Analyzing Casino Money Handling Processes

Analyzing Casino Money Handling Processes

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Analyzing Casino Money Handling Processes

Abstract

In all matters that involve handling large amounts of money, security is always a key concern From the receipt of money to its transportation, numerous security threats exist which might result in the disruption of normalcy, loss of assets and other administrative consequences. Casinos are common sites where the issue of maintaining high levels of security is taken very seriously. The security measures and processes adopted in most casinos seek to protect the proceeds in the establishment from conmen and thieves, protect the customers and reduce cases of violent crime and inappropriate behavior. Typically, casinos handle relatively large quantities of cash and this often lures most of the customers and employees to commit crimes.

Introduction

The process of handling and transporting casino money is extremely delicate. Ensuring total security and integrity of the processes is highly important, especially to the administrators of the establishment. The two main processes in the handling of casino money: the drop process and the hard count process offer the best opportunities for security threats and reinforcement. The proper facilitation and implementation of these two processes determines the security of all the currencies collected in the casino, therefore, making them highly significant in realizing security while handling money in the casino. The implementation of these security measures and procedures is accompanied by significant adjustments and consequences for the security teams and the owners of casinos. Casinos having different designs and conditions for instance corporations and card rooms are besieged by constant security problems from both staff and customers. The increasing costs of their illegal actions pose an even greater confrontation in the unstable economy. All casinos that handle large numbers of people have to address frequent security episodes on a daily basis. These seemingly regular incidents take up an unwarranted amount of employee hours and, if not addressed in an appropriate fashion, could easily turn into expensive and time wasting disasters.

While, in the past, casino security was made up of burly men guarding the slot machines with the intention of spotting rogue patrons or staff, the current casino security systems are highly advanced, digitalized and integrated with other security systems such as the police. Because of the high frequency of theft and the grave consequences on the business, casinos adopt security measures and processes to prevent any criminal activity that may lead to financial losses. The essential level of security currently uses a combination of physical security personnel and technology to reinforce any weak points in the security system. Casinos commonly use cameras and expert security employees who coordinate the handling and transfer of casino money at every occasion. However, findings from studies done by security experts illustrate that the majority of casinos are deeply deficient in the mechanization necessary to react to security incidents successfully, initiate proper investigative case management methods and produce consistent and justifiable reporting. Currently, the gambling industry can fully enjoy noteworthy competitive advantage and make the most out of limited labor force by adopting a comprehensive strategy that can automate all the cases and examinations for standardized, auditable and justifiable outcomes.

Ethical Concerns

The issue of security in handling casino money contains several instances that can prove to have negative ethical consequences. The process of collecting the daily proceeds from all the slot machines and physically counting all the currency opens up the process to several opportunities for customers and staff to engage in illegal and criminal activities. The issue of employees handling casino money has several ethical consequences. One, this provides an opportunity for staff to directly commit fraud or liaise with patrons and steal the cash together since they are in direct contact with the daily proceeds. The security system that also handles the money faced great ethical dilemmas as they were trusted with the surveillance, protection and counting of the casino’s money.

While these measures make for good security tools, they bear considerable ethical consequences especially in the intrusion of privacy of patrons. The advanced surveillance systems in most casinos can assess the psychological and physical condition of a patron while playing at the table and when simply relaxing in the casino. These security installations are invasive in nature and intrude on the privacy of customers by tracking their activities, making records of their conditions and even taking personal data without the consent of the individuals. This can be considered a violation of the privacy of individuals that can result in serious legal action being taken by the security company.

Technological oversights also present an ethical dilemma for the money handling security team. Casino slot machines are also prone to software and hardware glitches that present an ethical dilemma for the security staff working at the establishments. In the course of regular inspections and handling of daily income, security teams encounter glitches in the slot machines that can facilitate the retrieval of cash without the knowledge of the administration. These same teams regularly are the same ones that coordinate the surveillance processes in the casino. By having the opportunity to manipulate the surveillance and slot machines, the security team can be facing several ethical issues including tampering with the equipment, collaboration to embezzle funds and other related crimes. Several cases have been reported of patrons who accidentally or intentionally exploited slot machines after they discovered that they issued more money than was required.

Method

The issue of ethics in gambling and handling of gambling money is very complex in nature. This is because the activity itself is highly addictive, involves large sums of money and attracts people from various demographic levels. This combination of customers and currency makes gambling a highly stimulating and extravagant activity. The first step is to retrieve money from the slot machines (drop process). The team retrieving the money consists of accountants, security officials and personnel from the hard count room.

The keys for the slot machine are retrieved from the cashier only once, and this takes 15 minutes. Removing 300-drop buckets will require 3,000 minutes since on average, a bucket takes about 10 minutes. These 300 slot machines will cover 15 carts with each cart holding 20 buckets. Each cart takes about 30 minutes to be delivered to the hard count room, therefore, in total; it takes about 7 hours 30 minutes to deliver all fifteen carts. Adding the time taken for delivery to the time for emptying the slot machines, the average time taken is 57 hours and 30 minutes for the complete process.

Hard Count Process

Each bucket is weighed, and this takes 7 minutes for each bucket. Therefore, 300 buckets will take approximately 35 hours. Each roll takes averagely 10 minutes to complete, and each bucket has 750 coins. Therefore, having 30 rolls in each bucket and 300 buckets, the total number of rolls is 9,000. Since each roll takes a minute, the whole procedure will take 15 hours. Placing these rolls into cans will take 18.75 hours since 9,000 rolls will fill 225 cans and each can is filled by 5 minutes. Filling the summary report takes approximately 5 minutes.

Purchasing a coin-wrapping machine will have little or no impact on hastening the whole process. This is because the slowest stage in the process is the weighing section that takes about 35 hours. The coin-wrapping stage only takes about15 hours and the introduction of another wrapping machine without another weighing machine will be futile.

Purchasing electronic slot machines would reduce the time and labor taken to conduct the drop and hard count process significantly. This is because electronic machines would count all the customers and the amount that they used in each round and convey this information to the cashier and other accountants. However, they may be expensive and vulnerable to hacking that may result in the casino losing a large amount of money before the perpetrators can be discovered.

SWOT Analysis of Casino Security Systems

Strengths

The high standards among the security companies in the gambling industry offer first-class security that ensures that the business is fully profitable. The insiders working within the casinos undergo rigorous background checks of all the employees before offering them any level of access or privileges to the sensitive areas within the casino, such as the safe or other storage areas. These checks include criminal records, employment history and financial investigations. They are also performed on a regular basis to ensure that none of the insiders engages in illegal financial activities that can jeopardize the businesses’ profits. Apart from background checks, constant monitoring of employee activities ensures that security in the gambling industry is exceptionally high, and this translates into little or no losses for the business.

Organized levels of protecting, monitoring and accounting for the money in casinos ensures that running such a business is highly systematic and profitable. Several betting associations and groups formulate and review protocols and guidelines on how to handle casino money. These policies are adhered to by all security companies that subscribe to such regimes making it remarkably easy for casinos to roll out the money collection process (Dempsey, 2008).

Weaknesses

While casino security is extremely systematic and efficient, it depends largely on the human support that calibrates, controls and uses it to discover areas where the security team can or have engaged in unethical behavior. This dependence on human beings is its weakness because human beings are prone to making mistakes or showing preference for personal interests over corporate interests. On a related point, these security procedures and measures also suffer from technological flaws. Most casino systems are increasingly depending on technological innovations to buffer their security. These digital systems are prone to malfunctions, intrusion, glitches and misuse due to poor calibration. All these technological problems leave the casino in a vulnerable condition, as the human personnel cannot handle the security cases without the help of additional technology. Therefore, the increased dependence on security technology is a weakness of security in most casinos (Dempsey, 2008).

Opportunities

The gambling industry is increasingly becoming a lucrative sector, and this has attracted many investors as well as affluent customers looking to increase their money through gambling. This large influx of money from different sources attracts high-end security systems and personnel that can safely protect the money from cons and safeguards. Therefore, professionals in the security sector have an opportunity to create new employment and expand the security business into casinos that require tight security when handling money collected by the machines. Similarly, the gambling industry offers many opportunities for technicians and scientists to come up with innovations that are specifically tailor made for the gambling business. Most of these technological innovations are used for surveillance and authentication purposes. Together, these opportunities hold significant potential for the casino industry.

Threats

Casinos are exposed to technological threats from hackers who infiltrate the technological measures placed by the casino administration. These types of intruders invade the databases of casino’s security system and make off with key private data belonging to the patrons at the casino. Wrongful usage of this data can lead to theft and other crimes perpetrated by the information stolen from the casino database. Therefore, by maintaining a database on the personal information of the patrons, casinos also run the risk of being infiltrated and exposing this information to other parties. When casinos collect personal information without the consent of customers, it constitutes an unethical decision that could prove to be complicated legally if customers decide to sue for misuse of personal information (Bunn & Glynn, 2013).

Causes/ Effects

The causes of unethical behavior among security teams within casinos are numerous. Poor surveillance by the casino company is a leading cause of most security breaches and threats that allow these security teams to misappropriate funds from the casino. The fraud case involving the staff at Havasu Landing Resort and Casino revealed that the security staff in the casino was regularly replacing the cash in the drop boxes with newspaper strips (Dempsey, 2008). Similarly, the daily financial logs were falsified to conceal the pilfering. In this case, the security offered by the casino was poor and largely to blame for the insecurity. Casinos normally use highly trained employees having a history in law enforcement who possess skills in tracking down fraudsters. The effect of such criminal activities is mostly economic. The casino loses many revenues and valuable property that was issued by customers and this can affect the continuity of the business.

Addressing Ethical and Diversity Issues

Within the gambling industry, several gray areas exist concerning the ethical use of casino equipment, handling casino money and dealing with unique cases that happen among patrons and staff in their interactions. Solving these ethical dilemmas will require a two-pronged approach that discourages the security team from engaging in any criminal activity while also restructuring the reach of the patron and lowering their chances of engaging in unethical conduct that may jeopardize the activities of the casino. While the perpetrator of the crime is mostly aware of their actions beforehand, they cannot be fully blamed for the crime since these patrons are operating in an inefficient, faulty system (Bunn & Glynn, 2013).

Tackling these ethical issues will require a full examination of the security system from the collection of money at the drop process to the hard count process. Every actor and step involved in the handling of casino money should be assessed for any loopholes that may create the need to engage in unethical behavior. A security system may contain many flaws that give the employees leeway to misappropriate and abuse it and create losses for the owner of the casino. After this evaluation, the flaws can be corrected, and the whole system can be made safer thus discouraging the security team from engaging in unprincipled behavior (Dempsey, 2008).

Results/ Discussions

Gambling in itself has numerous ethical and procedural issues surrounding its promotion and prominence. Handling the large amounts of money that are spent by casino patrons requires the adoption of secure and dependable security measures. Most casinos handle large amounts of money and other valuable items making it extremely crucial for them to have a trusted security system that can safeguard and account for the daily proceeds (Bunn & Glynn, 2013). Major innovations have been adopted that monitor several aspects of the proceedings within the premises. All the actions of the security team are evaluated for any signs of emotional or physical signs that can reveal corrupt actions. This is done through video cameras that record the activities of the security team during the drop and the hard count processes. In this way, a casino can ensure that they do not experience any losses that arise from corrupt security officials when removing the money from slot machines (drop) and during the counting period (hard count). Throughout the paper, emphasis will be placed on the drop process and the hard count since these two areas are where unethical practices take place most frequently.

The basic scenario of controlling cash in a casino involves several actors. The dealer handles the money at each table by storing it into a drop box (Cole & Ring, 2006). This step is irrelevant for slot machines that store the coins automatically. After the dealer’s shift is complete, a security drop team enters the casino and switches the full drop box with another one for the next dealer. This full drop box is transported to the counting room where records are made of the total sum during the counting session. Most of the major casinos in Europe and the United States are designed with far more complex digital systems designed to analyze the relationship of security officials, how they handle money, their motivation for handling money and even their style of dispensing security. Video cameras capture all the actions of the security teams. Computer software calibrate the choices that all security officials make, generate regressive-analytic results and approximate the long-term worth of any losses to the casino (Dempsey, 2008).

Therefore, from the control room, the advanced systems can monitor all the activities of security individuals during the drop period and the hard count. This level of investment in the gambling industry may seem extravagant, but these gambling centers have the motivations and resources to break new ground in surveillance technology and data collection. Casinos spend large sums of money to provide work for the most skilled cryptographers, gambling theorists and computer security experts. This level of advancement in security technology at the casinos has introduced software that can feed alerts on suspicious behavior to fellow security personnel (Bunn & Glynn, 2013). These innovative systems use probability and historical records to gauge whether a security officer has provided an unjust or false report when presenting the final proceeds to the casino administrators. This is an illustration of how the system is intended to function as a security device.

The internal controls within a casino are designed in a way that ensures accountability is maintained at several layers. The paper controls can be tracked and used as documentary confirmation that can be approved for compliance in an inspection process that analyses all transaction records and documents along with proper ratification, such as signatures. Apart from paper trails, physical controls such as safes and secure counters offer obvious controls. Personnel controls handle the supervisory requirements in the transactions. These different controls in the casino mean that any transactions are confirmed by several people who ratify the validity before they pass on to the subsequent employee. Before these types of controls were adopted by most casinos, daily revenues were constantly embezzled. The basic frauds ranged from members of the security team drawing money out of the drop boxes when the boxes were being transported to the count team. In other cases, the dealer at a blackjack or craps table pocketed chips from the gaming table and converted at the cashier’s cage. Other cases of corruption happened when the cashier accepted money from the counting team and made falsified records of the money received from the days’ activities (Bunn & Glynn, 2013).

References

Bunn M. & Glynn K.M. (2013). Preventing Insider Theft: Lessons from the Casino and Pharmaceutical Industries. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management. Volume XLI, No. 3

Cole, E. & Ring, S. (2006). Insider threat: Protecting the enterprise from sabotage, spying, and theft. Rockland, MA: Syngress.

Dempsey, J. S. (2008). Introduction to private security. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.