On Saturday morning here, after the first day of operation at the Resorts International casino, security guards discovered that a small hole had been drilled into one of the gambling hall's 897 slot machines.
For the remainder of the weekend, three of the 52 television cameras mounted inside silvered ceiling domes were trained on the suspect machine. The cameras were then fed into a video-taping device to be analysed. And by Saturday afternoon, guards monitoring a bank of almost 100 television screens already had a Polaroid mug of a baldheaded suspect to aid their search.
Two men constantly man the most expensive and sophisticated security centers in gambling history, tilting and panning the movable camera system to watch for tampering and cheating, such things as alterations of slot machines or players who switch cards or change bets while bankers aren't looking. They also use a dozen cameras to monitor money-processing underway in the casino's basement, where $1 million in coins can be counted and wrapped in four hours.
The security center is connected by telephone with floor pit bosses, who can ask for an aerial check on a suspicious player or be alerted, say to a dealer who is paying off on losing hands. The screens are used to monitor closely the cards used in baccarat - where individuals bets often reach thousands of dollars - because a single stacked deck potentially could cost the house hundreds of thousands of dollars. And at least one camera monitors each craps table to watch for dice-switching.
Additionally, both sides of the casino are lined with one-way mirrors that allow any number of security agents to observe interactions on the floor below. Uniformed and plain-clothes security agents on the floor are in constant radio contact with the center, where a panic button can instantly summon the city police force.
Lest it be thought, however, have little to lighten their load, they can still move their dipsticks in search of cheats and make comments like, "That dummy just got hit on a hard 17."