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Gaming Surveillance Officer: Career Guide

Gaming surveillance officers monitor casinos and other gaming establishments to detect cheating by and theft from employees and patrons in an attempt to reduce fund misappropriation. Gaming surveillance officers also monitor games to ensure that casino employees are following established procedures. Additionally, they provide security services for casinos. Officers use a variety of high- and low-tech equipment, such as one-way mirrors and audio/video equipment monitors. Officers may intervene directly when violations are detected or may verbally report violations to management or local law enforcement for further observation and follow-up.

Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks

Gaming surveillance officers can gain employment in states or on lands managed by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs where gambling is legal. Most officers work for hotels or casinos, but employment can also be found at other betting establishments such as racetracks or sporting events. Some officers are employed by state and local governments to enforce gaming laws.
Gaming surveillance officers:

  • Monitor and observe gaming establishments
  • Conduct investigations
  • Ensure establishments adhere to all local, state, and federal gaming laws
  • Place audio and video surveillance equipment to optimally observe the gaming establishment
  • Prepare court cases
  • Work with prosecutors to convict suspects

Steps for Becoming a Gaming Surveillance Officer

Gaming surveillance officers must generally have a minimum of a high school diploma plus specialized training in the setup, use, and maintenance of surveillance equipment. However, hiring managers place significant value on an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Due to state and federal laws aimed at preventing criminal involvement in gaming enterprises, prospective gaming surveillance officers must have completely clean criminal records, with no misdemeanor or felony convictions. Due to the financial basis of casinos, gaming surveillance officers must generally also have a good credit history with no previous bankruptcies, as financially stable casino employees are seen as less likely to be tempted into involvement with theft or bribery. To become a gaming surveillance officer, you can expect to follow steps similar to the below.

  1. Apply to an open gaming surveillance officer position.
  2. Undergo a background investigation and be fingerprinted.
  3. Be interviewed.
  4. Be hired as a gaming surveillance officer.
  5. Receive on-the-job training after being hired.

Gaming Surveillance Officer Job Training

New officers typically complete on-the-job training. The length of the training generally depends on the hiring organization and the new hire’s previous experience.

Other Helpful Skills and Experience

Candidates with previous law enforcement experience or who have worked in casinos or other gaming facilities may have a hiring advantage. Candidates should be comfortable using technology and be familiar with computers, including surveillance software. Those with prior experience in the use of surveillance equipment are said to have the greatest hiring advantage in the gaming industry. Candidates should also have the verbal and written communication skills necessary to interface with customers, other employees, and government officials. Gaming officers should also be willing to sit at a desk for long periods of time. The gaming officer must possess keen observation skills, sound judgment, and the ability to move and to act quickly.

Possible Job Titles for This Career

  • Gaming Investigator
  • Gaming Surveillance Officer
  • Surveillance Agent

Gaming Surveillance Officer Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators varies depending on the location and whether the officer is seeking employment in the private or government sector. The national average wage for surveillance officers was $35,280 in 2016.1 Officers in the Cincinnati metropolitan area earn the highest average annual wage, at $45,510.1

Oklahoma, California, Nevada, Washington, and Pennsylvania are the states with the highest level of employment in the gaming industry.1 It may come as no surprise that the Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada metropolitan has the highest level of employment in this occupation for a metro area – but it may be surprising for you to learn that more gaming surveillance officers are employed in California statewide (1,090) than in Nevada (800).1

Related Careers

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: In what states can one find a position as a gaming surveillance officer?

Answer: Gaming officers only work in states where gambling is legal. As of 2015, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, Washington, and Pennsylvania employed the highest number of individuals in gaming surveillance.1

Question: Do gaming officers require any type of certification?

Answer: Many states require gaming surveillance officers, as well as other casino employees, to register with the state and earn clearance to work in the gaming industry. Check with your particular state to determine requirements.

Question: What type of hours do gaming surveillance officers generally work?

Answer: Gaming officers typically work a minimum of eight hours a day, with rotating shifts. Since in many areas casinos stay open 24 hours a day, officers may work day, evening, or night shifts, and will frequently be expected to work weekends.

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages May 2015, Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339031.htm