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FACIAL VERIFICATION linked to a PIN Code (PDF)

 

Requirement: BIOMETRIC AUTHENTICATION LINKED TO A PIN  

The solution is to provide a Facial  Recognition System (FRS) to facilitate ACCESS LOGGING linked to a PIN.
The software will MONITORING & REPORT all staff (& visitors) entering and exiting the FACILITY.
Facial Recognition
What is facial recognition?
Face recognition is a non-intrusive, biometric method of matching a given face to a previously stored template of the face.
Can be used to verify one person against a number (T&A) AND
Can be used to identify one or many persons against an image database
Can be used to identify a possible shop lifter / thief / suspect against an image database
The solution comprises: -
-The 3D Facial Identification solution proposed is to provide Advanced I-CUBE Biometrics Facial Recognition, to facilitate the VERIFICATION of a person enrolled via a USB camera attached to a computer
The solution allows for: -
-Multiple image capture of the person from a high resolution colour camera;
-Face finding within the image;
-Searching database and display of results;
-Entry of images/ details not in the database;
-Compilation of image database per individual that includes multiple perspectives, expressions and head placements
-Automatic assessment of people being scanned.
-Opening od door or turnstyle if person is allowed
-Alarm if person is not allowed
-Sending of result to a PDA
-Logging of all people who have passed the camera
Enrolment procedures and options: -
-Pre-register users from current databases of workers
-When worker wants to be enrolled system takes person through the enrolment with audio &  camera
-FRS will ask you to provide a wide range of different expressions and facial sizes
-When the person is next seen FRS system will identify them more accurately
The display area will show the image as seen by the camera and will scan the image and look for facial features and will track onto the faces
The system, once it has tracked onto a face – illustrated by the markings around the face- will then compare the algorithm derives from the image with the template in the database and the user entered number (PIN).
The match will be identified through a voice module and on the screen
The system proposed is the 3D system and the latest version will incorporate the 2D component as well providing the best of both worlds
The 3D system provides the ability to allow the system to work rather than getting people to scan through systems and initiate the database queries
The increasing usage of 3D technology indicates the significant value derived from this technology in deterring crime, logging workers and visitors and providing a fool proof verification system
Solution Proposed 
This FRS solution allows: -
Multiple image capture by web cameras;
Face finding within the image;
Multiple image capture by web camera;
Facial verification at a high accuracy (with multiple images of the person in the database);
Linking of a PIN number with a name and display of this information on ELECTRONIC DISPLAY (screen) when the person is detected;
Log of number and image of all PERSONS who enter and exit the facility;
Facial image saved for later review
Automatic updating of images in database as person changes

(PDF)

 
Biometric passports to be available in 2008

Georgian citizens will be able to take biometric passports by the end of 2008, Justice Ministry Publica Register office has already launched work in this regard by collecting data of citizens. At present, the agency has obtained 2,300,000 citizen's data in its data base.

The practice of biometric passports will facilitate eradication of document counterfeiting and provide detailed information for person's identification. Georgia also hopes biometric passports will assist the country to lift visa regimes with European states.

A biometric passport is a combined paper and electronic identity document that uses biometrics to authenticate the citizenship of travellers. The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards. Like some smartcards, the passport book design calls for an embedded contactless chip that is able to hold digital signature data to ensure the integrity of the passport and the biometric data.

The currently standardized biometrics used for this type of identification system are facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and iris recognition. These were adopted after assessment of several different kinds of biometrics including retinal scan.

 

CALL Barry on +27 31 764 3077  or   + 27 (0) 82-562-8225  or E-Mail NOW (infoAT I-Cube DOT co DOT za)  OR Contact one of our DISTRIBUTORS

 

Surveillance Equipment Fund: 
A Long-Winded Fable
By Jim Goding

There are a number of problems faced by all Surveillance crews. It doesn’t matter where we begin with these, as all are more or less equally important.

One of these problems is that there is a general lack of teamwork in most casinos with the managers of other departments under the Eye. There are many reasons for this, perhaps the most obvious being that the other department heads tend to become very complacent in training and in following the internal controls and procedures that are set up to safeguard the assets and protect the liabilities of the sections of the casino under their direction.

This is not necessarily obvious to the Directors and managers concerned. Often it seems too much to get everyone trained in standard methods of doing things. The procedures that are written in the manuals seem, for the most part, just so much make-work, especially to the lowest level of supervisors. 

As a result, when Surveillance makes reports, either verbally or in writing, often it seems as if the Surveillance department is just nit-picking, making their presence known, or simply harassing the personnel in the departments they watch.

Fortunately, Surveillance is there to provide that exterior view. We are the last line of defense against complacency, cheating and theft, both internal and external. But what seems to be forgotten most often in the other departments (from our point of view behind the camera) is that the first line of defense is the supervisors who are supposed to train personnel and enforce those same procedures.

A second problem faced by many Surveillance departments is that they are seriously undermanned for the amount of work that must be done. For instance, I have worked in areas where, in addition to normal routine traffic (consisting of twenty or thirty notification calls made at the same time daily, plus calls about players, calls about jackpots, and all of the other standard notifications made to the Surveillance department), we were expected to also be conducting close watches on one or more areas, doing routine camera patrols of Pits, Slots, Cage, Soft Count, backing up Security with recording events when they are responding to incidents, database searches and player evaluations, enrolling players in the databases, checking to make sure the bartenders and food servers were not stealing, and all of the other traffic that a normal Surveillance room handles. 

All of this is handled in many Surveillance rooms by just two people or even a solo investigator. It doesn’t leave much time for investigations, or even for following up the errors seen, and can often result in the failure to get any work at all done effectively. You start analyzing some player’s strategy, and while doing that you receive four phone calls, one of which requires moving cameras or setting up particular shots and taking down detailed information, and then another big-money player sits down at a second table. 

You find yourself doing a close watch, attempting to evaluate one player, taking a picture of another for the database, acknowledging an entry to the cage and the movement of a major bank, following a monetary escort on camera and recording the activities of security officers handling an 86. 

Meanwhile the card counter makes thirty thousand dollars, cashes out, and the next time you look at the table he is gone. Your close-watch bartender has done fifteen transactions; you don’t know how many of those were correct, and how many times he served an expensive drink and charged the guest for a cheap one, or charged him cash and rang it as a comp.

This becomes even worse when casino managers do not correct problems as reported by Surveillance: Then you are writing the same report about the same personnel many times. 

Take table games procedures for an example: Reports have been made and passed correctly through the chain of command, on a number of game protection errors, where dealers were not following the standard procedures (clearing hands, cheque handling, spreading cards, deck handling). No correction was done, and the same dealers were still not following protection procedures. No one paid attention until one of those dealers got busted (again by Surveillance) for stuffing black checks in the pocket or shirt, to the tune of several hundred or thousand dollars a month.

We also often have routine reports, such as dealer pace audits. At one casino I know of, an operator told me that he did pace audits on all the dealers on his shift every quarter. He had been working there for several years, and the same dealers were still far below standard. This operator/investigator felt that this was nothing but wasted time, as apparently no one ever got these dealers to shut up and deal, or even to get their shuffles into an acceptable time frame.

So investigators often feel that the work they do in observing and reporting obvious problems in the casino is wasted and that nobody even reads or pays attention to the reports, because the problems don’t get corrected.
Another problem that Surveillance departments can run into is that they are viewed by the rest of the casino as a department which does not generate revenue. Never mind the fact that we can, by player evaluation and database checks, save losses in the hundreds of thousands annually by identifying advantage players and cheats, not to mention internal thieves caught by routine observation or close watch.

This viewpoint often can cripple a Surveillance department in the annual and quarterly budget meetings. They are viewed by the other departments as poor orphaned cousins. They get a payroll for a minimum of investigators at a relatively low hourly rate, and the budget for maintenance and upgrade of cameras and recording equipment gets slashed. The casino then decides to invest a few million in renovating a bar and putting in a new shopping arcade or moving the pits from one location to another.

Do you know that in Las Vegas, a ten-year investigator is usually making less money than a dual-rate dealer-supervisor who has just put on a jacket two years out of dealer school? The pit floor supervisor, though, makes generally ten to twenty thousand a year more, even though he is generally required to know only one or two table games, and only watch a maximum of six of them at a time.

Though he is expected to be the front line of defense against cheaters and thieves both external and internal, the pit floor supervisor often hasn’t a clue what to look for. He or she often has no idea even what the procedures are there to prevent, or what indicators to look for on a player or dealer who might be cheating or stealing.

Meanwhile, the surveillance people eat at the desk, answer multiple phone calls while evaluating two or three players simultaneously, while doing close watches and patrolling the entire casino as outlined above, and are expected to know all the procedures in all the departments under their eye. 

This kind of thing causes a lot of resentment in Surveillance rooms. It cuts teamwork, too. 

But some of us love it so much we stick with it for decades. Others decide to go and sit the box on a crap game in a casino that pays well, or even go back to dealing. Others become bitter, or worse, apathetic and complacent, and stop writing reports and calling attention to the vulnerabilities. 

Meanwhile, because there is no penalty for uncorrected violations, the pit, slots, cage, count rooms, security, hotel and F&B get slacker and slacker in following their procedures. After a while, the dealers, slots people, count team and bartenders are stealing the place blind, and no one sees. 

After all, no matter how many reports you write, no one corrects anything, right? The change person is still going to the bathroom wearing her change apron, the cashier still leaves the booth with the keys hanging in the drawer right after counting her bank mid-shift to see how much she has short-changed the players, the bartender is still ringing up no-sales, the dealer is still not spreading the cards or clearing hands, the drop team still leaves full cans or open machines in the slots areas, the host is still eating daily in the gourmet restaurant using the high-roller’s comp account and the cocktail waitress is still turning tricks after work in the bars and hotel. 

And Surveillance is doing the third close watch on a busser who is suspected of loafing, at the demand of the F&B manager.

Which brings to mind another problem that Surveillance runs into: When a manager suspects misconduct, often Surveillance is requested to watch the person in question for extended periods to determine what is going on. 

Don’t get me wrong, close watches are necessary. But our job involves safeguarding the assets of the corporation, not supervising employees. We do watches for enforcement of internal controls and procedures and detection of theft and cheating. 

But it all becomes more than a bit futile when you document some shift supervisor spending half an hour on his cell phone three or four times in a day, no correction gets done on the person, and when you do the follow-up two weeks later, you find him spending an hour on the cell phone right after his ninety-minute lunch break and forty-minute power nap. You write another report and find out from human resources that there is no record of any corrective action on the first instance.

So what was the purpose of the close watch, requested (or demanded) by that person’s supervisor? This is where Surveillance becomes really suspicious: was that first watch requested so that all of Surveillance’s attention would be on one area, while something much worse was going on somewhere else?

The last of the problems that I am going to discuss here is that Surveillance often has difficulties in keeping its tools maintained and up to date, or even up to required standards. Because we are often viewed as a non-revenue-producing department, our budgetary needs often fall behind house improvements or other areas of concern to the casino management.

This means that often the tools we work with are much less than what would be required to produce the evidence needed. I recently saw a case where, though the dealer was obviously cheating, the evidence was insufficient to take to court because the recording was of too poor quality to show the cheating moves. It was obvious when looking at it in real-time, but the recordings were of such poor resolution that the viewer could not read the cards, much less see the lightning-fast moves the dealer was making in showing the outside agent the top card on the deck.

Inquiry found that the VCR used to record the game was almost ten years old, had never been cleaned, and that no maintenance of any kind had ever been done on it. I was very surprised to find it was operating at all.

Expectations of evidence in this day are much higher than they ever have been before. Prosecutors, judges, and of course potential jurors, ‘‘know’’ from watching television that casino surveillance departments have state-of-the-art equipment, and they also think that equipment has all the capabilities that can only be produced in Hollywood. So when you produce a recording with distorted color, tracking bars, grainy photography, poor resolution and only one or two frames per second, they really look sideways at the competence of the people who busted the dealer.

People also expect that everything that is going on in the casino is being viewed in real-time. There are a lot of other unreal expectations. 

When a casino has outdated equipment, that is one thing. It’s not good. But when the equipment cannot even be maintained because the Surveillance department’s budget got cut, and there are insufficient people, or insufficiently trained people on staff to follow critical areas, that is another thing entirely.

I have only one other minor digression before we get into a proposed solution for all this.

From my point of view, having worked for several casinos and been asked to consult for a number of others, far too little attention gets paid to the reports from Surveillance. 

I looked into one casino, and as an example, a floor supervisor who had been in charge of a number of dealers reported as failing to follow game protection procedures, was extremely surprised and very disgruntled that he did not receive a ‘‘high’’ rating on his annual evaluation. 

Yet dealers who were under his charge had been found to be untrained and very lax in their procedures. Several were unacceptably slow, and several had been found to fail to follow such elementary procedures as clearing hands, spreading cards, or breaking down multi-color bets for payoff. There was a Surveillance report on file that this supervisor had listed one of the best-known players in the casino as a ‘‘refused name,’’ and in fact had never approached the player at all. Another report showed him standing at the table watching the action when a payoff had been made for a far higher amount than should have been made. 
Obviously this person did not feel or know that it was his job to train, discipline, and handle the errors that dealers routinely make. There was no accountability there. 

In the past, when I have looked at other areas such as this (in other businesses), such a lack of accountability ran all the way up to the department heads, or even higher.

And from this springs a proposed solution to all of the above.

Accountability

What would happen if department heads were actually held accountable for failure to follow the internal controls and procedures designed to safeguard the assets under their control?

What would happen if there were a penalty attached, if it actually hurt a bit when their people became slack in their procedures, when their supervisors failed to train and correct? What if, when procedures were violated, it cost them even a small fraction of the amount that it could cost them if someone were stealing or cheating?

Now, in today’s world, you can’t fine a person part of his salary or wages when he doesn’t do his job. 

But there is an area where, in fact, it would hurt if the department heads, managers, and supervisors failed to do their jobs: the annual budget.

What I am proposing is a system to make it possible to add to the maintenance and replacement budget in Surveillance, at the expense of those departments who fail to follow their procedures and internal controls and are detected in these failures by Surveillance, and by those departments which most utilize the resources and time of the surveillance department.

Penalties would be attached in proportion to the seriousness of the offense, and according to the number of repetitions of the same offense by the same personnel.

The funds for the fines would be taken out of the budget of the offending department and added to the Surveillance Equipment Fund. This fund would be managed by the Surveillance Director for the maintenance and improvement of his department’s capabilities, and administered through normal Purchase Order lines. It could be used for equipment maintenance, replacement and improvement, or for training of Surveillance staff.

A casino operations department which does not train and correct its staff would find itself short of funds at the end of the fiscal year, through their own failure to properly train and correct. 

The Surveillance Equipment Fund would be an additional account to the capital expenditures and normal operating budget accounts: It would be an additional account set up to receive and utilize funds to maintain and improve Surveillance equipment and train staff.

This would not be an item that could be budgeted for in the operations departments. In other words, Slots, Finance or Table Games could not add an item to their budget for ‘‘fines to be paid into Surveillance Equipment Fund.’’ The monies taken from other departments would be a penalty paid from their standard operating budget. The offending department would then have to figure out how to handle operating on less money, as a result of failure to train and correct their own staff.

Don’t get me wrong here: this is not something that could be imposed unilaterally by a Surveillance Director. Such a decision would have to be made at the Board of Directors or Council level, and it would need its own internal controls to prevent abuse. 

But used properly, by both Surveillance and the operations departments, such a system could, over the course of a year or two, bring the Casino up to a very professional standard of operation, while enhancing the ability of Surveillance to properly observe, record, report and document evidence.

Surveillance Equipment Fund

How to start setting up such a system?

Let’s begin by looking at the observations and reports that a typical Surveillance department makes, and compare it to the relative importance of the things that Surveillance sees, in a context of potential relative costs.

To begin with, Surveillance is there to prevent and detect theft and cheating and to otherwise safeguard the assets and protect the liabilities of the organization. 

Internal Controls and procedures exist in the various operations departments (i.e., Table Games, Slots, Finance, Security, Hotel, Food and Beverage, etc.) for the following purposes:

1. Protecting the guests of the casino
2. Prevention of internal theft
3. Prevention of external theft
4. Prevention of cheating, both internal and external
5. Prevention of errors
6. Prevention of activities that take unfair or unusual advantage of the casino’s games, errors, and promotions
7. Production and increase of income
8. Producing a professional standard of customer service

The various Operations departments utilize the services and expertise of the Surveillance Department in varying amounts. Surveillance operations and equipment are generally dedicated to each department in relation to its size and the potential vulnerability of its operations. This will vary from casino to casino, but in the larger casinos the following is generally true as to the proportion of time, energy and equipment dedicated by Surveillance:

1. Table Games (most vulnerable)
2. Finance (Cage, Count Rooms, auditing: most money)
3. Slots (guest protection and internal theft potential)
4. Security (potential liabilities with guest and employee accidents and other areas of concern)
5. Hotel (guest protection; internal theft)
6. Food and Beverage (internal theft)
7. Player’s club and Marketing (internal theft and other vulnerabilities)
8. Back of the house (housekeeping, purchasing, human resources, etc.: the logistics of the organization)

Each of the departments has its own internal controls and procedures, and many of these are monitored directly or indirectly by Surveillance.

Surveillance observes these areas on the basis of audits and by camera patrol. Reports are written when procedures and controls are violated, and when cheating or theft are detected. These reports should result in correction in the form of training and progressive discipline, in order to produce a safe, professional and theft-free organization.

Penalties should be in proportion to 

a. Seriousness of the offense, which can be proportional to rank of the offender
b. The amount of vulnerability the violation creates
c. Repetition, which is one method of determining intent.

Penalties would be assigned to the department, to be taken out of its budget, on the basis of these three things.

Here is an example, using one of the most basic of game protection procedures:
Surveillance observes a dealer repeatedly going to his body after handling checks or cash, without clearing hands. After initial observation, and after determining that the dealer is not at this time stealing, a report is made and forwarded through channels to the shift manager. The report includes not only the standard date, time, names, and offense, but a quote from the procedural manual and the name of the floor supervisor (including boxman, if it is a crap game). This first report is free, and is on the order of a training notification to the shift manager.

A week is allowed to pass, in order for the dealer and supervisors to be corrected. A follow-up observation is made. Unfortunately, it is found that this same dealer, operating under a different floor supervisor, is repeatedly not clearing his hands after handling checks, and he is clearly going to his body. Again, he is investigated and no theft is found in present time.

A second report is filed with the dealer and floorperson name. As it is a repetition, a copy of the first report is sent along with the current one. The supervisor is different, so there is only one repetition here. The Table Games department is fined $100. This is the amount that is judged to be appropriate, as a dealer who is not clearing his hands is able to take a $100 check and hide it on his body, and would have no trouble passing this off to someone else, in most casinos, and cashing it.

At the end of the month, all such reports are gathered together, and all fines totaled, by department. The full amount is debited from the various departmental operating funds and credited to the Surveillance Equipment Fund. It is at this point available for use by Surveillance. In this example, the budget for Table Games has been reduced, as a penalty, and the Surveillance Department is granted additional funds with which to enhance its operational ability.

Another time period goes by, say, two weeks. The same dealer is observed, again, going to his body without clearing his hands, repeatedly. The first floor supervisor is in the pit. 

Now we have two repetitions by this dealer, supposedly after initial training and correction, and a repeated failure to enforce by one of the supervisors. The correction did not take. Now it is time to up the ante. The dealer is showing a repetition of the same offense, which can be construed as being intentional; a period of a month has gone by, and the dealer is still doing the same thing. 
The fine goes up big time. The Table Games department is fined $1000 for the dealer (second repetition), and $500 for the first repeated failure to enforce by the Supervisor (higher rank means more responsibility), and the funds are transferred to Surveillance at the end of the month. 

You might ask, ‘‘why so much?’’ Because even if that dealer is not stealing, the vulnerability of the pit is at least $1000 over the period of a single month, for a dealer who refuses to clear his hands. One dealer was arrested who had been on his game for less than an hour, and he had $500 in his pocket. 

And a floor boss who fails to correct on protective procedures is leaving several games vulnerable.

What happens, though, if the initial observation and investigation finds the dealer stealing checks?

Surveillance would investigate this dealer fully. They would go back through video records of every game this dealer had dealt, as far back as the records go. They would document every theft, every procedural violation this dealer committed. At the end of the report, as far as possible, a total of the amount the dealer had stolen would be made. 

The Table Games department would be fined an amount equal to that figure, multiplied by four times the number of years that dealer had been working for the company, with a minimum of one as the multiplier (one-quarter year). 

Again, why? Surveillance video records generally go back a maximum of two weeks. If the dealer took only $500 in that period, and he had been working for the company for a single year, the likely amount taken would be well over $2000. 

This is an arbitrary figure meant to approximate a minimum of the amount that the failure to train and correct by the Table Games Department supervisors and managers could have cost the company in this one single instance. It should be removed from their budget and passed to another area where it could be used to prevent, detect and document such occurrences in the future.

These figures might not be the best. Such things have to be decided at the Board or Council level. What I would recommend, however, is that a list of violations be drawn up for each department, including the internal controls and procedures that are there, already in place in the departmental manuals and Minimum Internal Control Standards set by the company. A figure should be worked out for each such violation for a first, second and third occurrence, and for supervisor failure to enforce. Priority would be given to Internal Controls: violations of these leave the company vulnerable not only to internal and external theft, but to civil lawsuits and administrative fines by regulatory agencies.

These violations would be those which are in place to prevent internal theft, external theft, cheating, errors and losses due to company liability. 

Detections of a nit-picking nature would not be included: such ‘‘detections’’ as staff not wearing name tags, coming in late from breaks and so on, are not the target here. These are totally within the purview of the supervisors, and are not concerned with safeguarding company assets.

In order for the department to be fined and the funds granted to Surveillance, the detection would have to be done by Surveillance on a pro-active basis. That means that any request by another department for review to correct errors would be exempt from any fines, no matter whether the staff member (the dealer, for instance) had been corrected on the matter before. Otherwise Surveillance will not be called to correct errors by review.

However, procedure violations found on review to correct errors could count as the initial training notification (first report, as above), so long as a documented notification of the violation was made to the management of the department, complete with the name of the staff member and supervisor.

Audits

Surveillance also conducts audits and close watches of personnel in all areas. 
Audits generally are done when the numbers in an area begin to slip: revenue falls in table games or slots, specific games start to show low hold, point of sale areas such as gift shops, bars and restaurants start to show increased cost of sales, or there is other evidence which might indicate internal theft.

These audits concentrate on the procedures which are in place to prevent theft, and also take into account customer service factors such as speed of service.
Close watches are done on areas and specific individuals when there are any indicators of internal theft. Again, in these instances, the focus is on internal controls and procedures, on whether money is being diverted, whether sales are actually rung up and for correct amounts, etc.

Close watches and audits are generally initiated within Surveillance but can also be done at the request of managers. An invisible eye on an area is of great value: Obviously the staff who might be stealing are not going to do the same actions when the supervisors and managers are in the area. 

However, once again, the focus should be on the factors which control internal theft. Surveillance should not be investing its limited resources in finding out whether a bellman or bartender is spending an excess amount of time on his breaks or speaking on his cell phone. These are matters which are of insufficient potential loss in which to invest the limited resources of a Surveillance department.

It can be argued that goofing off on the job is a form of payroll theft. However, this is something totally within the control and survey ability of the on-duty managers in every department. Managers can put in procedures within their own departments to force staff to account for their time; they can arrange schedules, survey the area themselves, and do many other things. 

It is far too easy for a department manager to request a close watch on one individual, totally consuming the resources of Surveillance, while in some other area a confederate is stealing money. If Surveillance is spending eight hours a day watching a gift shop employee or busser for goofing off on duty, someone in another area of the casino may be able to pull a scam unobserved. Potential loss must be part of the question whenever an audit or close watch is considered.

There is one other thing involved as well. In many cases (and I have personal experience in this) when a manager has requested a close watch on someone for goofing off, no correction or the absolute minimum correction was the result, even with extensive documentation and video coverage. A slap on the wrist is seldom enough to motivate someone who is not interested in doing his or her job. 

So Surveillance usually ends up doing a second or even third watch on the same individual. 

This is compounded many times when the area where the subject works is not extensively covered by Surveillance cameras. They always have the excuse that they were working on something in another area.

So Surveillance audits and close watches should be focused on areas that are subject to internal theft, procedural violations that can actually be seen on camera, and areas of major potential loss and major vulnerability. Surveillance, when handling point-of-sale audits, should have the tools required to actually check what is being sold against the sales registered and cash taken in. This applies to all areas, even where the sales concern such things as comps.

How does this fit in with the topic at hand?

Audits and close watches by Surveillance must be done on a covert basis. However, reports of their results are provided to management as a way of tuning up the organization, correcting errors, and providing information for training and disciplinary purposes on staff.

Audits are not something that one can penalize or charge a department for, unless they are initiated by Surveillance as a result of repeated violations or other suspicious activity, indications of internal theft or inappropriate activity. Investigating repeated variances in financial reports, low hold in the pits, unaccounted for losses or other indicators, often result in a full audit in an area or close watch on certain individuals. 

Requested close watches, if they turn up material, should be exempt from any penalties. Managers will avoid requesting necessary close watches if they know that the results are going to end up as penalties on their budgets.

Therefore, the results of requested Surveillance audits and close watches cannot be a part of any penalties levied against a department. They can, however, provide the ‘‘first notification’’ that there is a problem that needs handling, as well as providing evidence when there is actual theft and cheating going on.

So even if a ‘‘requested by manager’’ Surveillance audit results in reported slackness and avoidance of procedures, even if it has detected theft in an area, an audit of the area or close watch on specific personnel would not result in budgetary penalties against the department concerned. 

Therefore, when an audit or close watch is done on an area, the reports must be sent to the managers concerned or to their immediate superiors. 

This means that when a manager starts receiving numerous reports on his staff, one of the best things he can do is request a general audit by Surveillance. This will give him the opportunity to clean up his house, find out who specifically needs training or other correction, which supervisors are (or are not) doing their jobs of training, supervising and correcting, and what procedures need to be tightened up, created, or re-designed. 

But there also has to be a flip side to the coin. When Surveillance makes a report that shows a need of correction, they should be able to expect that the correction gets done.

This requires a follow-up on every audit, after a period of time that is not specified to the managers in charge. After the opportunity is given to get an area cleaned up, at some future point Surveillance needs to look closely at the area again to ensure that procedures and people have been corrected. This does not have to be a full audit: a short-term observation of critical times and places is usually sufficient to see if an area has been corrected.

If not, then all penalties would apply, because it means that the management of the area did not make effective correction and the same problems are still occurring.

One other thing needs to be considered here: if a new manager takes over an area, he should be given the chance to clean it up, penalty-free, for a period of time. A quarter year should be a good time period for a new manager to be penalty free, as that gives him sufficient time to take over, get acquainted with his department and personnel, and the problem areas being reported to him by Surveillance and his own staff. During this period, all reports by Surveillance would be on the order of the first ‘‘training needed’’ notification.

Administration

Such a system needs a written policy in order to administer it without abuse.
It needs to have an oversight outside the Surveillance Department. Possibly the best person to administer such a system is the senior executive to whom the Surveillance Director reports, such as the General Manager, or in Indian country, the Tribal Gaming Commission or Council.

The actual accounts would be managed in the Finance Department.

The Director would compile, at the end of each month, all reports which would qualify. Such reports would include all information, including the person who failed to observe protection procedures, his direct supervisor at the time, the date, time, and a video record.

Repeated reports (such as the second and third violations for front-line personnel and supervisors) would have attached the original reports. A time limit (such as one or two quarters) would have to be imposed on repetitions. 

The Director would also compile a total of the penalties to be imposed against each department. This would have to be based on a list of violations with fines agreed upon by all of the department managers, and approved by the general manager or other such executive.

The monthly violations report would be submitted to the top exec, who would verify the reports as needed, and forwarded to the Finance department. Finance would then credit the final approved amount from each department’s operating budget to the Surveillance Equipment Fund, and reduce the amount already allocated to the concerned departments by the corresponding amount.

The Surveillance Director would then have the funds available for enhancing his own department’s abilities, for training personnel, buying new equipment (such as cameras, computers, recording and monitoring equipment, software, or other needs), or for equipment maintenance not already covered by the Surveillance operating budget.

This fund would not be a substitute for any Surveillance capital expenditures or maintenance budget, but could be used to make up the difference between estimates and reality when actually purchasing equipment or installations. 

The Director would be responsible for handling the purchasing with this fund, as he is ultimately responsible for all purchasing for his department. 

The funds from this account should be used within six months, or at most a year. As they are not a substitute for operating funds or capital expenditures, anything longer than this period being ‘‘saved for a big purchase’’ should actually be a part of the operating budget. The funds, if not used by the end of the term, should be returned to the casino general account.In this manner, a properly budgeted Surveillance Department, if it did not have its budget slashed to the bone at the annual and quarterly budget conferences, would actually be generating income from the departments which did not properly follow, train and correct regarding their own internal controls and procedures.

The Moral of the Story

Are you ready for this?

Well, much as Surveillance people in general might want to see such a system in place, it is NOT one of the possibilities.

Such a system would involve Surveillance in violating some of the most basic principles of a Casino Surveillance Department: 

Basic Rule: The Surveillance Department does not become involved in company or corporate politics. (reference: Casino Surveillance Operations Manual: Politics)

Our role is very specialized: we Observe and Report. If the Surveillance Department were to become involved in such a system as has been outlined above, we would then become so mired in internal politics on every single report that we would no longer be able to do our jobs. Every instance of a procedural violation, every single report, would be contested in such a way as to make a lawyer-infested courtroom look like a goldfish tank, as contrasted with a feeding frenzy by striped bass or sharks with blood in the water.

The savageness and brutality with which department heads defend their corporate budgets is unsurpassed in any natural environment. 

I have actually worked in a casino where the Surveillance Director attempted to run the casino as a dictatorship from the Surveillance Room. It didn’t work. That would be the ultimate result of such a system as I have outlined above.
So we must stick to our established role: OBSERVE and REPORT.

Even when it seems futile, even when you have written essentially the same report the sixth and seventh time, on the same personnel, stick to the facts. By all means, include references to earlier reports. By all means, call attention to the vulnerabilities. By all means, quote the published procedures and internal controls when they have been violated.

But don’t go beyond your role. Don’t attempt to go outside your chain of command, unless it has failed utterly. And even then, OBSERVE and REPORT only the facts. Keep your opinions out of it. Leave it to those people at the top of the chain of command to make decisions, impose penalties, and handle the situations. 

Collect reports, by name and supervisor. When things begins to be obviously out of line . . .

OBSERVE and REPORT, if necessary to the highest person on YOUR OWN chain of command. Bypass the chain of command at your own risk, and only when you feel your own integrity is in danger.


Copyright © 2007 by Jim Goding. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized sale or distribution is a violation of law and of the proprietary rights of the author, and is actionable under law. To purchase this author’s materials, visit www.casinosurveillancenews.com


It’s News Time: (If any of these links have expired, email me and I will send the text of the story)


Busts and Scams:

A former New Jersey state trooper who admitted to running a sports betting ring with a retired hockey star was sentenced Friday to five years in state prison. See the Story at http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/top_three/story/7494383p-7390267c.html

A casino worker brandishing a gun allegedly bound and gagged co-workers with duct tape to make a getaway with bundles of $100 bills that could stack up to more than $1 million. This is the first story, see it at: http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070803/NEWS0801/308030009/1006/news01. 
The individual was apprehended later in the month: http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_arrest07.3daeef9.html
http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_soboba09.3965392.html


One machine in a Rhode Island slots club paid out by error double credits, and of course the scammers flocked in like flies to a stockyard. http://www.projo.com/news/content/twin_river_08-17-07_566P4IQ.3551286.html Editorial comment: I have few facts on which to base an opinion, but as a slots or surveillance manager I would be looking heavily at who installed that machine and certified it for use: staff? Manufacturer? I have seen several instances of similar ‘’errors’’ over the years. It’s part of my training classes.

The son of the Seattle mayor has agreed to plead guilty to his involvement in a casino-cheating ring accused of stealing millions of dollars by bribing dealers in seven states. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/northwest/story/167195.htm

A former Louisiana state district judge was arrested and jailed in Shreveport on four felony counts involving more than $20,000 in unpaid gambling debts to a Las Vegas casino. http://www.nola.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news-34/118848303330380.xml&storylist=louisiana




Other Casino News:

A lawsuit in Illinois may end up with all casino patrons being required to show identification. http://mywebtimes.com/ottnews/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=303405 My comment on this story is only that many gamblers would prefer not to be ID’ed. It has been a few years, but once upon a time casinos did not allow anyone to take photos within a casino because they were protecting the privacy of their guests. This is a long time in the past, and protecting the privacy of guests will soon be gone the way of the passenger pigeon, probably at Federal level. 

For a heavily editorialized article regarding comments made by a Harrahs executive regarding their marketing policies, see this link: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6463694.html Note: I neither agree nor disagree with either the writer or with the Harrah’s exec, and also don’t think their marketing policy is something that Harrahs is living up to. Ref: Las Vegas all-suites hotel the Rio.


That’s all for this month, Folks. Next month, maybe some more busts and scams. 




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I-Cube.   All rights reserved.  Revised: February 18, 2008 .                                       BTD (QG)