It’s rare when you see something you’ve never seen before, but gird your loins, you’re about to.
A few years back, before Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall (originally Barbary Coast) was gutted to become the Cromwell, we got to stroll the casino’s old-school, labyrinthine catwalk.
Before the “eye in the sky” came along, casino surveillance guys (they were pretty much universally male) would peer down from above with binoculars to watch for dishonest employees and players trying to cheat the house.
Mostly that first thing, surprisingly.
What was it like? Here’s a never-before-seen glimpse into a bygone era in Las Vegas.
Given the extensive renovation of Cromwell, it’s unlikely the security catwalk in our video survived.
Casino security has come a long way since the early days of Las Vegas, of course. Now, casinos use sophisticated cameras and video analysis software to protect their assets.
In recent years, Las Vegas casinos have started using what’s called “non-obvious relationship awareness,” or NORA, software. This software allows security to tell if players and dealers are colluding.
Casinos even employ cryptographers and game theorists to assist with security efforts.
Here’s a fun fact: Casino employee uniforms are designed to deter theft. Sleeves are often kept short to prevent concealing chips, and pockets are either disallowed or covered with aprons.
Enjoy another glimpse into the past of Las Vegas.
There’s something thrilling, and more than a little creepy, about walking in the footsteps of those early surveillance teams.
Back in the day, casinos often didn’t hand over unscrupulous employees or cheats to the police, preferring to deal with the issues internally. If you get our drift.
While some may pine for the early days of Las Vegas, we tend to prefer our kneecaps unbroken and our eyes unpopped out.