CANYONVILLE – Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville has up to 4,000 visitors every day. Most guests just think about winning, but others are watching! We went behind-the-scenes of the surveillance room to find out what the employees look for, in our special report “Casino Cams”.
You probably already know this, but there are a lot of distractions in casinos. The lights, sounds and winners. But some people stay focused. And while you’re playing, they’re watching your every move with hundreds of cameras.
Alicia McAuley, the Director of Surveillance at Seven Feathers, watches over the people who watch over you. She says, “There's the normal behaviors, normal body language, normal dress that you would see, and when you see something that's out of that norm, it kind of makes you key onto that."
The employees who work in the surveillance room behind-the-scenes, are trained on scams and cheating techniques. The most common problems are known as capping and pinching. “A capping bet,” says McAuley, “would be when somebody know the results or outcomes of what their hand's going to be they add to the bet so that they'll win more money, and pinching is the opposite of that. When they know what the result of the hand is going to be and they're probably going to lose, they're going to try and take some money away from that."
The crew can spot the difference between a beginner and a thief. And they see everything from your poker hand, to your text messages from 30 feet in the air. The high tech cams can point, tilt and zoom almost anywhere, so don't even *think about trying to cheat. “We're gonna see it," says McAuley.
Their training’s even earned them first place the last two years in a world competition in Vegas. But they're not always just looking for cheaters.
“There's been several times where I'm glad they were there to back me up," says Cheryl Smith, training supervisor for the table games. But sometimes those games can come into question. Maybe a guest thinks they weren't paid enough or the dealer took their chips when they actually won.
"But once you pick up the cards,” she says, “you know, it's pretty much, that's why we call surveillance so they can back up those cameras to show if we took their money when we were supposed to or not."
The surveillance video can also solve crimes, maybe help law enforcement with an investigation or track down a lost or stolen purse. McAuley says, "This is entertainment and we want them to have a good time and to feel safe coming here and knowing that they're protected."
Safety is a big concern especially for winners. If you ever hit a jackpot, just know the security and surveillance team are on your side. “We can absolutely provide them with an escort to their car or their hotel room," says McAuley.
Guests also never have to worry about surveillance employees abusing their power. All the video is recorded and logged. So if they're ever caught zooming into something inappropriate, they're fired. But remember, whatever you do inside the casino, minus the restrooms and your hotel suite, is all caught on cam.
By the way, the surveillance crew is not allowed to monitor family members or spouses. The same goes for the dealers who can't play with their friends.