Microgaming Casinos Rated as Highly Secure

February 18th, 2011  |  Published in Security

One of the most sought after security approvals in the gaming industry is through eCOGRA. This gives online gaming sites and their suppliers a considerable amount of credibility as being robust and secure. Those companies that have not yet been approved submit their gaming operations to eCOGRA for inspection. The most recent Microgaming-powered casinos to be inspected and approved are Red Flush and Casino La Vida, both members of the Club Red Gaming group.

Since they are approved, both online gaming sites can display the “Safe and Fair” seal from eCOGRA. This seal places them in an elite status with only 143 other online casinos. This indicates these casinos have fulfilled the required standards during the inspection and during the time period of monitoring for further compliance. The eCOGRA assessment includes the following issues:

  • Fair gaming standards
  • Fair and timely payouts
  • Efficient customer support
  • Responsible gaming gauges
  • Dispute resolution

Representatives from both casinos publicly announced how proud they are of their newest accomplishment and that they are delighted with being recognized for continuous integrity and compliant operating standards. The seal is the latest accomplishment for online gaming sites since they were first launched.

In 2008, Red Flush was presented with the Best New Online Casino Award courtesy of Casinomeister. In 2010, Casino La Vida was released and also received the Best New Online Casino Award only from Online Gaming Insider.

eCOGRA was founded in 2003 by opposing online casinos to improve operating standards and protect internet gambling players. Today, eCOGRA functions independently from its founders and does not receive any funding. For this reason, approvals granted by eCOGRA have acquired credibility.

eCOGRA operational standards apply not only to online casinos but also online poker rooms, sports betting, bingo halls, live dealer gaming, mobile casino gambling, software providers and affiliate programs. Basically the seal covers all companies in connection with online gambling. The seals are recognized by numerous international regulatory bodies like the European Gaming and Betting Association. However, the seal is mainly placed to appeal to players and potential customers.

Microgaming is one of the largest and most well-known software developers to have become eCOGRA certified. Therefore, being that Red Flush and Casino La Vida are Microgaming-powered, it was a bit easier for them to obtain this prestigious certification. With so few casinos on the certification list, acquiring this will drastically increase the number of players at a casino and thus multiply revenue.

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32Red Uses PayPoint for Protection

February 15th, 2011  |  Published in Security

With over 12 years’ experience as an internet service provider, PayPoint offers payment and other services to online gaming sites as well as prepaid vouchers to Ukash and paysafecard customers. PayPoint can be used at over 23,000 retail locations in the United Kingdom. One of PayPoints most popular services is FraudGuard, an innovative online fraud management system.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, PayPoint launched FraudGuard 4. One of the best aspects of the software is it can be separated from the main package that includes payment services. Online gaming operator 32Red was one of the first customers to use FraudGuard 4. 32Red has won many awards for their casino operations. They decided to adopt the FraudGuard 4 platform to ensure robust risk management and security.

FraudGuard 4 assesses every financial transaction to and from an online casino from all customers. This significantly decreases operating risks while improving customer’s services and cash flow. The biggest advantages for online casinos to use FraudGuard 4 include:

  • Performance
  • Flexibility
  • Quick and intuitive configuration
  • Extensive reporting
  • Real-time functionality

In Summary, FraudGuard 4 will enable the online casino operator to make a quick decision while analyzing the financial risks of each transaction. The installation also equates to more valid transactions being identified and processed. The multi-level fraud prevention system is efficient and can manage anything it encounters.

The Operations Director of 32Red online casino is thrilled with the results of FraudGuard 4. They feel PayPoint and associated products offer the best fraud protection for casinos in the industry. Since it offers unparalleled flexibility, the software allows operators to accept more payments while preserving stringent risk controls. In turn, this gives 32Red a competitive advantage by provided improved customer service.

The Managing Director of PayPoint further stated that 32Red will now be able to free company resources to focus on the core business instead of being bogged down by implementing manual fraud controls. Since the PayPoint system is constantly evolving from client feedback, 32Red can expect an improvement in services in the future.

PayPoint has created a system that could revolutionize the way financial transactions are conducted to and from online gaming sites. With this level of protection for the casino and player, perhaps more individuals will feel comfortable signing up at a casino site. Overall, this system will improve customer service and could indirectly increase revenue for all online gaming sites that utilize its functionality.

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Help with eWallet Accounts

February 4th, 2011  |  Published in Security

On rare occasions an online player may find their eWallet account has been shut down or temporarily suspended. The immediate reaction most customers experience is they have been ripped off and lost a lot of money. Luckily, there is usually a legitimate reason for this situation. Since eWallet is a reputable source of financial transactions in the online gaming industry, the player needs to remain calm and follow a few simple steps to solve the potential problem.

The simplest of these situations is the player can login and is unable to transfer funds between a bank account or gaming site. This condition indicates the account is frozen, not closed. The most common reason for this is the player has used the allowable amount of monetary transactions for a specified period. At this point, the player must contact customer support to discuss future options.

The simplest option is to wait until the period ends (usually the end of the month) and the transfer of funds will reset to the specified amount. In many cases, eWallet will allow the player to increase transaction limits, but utmost consideration must be taken as this could be the first step to problem gambling.

A larger problem occurs when the player is unable to log on to their account. This indicates the eWallet account has been closed. There are many reasons for this:

  • Inactivity over a specific amount of time
  • Unusually large transaction
  • Account being operated by someone else

eWallet routinely closes accounts due to inactivity. The simple solution is to establish telephone contact using the same number the player used when initially signing up for the service. At this point the customer will have to go through a verification process. As eWallet processes differ slightly, more specific information can be found on the website.

If eWallet sees an unusually large transaction being made that is out of place with previous history, they will shut down the account as a measure to safeguard the player’s funds. The same process must be used as with inactivity, a simple personal verification will reinstate the player’s account.

The most serious of the three is the account being operated by some other user. One indication could be a player signing in from a different country that is not serviced by eWallet. This issue requires a much longer and more rigorous verification process.

Although the freezing and closure of an account at eWallet can be frustrating and inconvenient, the company is simply protecting its customers from outside threats. In the majority of instances it is a simple fix with a phone call for verification or a chat with customer service. Before you call, make sure to relax and remain calm.

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Beware of Top Casino Scams

January 11th, 2011  |  Published in Security

Over the years there have been hundreds of attempts to scam land-based casinos out of money. As technology improves, criminals have become more creative regarding methods of cheating and stealing. The following are the top five casino scams on record. They vary over across many years and the methods between most of them are different.

An Armored Car Heist

The first scam took place in 1993 at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Roberto Solis and his girlfriend Heather Tallchief stole an armored truck holding $2.5 million and escaped to the Cayman Islands. In 2005, Tallchief turned herself in and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison. However, Solis has never been captured.

Using Technology

More recently in 2004, three Eastern European players devised a cheating system utilizing lasers, computers and mobile phones which won them more than $1.9 million at the London Ritz Casino. These devices were used to track the speed of the roulette wheel and place wagers based on that speed.

An Indian Reservation Heist

Rolando Ramos and two partners robbed the Soboba Casino in California in 2007. They walked away with $1.58 million which, at the time, was the largest heist of an Indian reservation casino. Using pepper spray and other methods of force, Ramos made his way into the casino vault and kidnapped the guards. He was arrested a few days later for his crimes.

Creating Fake Tickets

Adam Vega was a slot floor employee at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona. In 2008, he admitted to stealing $650,000 over a two year period by acquiring passwords that generated jackpot tickets paying out as much $1,200 each. This was the largest employee theft in Arizona casino history.

The Trash Method

Elizabeth Williams, a former cashier at Louisiana’s Riverbend Palace Casino was arrested for taking over $52,000 in cash and documents in 2006. Her method was to load a garbage bag full of money and documents, then transport them to the trash. Apparently she took three bags of garbage to the trash can outside the casino and only two of them ended up in the actual garbage can.

Criminals have become increasingly creative when attempting to steal from casinos. They use every advantage possible including technology, creating fake tickets and using plain force. Overall most perpetrators that scam a casino will not get away with it, although a few have walked away with a great deal of money.

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Fake Chip Scam at an Australian Casino

December 31st, 2010  |  Published in Security

A 27 year old woman at the Star City Casino in Australia was arrested for counterfeit chips that were smuggled into the casino. This was the first time in over a decade that fake chips were used at the Star City Casino. A spokesperson for the casino stated the cashier discovered an irregular chip and contacted the security team immediately. The casino said the chip was excellent quality but the cashiers are properly trained to spot these types of irregularities.

Part of a Large Surveillance Investigation

The casino immediately had a new set of $100 chips to redistribute to the guests. Those that took the chips home and plan to bring them back to the casino will not be affected by the counterfeit chips. The arrest of the woman was part of a larger surveillance investigation. She was charged with dishonestly obtaining property through deception and two counts of the use and possession of counterfeit chips.

Police raided the woman’s home and found additional counterfeit chips, computers, credit cards and $21,840 in cash. A 28 year old man was also arrested and charged for possessing and distributing counterfeit chips.

The Proper Preparedness for this Case

Due to the fast action taken by the Star City Casino and the co-operation between police and casino surveillance, police have been able to identify and act quickly in these types of cases. This results in the minimum amount of damage to be done to the casino.

Another Counterfeit Chip Case

In April 2009, executives at the Melbourne Crown Casino checked the authenticity of $13.7 million of $1,000 chips. This was after near-perfect counterfeit chips were detected. Following the investigation, over $36,000 worth of chips were found to be fake. This has become a serious challenge for casino surveillance executives. They can only monitor the use of these chips and continue to train staff on the detection of counterfeit chips.

Counterfeit chips are not a large casino issue in the United States. However, this is typical in many other countries that allow gambling. Since this is such a challenge, casino employees are constantly training on the latest detection methods. As counterfeit criminals become more skilled with replicating chips, it will be difficult in the future to detect the fake chips. Therefore, cashiers, dealers and other employees must always be on guard to find the chips that do not fit in.

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The Importance of Controlling Evidence

December 6th, 2010  |  Published in Security

Being able to correctly control evidence typically refers to the quality of the evidence in preparation for court. For example, a recording is acceptable if it reveals a cheating action or actions; enough witnesses involved to identify the criminal or show enough of the area to prove a misdeed occurred. Therefore, specific recordings are needed for this to hold up in court. Since it is the defense attorney’s job to disprove the recording all aspects must be consistent.

The integrity of the recording must be preserved and protected to prevent claims of alteration. If this does occur, the recording is inadmissible in court. To protect the evidence surveillance and corporate procedures must be adhered too. If a recording is required in a court case, the correct preservation method is to remove the tape immediately and make a copy which will be retained by the Surveillance Department.

The Gaming Control Board or a law enforcement agency must have the original. The observer that watched the misdeed unfold should make the copy. Remember, anyone that touches the recording will be called into court. Once the copy is made, the original and copy should be immediately placed in an evidence bag and sealed with tape then placed into a box. Your initials, the date and the time of sealing should be labeled on the evidence bag.

The box should contain a label with the following information:

  • Time of incident
  • Date from video stamp
  • Name of suspect (when available)
  • Type of incident

The recording will be kept in a secure location by management until needed by law enforcement agencies. The same procedure should be followed with other media forms of evidence. Proper labeling practices should be adhered to and only one individual should handle the evidence. If a state agency requests a copy of the tape, the original must be provided. The collection officer will sign the tape out and give the casino a receipt for the evidence.

Properly handling and controlling evidence is one of the most important functions of Surveillance or Security Officer. The correct procedures make many questionable court cases become airtight. It also gives the defense attorney a tough time from finding holes in the prosecution’s provided evidence. One of the most important points to keep in mind is the least number of hands touching the recording and other evidence, the better chance it will hold up in court.

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Using Little Boxes to Classify Observations

November 29th, 2010  |  Published in Security

Most people make sense of the environment around them utilizing their senses. Things they observe, smell, hear, taste and touch. They take that information and classify them into little boxes so they are able to better understand the world. Sometimes, things cannot be classified and therefore put into little boxes. When this occurs it can threaten the way an individual thinks about the world and makes them think outside the box.

Although important to all humans, these boxes are especially vital to every Surveillance and Security officer. If something doesn’t fit, it needs to be reviewed again. In other cases, many things do not fit into many boxes thus creating the need for a full-blown investigation.

Surveillance personnel are always looking to spot actions or people that simple do not fit. Therefore they are constantly thinking a specific person does not fit the slot player label or correctly trained dealer. When this occurs, Surveillance employees must find another box where these guests fit. Some of these people are:

  • Slot cheats
  • Short-change con artists
  • Distract and grab individuals

On the other hand they could fit into the new to slots or poorly trained categories. It is an extremely subjective determination. Regardless, this requires some type of investigation to confirm suspicions. Sometimes when things don’t fit it is ok, other times they are not.

The primary mistake in Surveillance is when employees begin stereotyping guests to fit into the box. Just because an individual does not fit the dealer mold does not mean you should make them fit that mold. Instead, maybe they should be in another position or trained correctly. When this is observed, Surveillance does not and should not make this determination. Instead, the job of the Surveillance officer is to report those that do not fit.

Modern society forces everyone to be in some type of box or they are discarded. However, not every person that does not fit is crooked, a bad person or unqualified. There are often other factors that need to be reviewed to make that determination. Find what makes that individual different and report only the facts to the proper channels.

Many times in life you must modify the box. However, modifying people, actions and facts in order to fit them into your box is a poor decision. This can only hurt you and the person you are modifying.

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Maintaining Company Loyalty

November 19th, 2010  |  Published in Security

Complacency and apathy have an immensely detrimental effect on the Surveillance and Security Departments at casinos. Unfortunately, this type of behavior among employees exudes out to other departments eventually engulfing the entire morale of the casino. When complacency begins in one department, soon employees from other departments are afflicted with the same behavioral issue which does not contribute to loyalty in the company.

When an employee witnesses other employees getting away with illegal activities or those against company policy, it creates major problems. This becomes worse when an employee is disciplined for actions other are getting away with. This causes them to become disgruntled which often leads to theft. Since they were reprimanded for similar misbehavior or watch others get away with worse, they will engage in theft.

This, in turn, results in honest employees leaving the company to find employment with a casino that respects reliable, scrupulous behavior. Also, they may leave to find a company where theft is not tolerated and an honest person has a chance at a normal career. A few people can easily ruin the working environment for all employees on that shift.

One issue that commonly arises is when lower-level employees witness their manager engaging in wrongdoing or they are protecting a specific staff member that has financial troubles. Another situation is when a lower-level employee is using blackmail of their manager to continue their heinous acts.

To ensure this behavior does not occur, it is important to provide constant reinforcement at work. To do this, make is safe for employees and customers to report wrongdoing to management and supervisors. The majority of internal thieves are caught through employee tips which result in:

  • The discovery of a cashier thief
  • Tip theft
  • Theft in counting rooms
  • Players’ cheating
  • Dealer theft
  • Payroll theft
  • Bartender theft

Although one individual thief is not going to hurt the bottom-line of the casino, each individual thief together adds up to a great deal of lost money. Also, this type of behavior creates a great deal of disgruntled employees resulting in a loss of talent, honest people and hard workers.

Company loyalty is an excellent thought once developed. Unfortunately, all it takes is a few bad apples to ruin the harvest for the bunch. Once ingrained in the fabric of the corporate culture, complacency and apathy create a downward spiral of employee emotion.

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Surveillance Department’s Involvement with Skilled Players

October 4th, 2010  |  Published in Security

Once a policy has been implemented by upper management, the handling of skilled players is much clearer and the roles of different departments become evident. At this point, a great deal of teamwork is needed to ensure this policy is successfully implemented by the staff.

In the instance that management decides to bar skilled players from the blackjack or in a specific way, casino surveillance must be involved. Their role in this procedure is broken down into the following sections:

  • Detection of skilled players
  • Verification they are practicing the skills against policy
  • Documenting the facts
  • Handling the players
  • Enforcing a preventative policy

The detection of potentially skilled players is usually done in teams with collaboration between surveillance and pit management. Pit managers give surveillance various reports regarding a range of bets being placed, strange hitting strategies, unusual wins or those that consistently win. Many of these aspects are also observed by surveillance.

It is quite obvious when two or three pit bosses and other managers are hovering over the same table or around a specific person. This is known in the industry as, “sweating the money.” Although they may have a good idea of what the skilled player is doing, it makes the regular players feel uncomfortable.

The verification of a player or group is left up to surveillance as they can constantly watch without interruption. They are primarily looking for strategies involving money management and betting patterns that are consistent with card-counting policies. However, only a small few are able to have enough discipline to maintain an advantage over a casino.

Documenting these facts is the responsibility of both pit management and casino surveillance. This provides a record of these skilled players and the actions they are taking. Once the player is documented, the handling procedures must be consistent with the casino policy set by upper management or else a huge liability can ensue.

Finally, there are a few things that can be completed to prevent these skilled players from taking money from the house. The most important action is to create preventative procedures and training for dealers and supervisors. These procedures make it unprofitable and risk for card counters to attempt this skill.

There are new methods of cheating that arise constantly. The utilization of technology plays a major role. As a result, casino policy is also constantly changing to keep current with the new methods.

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Understanding Casino Confidentiality

August 31st, 2010  |  Published in Security

Confidentiality is found in all businesses within all industries. It is extremely important to keep company secrets within the organization. The casino industry is no exception, especially in the surveillance room where this is one of the most important principles to follow.

There are four areas where confidentiality is completely necessary. These include:

  • Information about personnel
  • Information about patrons
  • Intelligence information regarding operations and investigations
  • Surveillance room operations and personnel

Information regarding casino personnel must be kept in a secure area that houses the server. This includes top-of-the-line network security to fight off hackers and invaders. Personnel information usually consists of address, phone number, background check information, banking information (for direct deposit) and other vital aspects of individual’s livelihood.

This is also consistent with information regarding patrons. Credit card numbers, banking information, addresses and phone numbers are all stored for guests of the hotel and casino. This type of information must be secured and kept confidential to any outsiders as well as many employees of the establishment.

Information is brought to the surveillance room in many ways, but the most prominent method is video camera as it sees and records everything. Other methods include, inside and outside sources, executive personnel, security officers, radio, formal and informal reports, staff interviews and customer complaints. This is all information that must stay under wraps, especially during operations or an investigation.

When security and/or surveillance are conducting an investigation, they must keep all details hidden from the public. This is extremely important as any leaks could tip off a potential perpetrator allowing them to compromise the investigation, the game they are playing, employees and patrons. Law enforcement personnel are told the information required who also follow confidentiality until the correct time.

Finally, information regarding surveillance room operations and the personnel involved is a big no-no. This ties in to keeping the information confidential regarding investigations and employees. Anything that goes on in the surveillance room about any action or employee must remain in the surveillance room. Your supervisor or the director will decide who needs to know what information.

Like all businesses, casinos (and more specifically the surveillance room) have strict confidentiality agreements with their employees due to the criminal activity that may occur in a casino. Signing that agreement means you are upholding the company’s policies and can be terminated if broken. When the time is right, your superior will release the proper information to the correct people.

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