Gamblers have their eyes on the prize: the spinning roulette wheel, the shuffling cards, and the hands of the dealer. Caught up in the thrill of the moment, the mesmerizing casino action combines a cacophony of sights and sounds designed to dazzle the senses.
Millions of dollars and thousands of guests flow through the average large casino on a normal day, and all the action is carefully watched by casino security. Whether it’s surveillance via the Eye in the Sky or personal contact with casino guests, casino security guards see a lot of action themselves during an average shift.
Casinos employ security guards in several capacities and job titles, from surveillance room guards watching CCTV monitors to floor security. Depending on the type of security guard, the qualifications and training vary.
To qualify for a casino floor security guard job, candidates must have a high school diploma or a GED, clean criminal record, good communication skills, and ability to qualify for a license when necessary. In addition to these basic qualifications, security personal often receive on the job training in CPR and first aid, alcohol management, restraint, and handcuffing courses.
Surveillance security officers have a unique set of qualifications required in addition to the basic security qualifications listed above. Working with the technical aspects of video monitoring is an obvious function of a surveillance security job, but a candidate needs a bit more than that to do the job.
Since surveillance officers are required to spot suspicious and questionable activity happening on the casino floor and gaming tables, a special set of qualifications are required. They must attend a special training school designed for dealers and the surveillance team as they must work together. The guards must have a thorough understanding of all casino games such as slots, roulette, poker, and craps, in order to spot gambling behavior which is out of the ordinary for each game.
A surveillance officer must also obtain a state license allowing them to operate in a casino security capacity.
Casino security is made up of a lot of moving parts. State-of-the-art tech is employed to protect billions in assets and thousands of guests, and well-trained staff are part of process and the necessary human face behind the tech.
A casino security guard job is a very critical one. Not only do they protect the assets of the casino, they also protect the patrons as well. Huge crowds fill the average casino resort on a normal day, and security personnel must be able to sort through all that ‘crowd noise’ to spot any trouble.
And the guard isn’t just out looking for cheats. In the chaotic jingling and jangling of the casino floor, an infinite possibility of events can unfold. The average gambler may be fully immersed in the experience, possibly buzzing from the casino beverages, and not be fully aware of their surroundings.
Thieves may attempt to target casino patrons and take advantage of the crowd. Not only that, but a fire alarm may go off and go unnoticed by a gambler fully in the moment. In such cases, security guards intervene and provide hands-on safety instructions to help evacuate casino patrons.
Security guards must also communicate rapidly through all the casino’s channels, including dispatch, pit bosses, the cage, the parking lot, and the gaming tables. Alerting fellow casino colleagues and responding quickly to real-time emergencies is par for the course, and absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of everyone in the casino.
When it comes to spotting cheaters, security guards must be on the lookout for three basic types of cheat: stringing, manipulation, and distraction. Stringing involves a cheater who uses a coin with a fishing line to yo-yo the coin into slots for repeated use. Manipulation involves marked cards, a false shuffle, or stacking the deck in favor of the cheater. This involves collusion with a crooked dealer to pull it off. Distraction involves more than one con, with one cheater distracting dealers and security personnel while another pulls the con.
Crazy Casino Moments
There are certain occasions which beg for chaos and disorder, and New Years Eve is a prime example. Casinos are crowded, patrons are partying, and anything can happen. In these cases, a security guard usually must deal with drunk and disorderly people, domestic violence, or solicitation.
One security guard told a horror tale of a biker convention gone wrong at a casino. Some “marketing genius” decided it would be a good idea to invite multiple motorbike gangs to the casino to do tricks and shows in the parking lot. What they didn’t count on (for some unknown reason) was a large number of aggressive, armed men under the influence of alcohol and drugs arriving.
The entire security staff had to spend the weekend trying to break up brawls between rival biker gangs and keeping the loss of property and life down to a bare minimum.
But the horror show isn’t limited to outlaws. The same security guard told a tale of a Marine Ball and a packed conference center. Soldiers trained to kill are kept under total discipline most of the time, and when they blow off a little steam, it is too much for a simple security guard to handle.
The security guard who told the story said they were under strict orders not to try to handle any disorderly marines themselves, and to alert the superior officer. On this particular night, a huge marine who had too much to drink was getting belligerent and trying to start a brawl in the casino. The casino security guards looked on without engaging the marine while their supervisor went to find the officer in charge.
When they found the superior officer, he too was very inebriated. But when he approached the disorderly marine, all he did was whisper quietly to the drunken marine, and he immediately shrank in volume and threat level, and quietly skulled away to his hotel room. The superior officer simply said “Sergeant, get your shit together now, or you’re cleaning toilets for a month.”
Casino security guards are the eyes and ears of a gambling establishment, and their responsibilities are heavy. People tend to cut loose in casinos in ways they would not ordinarily, as the free-flowing booze and cash make for a powerful release of human inhibitions.
Casino security guards have seen drunken couples trying to have sex in the most unlikely locations: in the casino corridors, the elevators, or in the parking garage. And they must remain diplomatic and in control of every situation, no matter how potentially embarrassing or ludicrous it may seem.
A Necessary Job
As our intrepid casino security guard said, it’s not a glamorous job by any means. It’s a necessary job, but kids aren’t telling their parents, “I wanna grow up and be a security guard!”
As long as there are casinos and gamblers to fill them, there will be a need for casino security guards. So, in trying economic times, maybe all a jobseeker needs in the way of job security is a security job.