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A look at how casinos beat the cheats

5 May 2008

MISSISSIPPI -- As reported by the Biloxi Sun Herald: It's been years since a camera was allowed into a surveillance room at a Mississippi casino.

"...This wasn't the dark chamber made popular in Hollywood. It looked more like a typical computer workstation with four men seated at a long desk continually scanning the video monitors in front of them. Occasionally they peered up at the flat screens mounted on the wall and responded to a phone call by taking a closer look. At one point they zoomed in on a man they determined was counting cards, but not with the sophistication of the blackjack players in the movie '21.'

"...[Hurricane] Katrina gave the Beau Rivage and some other Coast casinos the opportunity to go digital and become more advanced than casino surveillance in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

"...A door of the security suite at the Beau Rivage opens to a chilly equipment room where rolling racks of 14,000 VCR tapes have been replaced with stacks of digital RAID arrays and other equipment with 750,000 gigabytes of storage space. Surveillance technician Richard Gibbs said the hardware and software all have to pass Gaming Commission approval.

"Now, instead of searching through tapes, with the click of a mouse the staff can flick back a couple of days and with a joystick zoom in on the recorded images.

"In another room are the security cameras for the Beau Rivage. With about 1,600 cameras around the property, security and surveillance personnel are watching everything from these two rooms.

"...Technology used to identify cheaters in the casinos has been shared with the Pentagon to stop corruption at federal agencies, the Washington Post reported, and Homeland Security officials are also looking at casino-security techniques to determine how it can help them..."

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