In New Jersey, A Call For More Video Surveillance At Atlantic City Casinos

Long view of the Maryland Live Casino poker room. Facial images have been blurred by the casino to protect player identities. (Courtesy photo.)

In my story on the front page of Sunday’s print edition about the surveillance operation at Maryland Live Casino , I mentioned that Rob Norton, the property’s president and general manager, asked me at one point if I’d ever seen “Casino.” He was specifically referring to the scene where Robert De Niro — who plays Tangiers boss Ace Rothstein explains the way things work in the gambling world: In Vegas, everybody’s gotta watch everybody else.

Since the players are looking to beat the casino, the dealers are watching the players. The box men are watching the dealers. The floor men are watching the box men. The pit bosses are watching the floor men. The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses. The casino manager is watching the shift bosses. I’m watching the casino manager. And the eye in the sky is watching us all.

“You can quote from that,” Norton told me. “It’s still pretty accurate.” But the notion that every casino is watching (or at least recording) everybody, at all times, isn’t exactly true.

Consider what’s happening in New Jersey, where one lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require Atlantic City casinos to put surveillance cameras throughout their hotels and parking garages. The bill, according to the Press of Atlantic City, was prompted by “a brutal attack in a casino stairwell.”

New Jersey law “ensures that gambling floors are monitored,” according to the Press, which adds that “no such requirement exists that casinos likewise record activity in their hotel and parking facilities, although some properties choose to do so.”

(That’s true of Maryland Live’s parking facilities, by the way; I got to watch several archival videos in which parking-garage surveillance cameras were used to identify people who’d perpetrated various crimes at the Arundel Mills casino, including a woman who took several $500 chips from a blackjack dealer. Surveillance video from the casino’s expansive parking areas was also used to help identify suspects in the fake-chip scheme that was revealed by Maryland State Police on Tuesday.) […]