Eye in the Sky


A section of the Surveillance Room at M.

Las Vegas is known for many different things: gambling, buffets, weddings and for being America's Playground. With so much high-paced activity going on 24/7 our city has also become a headquarters for all things security and surveillance. Casinos take observation to the next level and tend to have more cameras per square foot than any airport or sports arena*. High-tech equipment and (many) keen eyes work together to form the Surveillance Team at M and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek inside the most secretive room on our property.

Our surveillance room is filled with screens, computers and all the sophisticated equipment that it takes to keep a four-star resort operating safely and smoothly. Despite our "boutique" 390 room size, our security and surveillance software is top-of-the-line. While many casinos still use video tape to record the casino floor (meaning they must constantly change out those tapes and can only record on a certain number of cameras) our casino operates on CCTV (closed circuit television) which is entirely digital and records everything displayed on our all cameras continuously all the time. It also gives our Surveillance team the ability to access any video from any time our property has been open, nearly instantly.

Most people might think surveillance means only monitoring cameras, but our team takes a pro-active approach to observing the activities on our casino floor. According to our surveillance team the cameras are just one aspect of the job. Others include making sure our team knows and understands the games, our dealers are property trained to handle cards and our pit team knows to report suspicious behavior or large wagers. It's a combination of not only cameras but intelligence gathered from many different areas that make a strong surveillance team.

Our team works to ensure all our guests are safe while at our resort but one of the main purposes of our Surveillance team is keeping an eye on the casino floor. Our team uses different software products to help them identify known cheaters and advantage players. The program captures someone's face and converts the image into mathematical data and then compares it to our resort's private database and also SIN's (Surveillance Information Network) catalog of cheaters compiled from other casino properties. The program is able to pull up a person's height, weight, aliases and even known associates by just someone's face.

If a person's face isn't matched to a known advantage player, or perhaps they're cheating in a casino for the first time playing blackjack the Blackjack Survey software catalogues the game (when a player hits, stands, etc.) and is able to evaluate the game mathematically to determine if a player is counting cards or in fact cheating. If they are cheating, the software is able to analyze if the player is making decisions based on knowing the dealer's hole-card (dealer's face down card) or top-card (next card dealt). The program is also able to measure a player's luck. It gives their win/loss probability, deck luck, initial card luck, betting luck, draw card luck and dealer's bust ratio.

Even with the help of high-tech software the true skill lies with our Surveillance Team Members and their knowledge combined with our state-of-the-art means of detection.

*According to a recent Washington Post article.