Most people know why casinos have rules. But why do they have procedures? First off, what's the difference? Here's a short description comparing the two. The rules are a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing the conduct of the game. Procedures are an established or official series of steps designed to accomplish an end.
OK, so what's "an end." In the gaming business - it's profit. To make a profit the games need to have rules that ensure a mathematical built-in house edge and the procedures need to support the house rules by achieving two important objectives: efficiency and security.
Procedures are the foundation of game protection and the basis for effective game supervision and surveillance. Procedures are to game profitability what poles are to strippers. If they get bent or broken, someone's going to end up upside down.
Back when I started in the industry (I could watch a 1,000 cameras by myself, with my eyes closed), hard-core gamers lived and died by procedure. One of my old bosses once suggested I have the word "procedure" tattooed on the inside of my eyelids so I didn't forget. Unfortunately, today it seems enforcing strict well-designed procedures seems to have taken a back seat to "flexibility." When questioned why procedures are bent for certain big players, the casino managers standard answer of convenience is customer service?
But when casino managers approve "oddball" procedures for big players before they seek advice from a game protection professional (and I don't mean a VIP Host) they run a huge risk of exposing their business to potential threats. Unfortunately, it seems more and more casino managers are "going down to the crossroads" with scam artists either because they are uninformed or they are being told to do so.
Kevin Mitnick "the worlds most wanted computer hacker" did a great job of talking about "social engineering" during his keynote speech at the World Game Protection Conference in 2009. He explained that social engineering is the art of persuading (conning) and using people on the inside to inadvertently help the scam artist to rip an organization off. In the gaming business we are experiencing our own version of social engineering called the "Don Johnson Effect." The DJ effect is where big players place an enormous amount of pressure on casino managers to bend the rules and procedures to favor the player.
So how do casinos take away the threat of social engineering? My advice is to introduce a committee consisting of senior level managers and game protection experts who can take a rational, unemotional, mathematical approach to investigating and analyzing the risk and reward of an oddball procedure. The approval process should involve the Surveillance Director. Why? An in-the-know Surveillance Director should be able to complete a game protection risk assessment on a procedural change in a short period of time. They are in contact with other surveillance directors, industry experts and intelligence networks on a regular basis. (If they're not they should be.) Personally speaking, quick phone calls to and from my surveillance brothers and sisters have saved casinos I have worked for millions. (Thanks guys - couldn't have done it without you.)
So here's my rules on oddball procedures: 1. If it's out of the blue, you'll probably get screwed 2. Do the math or cop the wrath. 3. If you don't know why, talk to the Eye.
Stay Classy Wildhorse
Everybody plays the fool. There's no exception to the rule. - Aaron Neville (1991)