Casino employee theft is still a major problem in the gaming industry. In many ways, it is the smaller casinos that get hurt even more from employee theft. Across all industries, employees cause 90% of all significant theft losses. Therefore, learning to spot employees who may have a higher chance of trying to steal from you just might save your casino.
In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about preventing employee theft at your casino and protecting your net profits.
Why Casino Employees Steal
Before you can determine a strategy for preventing employee theft at your casino, it’s helpful to understand why employees steal in the first place. Back in 2010, Global Gaming and Business Magazine explained the driving forces for casino employee theft, known as the “fraud triangle”. The three aspects of the fraud triangle include the following:
- Motivation – the reasons behind why employees steal. According to the GGB, the top motivators boil down to substance addictions, sexual deviancy, gambling, and perceived or real financial desperation.
- Rationalization – how employees justify their actions. A common example is a down economy, desperation increases. People justify theft because they “need” the money. In good times, casinos are very busy, and opportunity increases because it’s easier to hide in the bustle of the crowds. And employees will rationalize theft this time because since your business is making so much money, you can afford to lose a little extra, and no one gets hurt.
- Opportunity – the ease at which employees believe they can get away with stealing successfully. This is the most difficult pie in the triangle for casinos to combat. You can’t do much about rationalization, but knowing how employees justify their thefts helps you spot possible culprits, as you’ll see in a bit.
We have repurposed the “fraud triangle” as shown below:
8 Possible Warning Signs Your Employees Are Committing Theft
Now that you understand more about why employees steal, what can you do about it? Here are some common warning signs of behaviors among your staff that you can learn to recognize and address before their behaviors turn into successful theft.
Have you ever re-assigned an employee to a new task or department or changed their routine somehow? An employee who might be at risk for committing theft will resist change, and often vehemently.
For example, they will often lie about the reasons why your changes upset them. One likely reason is that any change “throws a wrench” into their scheme. Watch out for employees who hoard their duties and tasks and resist changes to processes and systems.
2. Living well beyond their means
You know what you’re paying people. If an employee earning $50,000 per year appears very “flashy”, such as driving brand-new luxury or exotic sports cars, expensive clothing, jewelry, or other accessories, something might be off.
3. Financial complaints and difficulties
Employees who frequently complain about financial challenges might be more likely to take advantage of an opportunity to steal if they see it. Desperation is a primary motivation that leads to rationalization.
4. Refusing vacation time
This can happen in nearly any department; however, be cautious of employees who seem to frequently refuse to take vacation time and who also work in bookkeeping, accounting, or even table games. In the employee’s mind, being away from work for several days or even a week or two at a time can mean a loss of control over their scheme.
5. Reluctance to train, delegate, or share duties
Not every employee you hire will be the best trainer or delegator; however, there is a difference between a personality difference and a potential scheme to commit theft. An employee who is potentially stealing might avoid training new hires to avoid new people from discovering the stealing employee’s scheme. In the same way, delegating tasks that are critical to their coverup causes the same risks.
6. “Coziness” with vendors or customers
Many casino employee theft situations also involve non-employees. For example, in many cases, vendors, customers, and employees will join forces and commit theft. Vendor and customer relationships are important for employees, and interpersonal skills are great skills to have; however, be wary of employees who seem overly “cozy” with vendors or customers.
7. Prior criminal records
Many casinos have pre-employment screening processes and practices in place that check a candidate’s criminal background. In fact, some casinos refuse to hire employees with prior criminal backgrounds. However, studies have shown that many casino employee theft involved employees without prior records.
8. Spotting opportunities
Most casinos have similar operations, but it’s important to identify opportunities within your own operations where casino employees potentially commit theft. Here are a few examples:
- Employees with access to your computer systems to convert points, rewards, or chips for cash. They can generate replacement player cards for themselves and their friends, and cash the points. Others can create multiple accounts to get free play money.
- Managers with access to dropbox storage rooms might pre-count cash before the count team arrives. If that manager also controls surveillance, then he or she potentially has a higher chance of successful theft.
- Dealers can pay out money to their friends even for losing hands.
- Employees might reward contracts with vendors in exchange for a kickback, over-billing, and other methods of skimming cash.
Here is an article with more casino theft scams caught by security and law enforcement.
Real Examples of Casino Employee Theft
There are countless stories of casino employee theft to be
found online and in the news. But each one offers another glimpse into the methods and the motives for how and why employees might try to steal from your casino.
This casino theft involved an employee who printed false vouchers and got away with $14,500 before getting caught.
Here’s a huge scheme involving eight people that netted $5.2 million before they got caught.
Two table game staff members stole an unknown amount of money and were sued by the casino’s insurance company for over $800,000.
Unfortunately, there are plenty more real cases of casino employee theft where these came from.
What You Can Do to Prevent Employee Theft At Your Casino
All in all, implementing a solution for monitoring behaviors and patterns, particularly those that fit within these seven warning signs, is important for preventing theft and managing your casino well. Additionally, continuously improving and changing processes and systems can help prevent or identify potential employee casino theft “offenders”.
Never underestimate the power or risk management at your casino. Casino Schedule Ease can help. Find out more.