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2020 Program

At a Glance

The 15th Annual World Game Protection Conference takes place over 4 days. This year’s conference includes a retrospective look back at what we have learned about game protection over the last 20 years. You could say it’s “20-20 hindsight” but we believe sharing best practices and understanding what significant lessons we have learned from the past can help us deal with current trends and the ever-changing casino environment. History doesn’t repeat itself…but it rhymes.

A one-day surveillance crash course will be conducted by Willy Allison and Leroy Daniel. This pre-conference training course is designed for people who have a desire to become leaders in surveillance or who are interested in how to implement a strong casino game protection program. All conference delegates are welcome to attend, especially those who are up and coming or those who want to sharpen their knowledge in surveillance management. Those who just want to see how others do things are welcome, too.

When setting up a casino surveillance department it is important to establish a strong foundation. The Four Pillars of Surveillance are people, operation, information and communication. In the first session of the crash course you will learn the principles and keys to creating and maintaining a successful surveillance department together with tried and true practices of high performing and result orientated teams. What does it take to be a valuable contributor to a casino organization? How do you create an operation that utilizes people and technology to get results? What is the real meaning of proactive in 2020? You will learn best (and innovative) practices from around the world and how to maximize POI (protection on investment).

Protecting the games is dependent on a joint effort between the gaming departments and surveillance. Game protection is not the surveillance department’s sole responsibility; however, it is an important one. The floor and surveillance must have a good working relationship and must work together to achieve the organization’s gaming goals of profits, protection, fairness and integrity. It starts with a strong game protection culture within the organization. In this session we discuss the foundation of game protection – procedures. Why do we have and enforce them? What are they designed to do and how should they be written? You will learn how to develop a good rapport with other departments by opening the lines of communication and sharing information that matters.

In this show and tell session we look at the common ways players have cheated or taken advantage of the casino games over the last 20 years. This is not a “dog and pony” show or a demonstration of magic tricks, it’s a close analysis and examination of how players actually have beaten the games this century. We will break down all the moves into three categories: changing the bet after the result, changing the result after the bet and putting in the fix. We explain the move and more importantly we explain the lesson learned and effective measures casinos have put in place to prevent the move. This session is a reality check. Magicians don’t cheat casinos. Bad management practices and complacency cheat casinos.

Casinos are “banks without receipts” and therefore an attractive target for thieves and fraudsters. Internal theft is widely seen by surveillance veterans as the number 1 threat to a casino operation’s bottom line. Customers generally always get caught but crooked employees can potantially get away with it for a long time. In this session we discuss where the hot spots for casino customer and employee theft have been over the last 20 years and what are the lessons learned. We will predict where and why we think theft will increase in the years to come based on our observations, reports and trends and how technology will play a big part in mitigating and enabling the risk of internal theft and fraud in the future.

The WGPC organizers invite you to join them at the Welcome Reception in the Havana Room. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet valuable industry leaders and contacts. The event is open to all delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. Drinks and light refreshments will be served.

Program subject to change.

Welcome to the conference – now let’s get down to business. What’s been going on in the past year that could affect our businesses? What new (or old) scams have reared their ugly head? What’s the update on the movements of known cheaters and their teams? Willy Allison welcomes conference delegates to WGPC 2020 with a brief 30-minute summary of significant game protection and security related events that have taken place in the casino industry over the past year. Willy will hit on some of the hot topics causing concern and share his thoughts on the state of the industry, pointing out trends he feels should be monitored moving forward.

Cheating has always been a threat in the casino industry but over the last 20 years it’s become a global business. 21st century technology, a smaller more mobile world and the expansion of the casino industry around the world has opened up opportunities for cheats, thieves and advantage players. In this retrospective look at casino scams from the last 20 years, Bill Zender and Willy Allison (the only two people who have spoken at all 15 WGPCs) rank the top 20 significant scams and offer insight, analysis and commentary on each one. Using the criteria of losses incurred by casinos, how far reaching it was geographically, how long it went on for and the creativity of the scam, Bill and Willy will banter back and forth on what made the scam so good and what are the lessons learned.

It’s been almost 60 years since the first book on card counting was published, Ed Thorp’s classic “Beat the Dealer.” Since letting the genie out of the bottle, over one hundred books have been written on the subject. The subject has been covered on TV and film. There are internet forums and even a Blackjack Hall of Fame. Arguably, because of the industry expansion across the world and the shrinking pool of expertise there’s never been more opportunities to take advantage of casinos. In this session Willy Allison interviews the author of the new book “The Blackjack Insiders” Andrew Uyal, and gets his “both sides of the table” take on card counting in 2020. How has the cat and mouse battle changed over the last 20 years? Is card counting worth the time and effort (for players and casinos)? How should casinos deal with players who count cards?

Gaming experts and gamblers know and respect Richard Turner as a master card mechanic/manipulator. His unparalleled skill with a deck of cards has stirred and staggered audiences throughout the world. Richard has been featured on dozens of worldwide TV specials, an Oscar nominated film, documentaries, magazine cover stories, profiled in hard cover publications, newspapers features, and TV commercials. He has been recognized twice by the American Academy of Magical Arts as the close-up entertainer of the year. In Oct 2017, IFC-Sundance Selects released “DEALT”, a documentary film on the life of Richard Turner, the world’s most skilled card magician/card shark who just happens to be totally blind and whose tenacity inspires. The multiple award-winning documentary has sold out at SXSW and other film festival screenings with standing ovations and raving reviews. Penn from Penn & Teller, said, “Richard fooled us with every single move he did,” and Teller said, DEALT knocked me dead….A great documentary!”

A lot of casinos around the world don’t record the sound on their table games. Despite the interactive nature of gambling that includes player disputes, the occasional abuse of staff and the constant threat of collusion between players and dealers, many casinos feel that video without sound is enough to tell the whole story. There are, however, some innovative casino organizations that refuse to stay in the silent movie age and are utilizing technology to full capacity by turning up the volume. In this talk, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Assurance & Regulatory Affairs for Genting UK, Jon Duffy (oversees 44 casinos in the UK) explains the benefits of recording sound. He will give some real life case studies where being able to listen and record conversations at the gaming tables has enabled his organization to combat threats and provide crucial evidence in resolving claims and disputes.  Jon says “I don’t understand; if you can – why wouldn’t you?”

Floor supervisor levels have been reduced dramatically over the last 20 years while staffing levels in most surveillance departments, despite the extra workload and expanded scope of the job, have remained the same. Now more than ever it is important to have clear communication lines between the floor and surveillance.  Michael Hochman is the Vice President of Casino Operations for Canterbury Park in Minnesota with over 30 years experience in gaming. He believes good communication and forging a professional relationship between the floor and the eye plays a big role in game protection. Having seen relationships in the past between the two departments that were sometimes contentious, sometimes collaborative, Michael will explain what is the best way moving forward and what sort of information can help the floor (and surveillance) achieve the same, ultimate goal of game protection

In this end-of-day discussion we invite some of the presenters from the day’s sessions (along with some others) to lead a discussion: “In 2020 are current surveillance practices outdated, particularly when it comes to table games protection?” The panel discussion will center around communication and information shared amongst surveillance and table games. Are the layers of security, as depicted in the movie “Casino”, from games dealer to the eye in the sky the best way to provide game protection in 2020? Is the traditional isolated, confidential, looking over your shoulder, “security through obscurity” philosophy of surveillance still justified because of the threat of collusion or is it hampering our ability to gain more knowledge and understanding of the operation? Should reporting and communication lines be redefined?  Considering the capabilities of today’s technology and the constant demand from casino executives to decrease costs and increase efficiency what changes can be made to maintain or increase our value? Bring your thoughts, questions and ideas. We want to hear what you think.

Program subject to change.

Casinos invest a lot of money in CCTV and then hire people to sit in a room and watch the casino. Traditionally, surveillance staff are isolated from the rest of the organization; instructed to monitor, investigate and report. Smart casino organizations are now realizing that departments, with the potential to contribute to the financial success of the business, should not be operating in silos and reacting to day-to-day occurrences. They should be collaborating to achieve the long term success of the organization. Tony Weiss, Mohegan Tribe Director of Surveillance, explains how his team collaborates with other departments to develop profit protection programs across all revenue generating departments and is standardizing best practices across their expanding worldwide organization.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) a Crown corporation of the province of British Columbia in Canada and has been in business since 1985 and is responsible for the conduct and management of gaming for 36 casinos, an online gaming platform as well as lottery products and games that are sold in over 4000 retail locations. Kevin Sweeney is the Director, Security, Privacy and Compliance and oversees the compliance, corporate security (include cyber), surveillance and asset protection for the BCLC. His team is primarily a service division which supports seven other divisions, three of which are revenue generating (Casino, Lottery and Online Gaming). Individuals who work in the security and compliance fields are sometimes told they are the “no” department, the “you can’t do that” division, the “that’s not going to work” unit or the “no fun police.” Kevin and his team have worked hard to change that perception from being too bureaucratic to adopting the philosophy of “Yes, and…” Kevin will talk about the protection of the brand and how his team is coming up with innovative solutions to deliver on compliance and security while supporting the business goals and priorities of the organization

Casino promotions are part and parcel of maintaining loyal customers. They can also be the target of cheats and advantage players if they’re ill-conceived or not executed properly. Norman Beck is a betting expert and has been the Vice President of Claims and Security for SCA Promotions for 25 years. SCA Gaming is a promotion company in the gaming industry. Over the years SCA has administered more than 20,000 promotional events across hundreds of casinos worldwide. They’ve covered bets and promotions from 42 cents to $1 billion. Norman has many interesting real-world stories about the shenanigans that can go on in the promotion world. In this candid talk, Norman will talk about how he takes the risk out of promotions. Is the math right? Is the promotion safe and protectable from a cheating standpoint and is there any moral hazard or concern? His job is to not just spot a cheater but to systematically think of every conceivable way someone could unfairly rig the promotion.

Most casinos around the world offer some sort of program or help for customers who feel that they have a gambling problem. A common program is “self exclusion” where a customer can voluntarily ban themself from the casino. This is a challenging responsibility for most casinos as the ability for staff to remember thousands of faces is practically impossible. Recognizing this challenge Darren Henderson, the Asset Protection and Responsible Gambling Manager of Christchurch Casino in New Zealand, installed a facial recognition system in 2017. In this talk, Darren demonstrates the success he has had since introducing the technology. He will explain how it has been incorporated into their surveillance system to detect excluded people and persons of interest and how the casino is further developing this technology for other asset protection and responsible gambling initiatives.

Casinos are legally obligated to report money laundering. In general they do a good job but there are people who will try to come up with ways to circumvent the casino’s stringent reporting systems. One way is through washing dirty money through slot machines and cashing out at TITO kiosks. Inadvertently, the transition to ticket-in, ticket-out gaming systems has taken away human intervention in the process of cash transactions and opened up opportunities for money laundering by “bill stuffing.” In this talk Tracy Tye, the Director of Surveillance Technical Compliance and Regulations at the Baha Mar in the Bahamas, will show and explain how his casino is tackling this threat through the use of facial recognition technology.

Internal theft is a problem for casinos. There are hundreds of gaming staff; detection of a rogue employee by a surveillance operator watching monitors is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Catherine Clark, the Director of Surveillance at The Star Sydney casino in Australia, believes A.I. technology is the answer. She and her team are collaborating with talented software designers to develop A.I. driven technology that interfaces with the surveillance system to help detect internal theft on the gaming tables. In this forward-thinking session, Catherine will explain how her team is breaking down the problem of internal theft and developing specific visual frames of reference and behavioral cue data points that will send instant alerts to surveillance operators that may indicate the possibility of theft.

In this end-of-day discussion we invite some of the presenters from the day’s sessions (along with some others) to lead a discussion on how they think A.I. could play a major role in running casinos in the future. The discussion will center around possible uses of A.I. technology and how it might improve game protection, compliance, security and risk management. Other questions discussed will include the legal and ethical concerns that have been raised in the media about the perceived invasion of customers privacy. As an industry does there need to be more transparency? How do we improve the business case for A.I. technology to include multipurpose uses across revenue generating and protection departments? What are some of the technical challenges we have to overcome? What effect will A.I. have on human resources? Bring your thoughts, questions and ideas. We want to hear what you think.

Program subject to change.

Cheats and thieves have worked it out. No one in the casino is watching electronic games, except maybe the slot technicians. In the last few years casinos worldwide have been exposed for their complacency, a lack of controls and a surveillance blind spot when it comes to protecting electronic games from high-tech cheating gangs, internal theft and collusion. Willy Allison kicks off a morning “slots symposium” by talking about the reasons that opportunities have opened up for cheats and thieves in the vast slot machine areas of our casinos. Willy will talk about 21st century slot cheating, the increased threats of organized high-tech slot cheating teams and the rogue employees who are robbing us blind.

Catching cheats and thieves stealing from slot machines starts with knowing how they work. Protection can only be effective if the “protectors” have an understanding of the weaknesses and the threats. In this training session Kees Raaphorst, the founder of CR Slot Consultancy, will go over the basics of how slot machines work, where they are vulnerable and how they can be protected from cheating and theft. Kees will cover:

  • How a slot machine works
  • Operating a slot machine from an operators perspective
  • Important meters to check if problems occur
  • Accounting systems and statistics you should pay attention to
  • How to find malfunctions quickl
  • Things you can do to prevent internal fraud
  • Known malfunctions, bugs and frauds
  • Organizational threats
  • Strict procedures
  • Key management

To end the slots symposium, this solutions-based super panel discussion calls on experts involved in maintaining slot machine integrity to give their thoughts and suggestions on how casinos can best protect slot machines in 2020 and beyond. The 21st century has ushered in new technologies like TITO and server-based gaming. Electronic table games are replacing traditional table games. This rapid pace in the development of new digital products requires a different strategy for protecting the games. Threats are becoming more digital in nature. If we are to stay one step ahead of the bad guys it’s useless taking a “knife to a gun fight.” In this open discussion we encourage participants to think outside the box. New problems require new solutions. What is your strategy and game plan for protecting electronic gaming? Bring your thoughts, questions and ideas. We want to hear what you think.

Program subject to change.