Gaming Surveillance Officer

Casinos are enormous operations, with millions of annual visitors, thousands of staff and enormous buildings full of hundreds of different tables, rooms and gaming stations. Looking just at the volumes of cash that casinos are involved with, an Oxford Economics study found that casinos have an estimated economic impact of $240 billion dollars a year, including their effect on local economies. $38 billion of these dollars go directly to local, state and federal taxes.

With this much cash at stake and a lot of variables that could potentially affect it, casinos and the federal government alike have a vested interest in ensuring that everyone plays by the rules — both literally and figuratively. Gaming boards therefore often require casinos to hire their own surveillance personnel as part of due diligence in order to deter, detect and sometimes intercept undesirable behavior. These Gaming Surveillance Officers play an important role in gaming-based economies, serving both the public and private interests equally as they keep their watchful eye scanning across the casino floor.

What Does a Gaming Surveillance Officer Do?

In nearly any business that involves gambling, a Gaming Surveillance Officer can be found. The most common examples are commercial and tribal casinos. While floor security ensures that everyone behaves as they should, Gaming Surveillance Officers monitor individual activities through CCTV cameras, one way mirrors and direct on-the-floor observation. Their main responsibility is to watch for violations of municipal, state and federal gaming laws from casino employees and patrons alike.

Monitoring & Direct Security Services

When a violation is discovered, Gaming Surveillance Officers must make careful note of the incident in a report while providing any available evidence they have. The need to document and present evidence of suspected violations means that a Gaming Surveillance Officer should have adept reading, writing, and verbal communication skills. These violations are then diligently investigated by local gaming boards or relevant police agencies. Gaming Surveillance Officers may also provide direct security services, such as escorting suspected violators off the premises or detaining the individuals until police arrive.

A majority of Gaming Surveillance Officers monitor screen arrays of CCTV security cameras. They must be capable of passively watching for signs of suspicious activities over long durations of time without a decrease in focus. They must also have knowledge of security audio/visual systems to gather as much concrete evidence as possible during suspected violations, such as zooming in, switching angles or copying footage into removable media.

Gaming Surveillance Officers may directly observe patrons and employees through one-way observation glass located high above the casino floor. They also tend to make regular floor sweeps from time to time, getting up-close looks at activities. Some Gaming Surveillance Officers may even pose “undercover,” either passively observing individuals or directly interacting with them in hopes of uncovering critical evidence of violations.

Important Skills & Traits

All of these duties require Gaming Surveillance Officers to have an eye for detail, strong observational skills, a calm demeanor under pressure and a deep knowledge of gaming laws. They may also be required to be physically strong if they need to serve regular security officer duties.

Where Does a Gaming Surveillance Officer Work?

Surprisingly, Nevada does not have the highest number of Gaming Surveillance Officers by state nor does it have the highest concentration. Both titles go to Oklahoma. California has the second-highest Gaming Surveillance Officers employed by state, followed by Nevada, Washington and Indiana. Nevada has the second-highest concentration by state, followed by New Mexico, Mississippi and South Dakota.

Las Vegas has the highest number of individuals employed by metro area, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Atlantic City, Chicago, Biloxi (MS), Tulsa (OK), Seattle, Memphis (TN), St. Louis (MO) and Indianapolis. The highest concentration by metro area is found in Atlantic City, followed by Lawton (OK), Biloxi (MS), Las Vegas, Shreveport (LA), Reno (NV), Tulsa (OK), Gary (IN), Albuquerque and Riverside-San Bernardino.

Even in areas where commercial casino gaming is illegal, operations like state lotteries, greyhound racing, private card rooms and other gaming enterprises may require Gaming Surveillance Officers. Tribal casinos also require a large amount of Gaming Surveillance Officer staff in states where commercial casinos are illegal, but tribal members may have hiring priority over others.

The largest number of Gaming Surveillance Officers are employed by the private gambling industry or hotels, but local and state governments as well as some professional sports organizations also employ some Gaming Surveillance Officers.

Gaming Surveillance Officer Salary & Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the average Gaming Surveillance Officer made $32,290 in annual wages. The bottom 10 percent made $20,850 and the top 10 percent made $47,740. State government positions pay the highest annual salaries for Gaming Surveillance Officers, at an average of $48,690 a year. Travel/hospitality employers pay the second-highest salaries at $34,000 and gambling industries pay the lowest average salaries at $29,930.The average wage for hourly-based Gaming Surveillance Officer positions was $15.52.

Additional Careers in Law Enforcement

Consider these additional careers in law enforcement.

Police Officer
Crime Scene Investigator
FBI Agent
Game Warden
Police Detective
Private Investigator
State Trooper
U.S. Marshal