High-Tech Surveillance Tracking in Casinos
Casinos are at the frontier of surveillance technology. Many casino establishments have invested millions into the latest high-definition camera technology backed by advanced face-recognition software. You might be able to spot a few of these ceiling-mounted high-tech cameras at your casino. However, a large portion of the surveillance cameras at casinos remain well hidden within the decor of the place. Some casinos even make use of cameras on individual slot machines and other fixtures within a room.
The capability of the surveillance equipment at major casinos is indeed astounding. From the confines of the control room, casino security staff have unlimited access to a real-time record of everything happening in the casino. High-definition video and advanced facial-recognition software make it extremely easy to pick out and track a single individual in a hall full of people.
Even while adorning a disguise, the surveillance system will still be able to recognize you using features that you can’t alter. The system can conclusively identify you from a scar on a visible part of your torso, a tattoo, a birthmark, or even a barely noticeable gait in your posture.
Security personnel can track the activities of every single employee and patron within the casino. By using surveillance cameras in the halls, casino security gets to know which games you frequent while at the casino. It is possible to accurately determine the average time you spend while playing a particular game.
Do casinos keep track of your losses? Not necessarily. Why so? Because the high-tech surveillance equipment at your local casino is primarily there for security reasons. Casinos have little incentive to keep track of your losses via video surveillance. There are far more convenient methods of tracking how much you win, loss, and spend while at the casino.
However situations can arise that might prompt casino management to make use of their video surveillance to observe your every move. These situations are discussed briefly below.
Uses of High-tech Video Tracking
There are two primary uses of high-tech video surveillance at your local casino. The first use of a surveillance system is as a management tool that ensures the provision of quality service. Casino management can oversee the activities at the different table games, slot machines, bars, and lounges within the premises. Some casinos even use advanced video-monitoring AI to optimize service by staffing table games, counters, and bars based on immediate need. Such systems can even preorder complimentary drinks and have them brought to your table.
The second use of state-of-the-art video surveillance at a casino is to enhance the security of everyone within the casino. Security personnel in the control room continuously monitor gambling at the different tables and slots. Suspicious gambling activity can thus be detected, and appropriate action is taken to apprehend the fraudsters. Suspicious activities include card counting, sleight-of-hand tricks, use of magnets, use of electronic jamming devices, and so forth.
Furthermore, security personnel is charged with keeping persons on exclusion lists from gambling at the casino. Persons included on the list include people with gambling addictions, known criminals, people who have filed for bankruptcy and so forth
Casino Loyalty Programs As a Tracking Tool
If a casino is to keep track of your losses, the management would prefer that you provide the information voluntarily. How so? By subscribing to a casino’s reward and loyalty programs, you essentially give the casino access to an entire range of gambling information. The information will include how much you gamble, how much you win, and how much you lose at each game you play. You should note that your gambling information is only for the games you play at the casino.
Enrolling to a casino loyalty program will grant you access to several benefits. Some of the benefits that are part of casino membership packages include complimentary meals and drinks, discounted stays at hotels, valet parking, sponsored trips, and so forth. Your loyalty points will travel with you wherever your loyalty card is accepted, and so will the above benefits. Finally, unlike credit cards, loyalty cards are safer at gambling venues in that they do not contain highly sensitive personal information
- How Loyalty Programs Track Spending
The ability to track your expenditure is a significant reason why you would want to subscribe to a casino loyalty program. First and foremost, loyalty programs offer you a bona fide way of getting back some of your money from the casino. How so? As a pledged member of the casino, you get to earn points every time you play one of the casino’s games. These points can be redeemed for cash or money-saving discounts.
The reward points you get playing a casino game is determined by how much you spend while playing the game. The more you spend, the more points you get. Thus by keeping an up-to-date record of your reward points, the casino, inadvertently, tracks how much you spend at the casino. Notably, though, wins and losses do not help you accrue reward points.
- How Loyalty Programs Track Wins and Losses
Once you subscribe to a casino loyalty program, you are issued with a loyalty card. The card can is loaded with digital chips, which you then use to gamble at any game in the casino. Before gameplay, you make your bet by inserting your loyalty card into a card reader. If you are at a table game, the dealer then inquires as to the amount you want to bet before initiating play.
The information on the number and size of bets is stored on the loyalty card alongside a time-stamp. Any wins and losses you incur during the game are also electronically recorded on the loyalty card with their respective time stamps.
You also insert your loyalty card into a slot machine’s card reader while playing a game of slots. Information on the size of bets, wins, and losses is also electronically recorded in an encrypted format on the loyalty card. For the sake of redundancy, a copy of your gambling information is retained in the casino’s accounting system.
- How Loyalty Programs Track your Preferences
A casino can also keep track of your preferences through the use of loyalty programs. This is done through the use of the loyalty card assigned to you once you subscribe to the plan. You are then required to swipe the loyalty card at each game you play while at the casino. You do so by sliding the card through the card reader availed on the table or slot machine.
The casino loyalty system is thus able to keep track of which games you prefer to play. The system is also able to determine how much time you spend playing a particular game. It is possible to order drinks and beverages with your loyalty card, which retains your preference.
Casino Win/Loss Tracking and Gambling Tax
You would be making a brilliant choice by deciding to enroll for patronage at a casino. How so? When filing your taxes, you are required to provide irrefutable proof of any gambling winnings and expenses. Here is where your casino patronage comes in. As a fully-fledged casino patron, you can make a formal request for a win/loss statement from your casino.
Most casino loyalty programs provide patrons with three ways of making a formal request for win/loss statements. As a patron, you can request in-person, via email or by phone call. Alternatively, you can log in to your patron account on the casino’s website and access the win/loss statement. It should then be possible to download the document. The win/loss statement can span any designated period ranging from a month to an entire year.
Filling Gambling Tax with the Win/Loss statement
To file your taxes using a casino win/loss statement, you need two forms from the IRS. The first of the two is form W-2G, also known as gambling winnings declaration form. The second form is form 1096, also known as annual summary and transmittal of US information returns. With the help of an accounting professional, it should then be possible to fill your returns and submit them. The win/loss statement can help you realized substantial tax deductions.
Casinos do not have a real interest in exclusively tracking your losses. However, gambling establishments do have the desire to know as much as they can about your gambling habits. This is why loyalty programs to track how much you spend while gambling, your wins, and your losses.