How Do Casinos Keep Their Money Safe

By Alex Smith Apr 19, 2022

In every business worldwide, it’s essential that cash and items of financial value are kept safe. However, few businesses keep as much cash on hand as land-based casinos, and today, all land-based casinos employ state-of-the-art security systems to ensure that their money is safe.

If you’re wondering how casinos keep their money safe and what security systems are in place to prevent theft and fraud, then this informative article is for you! Let’s begin by looking at some of the different security systems casinos use.

What Security Systems Do Casinos Use?

It should come as no surprise to learn that land-based casinos utilize a wide variety of different security systems; some use state-of-the-art technology, and others use good old-fashioned detective work from security experts. Below, we’re going to look at some of the key security systems in place at most of the world’s largest land-based casinos.

CCTV

As you can imagine, one of the main security measures found in casinos and one of the answers to the question of “how do casinos keep their money safe” is the use of CCTV cameras. These are often known as the eyes in the sky in the gambling industry.

CCTV cameras are positioned throughout almost all areas of the casino. State-of-the-art digital surveillance systems and strict security protocols can ensure that casinos look over every table (allowing them to make sure that players aren’t cheating.) They also make sure that dealers aren’t colluding to steal money and do things like check who’s actually in the land-based casino.

For example, some casinos now use elaborate facial recognition software despite objections from privacy campaigners. This software immediately alerts the casino’s security team if anyone who’s banned from the establishment tries to enter.

In the biggest casinos, a dedicated team of security personnel monitors the CCTV cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This way, the team has an excellent chance of catching any illegal activity and preventing any losses from occurring.

Catwalk Surveillance

Something you’ll see in almost all land-based casinos is so-called catwalk surveillance. This is where high-up casino staff walk behind the tables regularly, monitoring the dealers and gameplay and ensuring that any illegal activity isn’t happening.

This staff can usually help out if there are any problems at the table. While it may be intimidating to see these people walking behind the tables while you play, they’re not actually casino security staff. They’re more like managers, also known as pit bosses, and they’re there to help you just as much as they are to make sure the casino’s money and chips are kept safe.

Game-Specific Rules

In addition to some of the security technology that we’ve just looked at, most casinos will have various rules on the casino floor that pertain to specific games. Below, we’re going to look at a few of the different games and the specific rules surrounding them. 

Roulette

When it comes to roulette, there are quite a few rules that casinos enforce to ensure that players aren’t able to steal any money. One of the main rules in place is that players are not allowed to collect their winnings or touch chips on the table until all of the winnings within the same box have been paid out. This minimizes the chances of players stealing other players’ chips; it also helps avoid confusion and ensures that the casino doesn’t accidentally pay out more than it should.

Dealers are also very firm when it comes to the last time players can place bets. Once the dealer gives the hand signal stating that no more bets are allowed, that’s it; you will not be allowed to touch, change or remove chips after this point.

An interesting point that not many people know about is that if a player wants to exchange cash for chips at the table, the croupier cannot take the money directly from the player’s hand. Instead, the player must place the cash on the table themselves, and the croupier will then count it out in plain view of the camera and the players.

Generally speaking, most land-based casinos also prevent players from using their mobile phones at the table. If you’re sitting down, you will generally only be able to have your casino chips, money, drinks and cigarettes in front of you; electronic devices are not permitted to prevent players from being able to use specialized software to cheat.

Craps

When it comes to craps, there are generally even more rules. These can be pretty comprehensive and even confusing, especially if you’re a new player. In fact, with craps in land-based casinos, there’s usually a dedicated team of managers and floormen to look out for any potential cheating; craps tables are often jam-packed, and with so much fast-paced action, it’s easy for things to go unnoticed. 

One of the main rules enforced at virtually all craps tables on the casino floor is that players are not meant to hold or handle the dice with more than one hand. You cannot put them in a cup format and shake them in your hands. The only way to change the dice between hands is to place them down on the table with one hand and then pick them up with the other. This is to prevent the chances of the shooter being able to switch dice using sleight-of-hand techniques.

There are also some quite complex rules surrounding whether or not dice are considered in play or not. For example, if the dice land on players’ chips, the dealer’s working stacks, on the marker puck or with one die resting against the other, the dice are classified as in-play. However, if at any point one or both of the dice land in the boxman’s box, on the rails, on the top of the table, or hit the floor, the game becomes invalid. The dice are then re-rolled.

Like in many casino games, dealers are not permitted to touch players in any way, nor are they allowed to pass chips directly to a player. Instead, everything must be placed down on the table — this also goes for when you’re exchanging cash for casino chips.

Three-Card Poker

The rules are generally the same as at the roulette table in three-card poker and, indeed, at the blackjack table. When changing any cash to casino chips, the money must be placed down on the table, and the dealer cannot directly pass you any chips.

What’s more, it’s usually not permitted for players to have their phones at the table. In some instances — for example, when a player is a well-known regular or a high-staking punter — casinos will turn a blind eye to this, but it’s generally not allowed.

Most land-based casinos will also be very strict on not allowing players to look at each other’s cards when playing 3-card poker. Knowing what cards other players have could allow a player to get an advantage by knowing what cards the dealer is unlikely to be holding.

How Do Casinos Store Their Cash?

When it comes to how land-based casinos store their money, you first need to consider that there are two methods of holding funds. The first is the most obvious; cash. However, you also need to remember that land-based casinos have to keep chips worth millions of dollars. This is where advanced casino technology and casino vaults come into play, along with proactive measures to resolve security threats before they become problematic.

All chips that are in play on the casino floor are tracked. This isn’t necessarily done by physical tracking devices. Every hour, workers will count the number of chips in the tray at the tables to make sure they have a rough idea of how many chips are in the hand of punters. If many chips go missing in a single night, the casino can be on alert for potential fraud in the future.

Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to the casino’s cash reserves. For example, under Nevada’s gambling law, a casino must have enough cash on-hand to cover all chips on the casino floor. At a major casino in Las Vegas, for example, this will be tens of millions of dollars. This is where casino vaults come into play, and you can rest assured that these vaults have been developed using millions of dollars to ensure they have the latest state-of-the-art security software in place.

How Do Casinos Detect Counterfeit Money?

Making sure that all money within a casino isn’t counterfeit is crucial. Like the security involved with protecting the cash reserves, the casino security team spends millions of dollars on state-of-the-art technology to help prevent counterfeit bills from being used.

The casino does this in several ways. The first way is the easiest and quickest, and it’s generally used for low-value notes that aren’t worth much. Casino staff are well-trained on how to spot counterfeit notes, and they will always do a quick scan of the notes whenever a player hands them over to look for any tell-tell signs of the notes being fake. For example, in Las Vegas, uTestCash reveals the following:

“Before people work in a casino, many have to undergo training classes on how to identify counterfeit money. Education is key, especially in this industry when more than half their time at the casino will be spent handling money. There are many ways to spot a fake bill, such as the paper material, size, and printing. They will learn all of these techniques to ensure that they aren’t taking any tender that is not legal.”

Specialized technology can be used when it comes to larger bills or cases where the casino security team believes there’s a strong chance that a syndicated crime group is working to shift fake bills. For example, the most simplistic of the technologies used to detect fake money is a special pen. This pen is simply traced on the banknote, and if it’s a fake note, it’s likely to leave a mark; if it’s real, it will simply pass over, and nothing will be left on the note.

However, as counterfeit notes have gotten more advanced, some have started to be able to overcome this pen technology. Now casinos use state-of-the-art processing machines to count notes and scan them using state-of-the-art lasers. This technology allows for hundreds of bills to be reliability checked within a matter of minutes, and it’s a much more reliable method than getting staff members to check the notes by hand manually.

FAQs

Is casino security on the casino floor?

Yes, depending on which casino you’re playing at, there will be anywhere from a couple of security staff (usually for small-town land-based casinos with no more than 50 or so punters) to a team of hundreds. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, like within Vegas-based casinos.

Some land-based casinos like the Melbourne Crown Casino employ specific security measures that bring in specialized third-party teams to reduce security threats. These protocols are all in addition to casino employees always being on the lookout for potential casino robberies and fraudsters.

Don’t forget, the eye in the sky — advanced software and CCTV cameras above all gaming tables — is also keeping an eye out 24/7. These digital cameras are designed to prevent both thefts from players and employee theft. Many casinos will also have plain-clothed security teams patrolling the casino’s floor.

Can people steal money from slot machines?

In the past, before technology reached the point it’s at now, it was possible to cheat slot machines using various methods. For example, specific ‘jamming’ devices could influence the outcome of a specific spin on a slot machine. Some incidences at the Wynn casino and other land-based casinos in Vegas forced government agencies to get involved.

Today, slot machines have state-of-the-art technology to prevent any forms of cheating. While this technology may exist, this isn’t publicly known. Casinos and machine developers invest a ton of money to ensure that players can’t cheat.

Does the Nevada Gaming Commission get involved with security?

Yes. The Nevada Gaming Commission takes quite a strong stance regarding security in casinos within Vegas. For example, they require all casinos to work with one another. There are also strict protocols requiring casinos to report potential fraudsters and criminals to local law enforcement, ensuring they’re apprehended quickly.

How much money do land-based casinos keep in cash?

The amount of money that’s physically kept in the cash cage — another way of saying the casino’s vault — depends on several factors. For example, the size of the casino will have a significant impact on how much cash they hold in their reserves, as will the time of year. During holiday periods, for example, the casino will require a lot more cash than at other times of the year.

It also depends on which state or country in which the land-based casino is located. For example, in Nevada, the Nevada Gaming Commission requires all casinos to have enough cash on-hand to cover all of the casino chips in play; this is quite a common requirement for most casinos. While it’s hard to pinpoint an exact figure, a very rough estimate for a major Las Vegas casino can be in the region of $50 to $100 million!