedures. Dealers, floor managers and surveillance staff are trained to know the correct odds and payouts for each game. It is the dealers responsibility to determie the correct payout after an outcome and prepare a payment of chips. Chip payments are completed under strict procedures that ensure they can be verified by floor managers from fixed surveillance cameras recorded above the table.

Mistakes happen. It is not uncommon. Dealers are expected to be human calculators for an 8-hour shift. Table games still fosters a mental math environment. However, sometimes there are more nefarious reasons for incorrect payouts. Crooked dealers colluding with associates at the table is also not uncommon. “Dumping” is when a dealer simply ignores the correct payouts and when the floor manager isn’t looking, overpays their associates winning bets. Turning a blind eye to associates losing bets and not collecting them for the house goes hand in hand with dumping off to associates. All dealer overpayments should be recorded and dealers investigated for the possibility of collusion by reviewing previous play.

Sometimes incorrect payouts can be made during the chip buy-in process or color change process on the table. A common way for dealers to fatten the bank accounts of their friends is to slip them a “dirty stack.” That’s where chips have high denomination chips slipped under the top chip of the stack.

On electronic games payouts are determined and made by computers. This makes the process of take and pay a lot more efficient, timely and accurate. In saying that, the computers can be programmed incorrectly. Take the case of the slot technician who “accidentally” programmed an electronic craps game to payout in another currency causing winning bets to be paid more.

Three pieces of advice for casinos:

  • • Choose dealers, floor managers and surveillance people who are competent in math.
  • • Scrutinize dealers who are “popular” with specific players on the low limit games.
  • • Watch dealers who spend a lot of time setting up chips in the rack.

Checks and Balances

A casino surveillance operation is the best check and balance a gaming operation has. They have the ability to monitor live, investigate on review, audit and analyze gaming abnormalities away from the hustle and bustle of the gaming floor. State of the art video systems operated by experienced and trained staff is a useful tool that many other businesses in the world would love to be able to have. Surveillance has the casino’s back.

It is essential that surveillance maintains an independent reporting line from operations. This allows them to investigate and report findings, both good and bad, objectively and without prejudice. Although it is paramount that they work very closely with operational managers and asset protection departments on the day to day management of operational risk, occasionally there is a prudent need for their investigations to remain confidential and their findings to be passed on to the most senior person in the organization for guidance and or action.

Surveillance is not the only check and balance tool at the casino’s disposal. Accountants and analysts focus on the numbers. raising concerns and questions about low financial performance and negative trends. Auditors and specialist external consultants add a good “third eye” for an objective assessment and second opinion. Auditors are good at checking for compliance. Consultants bring an independent global view that can help decision makers with best practices and change management.

Three pieces of advice for casinos:

  • • Surveillance is capable of providing information that can help or harm the goals of the business.
  • • Look at audits, evaluations and investigations of the gaming floor as a health check.
  • • The most dangerous phrase in casino management is “we’ve always done it that way.”

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