The use of technology has become more common at casinos, particularly during the 1990s. Computers and video cameras routinely supervise the games. “Chip tracking,” which involves betting chips with built-in microcircuitry, enables the casino to monitor wagers minute-by-minute, has also become commonplace. Roulette wheels are also regularly monitored for statistical deviations. Enclosed versions of the games allow players to bet using buttons, rather than dealing with dealers.
Security measures at casinos vary greatly, but most generally include two separate departments: the specialized surveillance team and the physical security force. The former responds to calls for help from patrons, while the latter operates the closed-circuit television system, or the casino’s “eye in the sky.” While these two departments are completely separate, they work hand-in-hand to protect the casino’s assets and ensure the safety of its guests. Casinos have been quite successful at preventing crime with these systems.
One of the first steps in casino marketing is to understand the underlying motivations of casino patrons. Many casino patrons are addicted to gambling, and these patrons generate disproportionately large amounts of revenue for casinos. In fact, five percent of casino patrons are addicted to gambling, and these individuals account for 25 percent of the profits. However, studies have found that casinos do not provide much benefit to local communities, since they attract primarily local players and divert their spending from other local forms of entertainment. The cost of treating these problem gamblers and the lost productivity due to gambling addiction often outweigh the economic benefits of casinos.
Although casinos have elaborate surveillance systems to keep patrons safe, they are not completely free of risk. A casino’s cameras are usually located in strategic places, such as in the ceiling. The camera feeds are recorded, allowing security staff to quickly identify suspects if they appear suspiciously. Most casinos use computer chips to determine the payouts of slot machines. Therefore, no one watches the slot floor. But security is still an important part of casino operations.