Points for playing are targets of thieves - often casino employees

Points for playing are targets of thieves - often casino employees
Points for playing are targets of thieves - often casino employees

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By Liz Benston 
The Las Vegas Sun
Aug. 17, 2009 

At the heart of a casino=E2=80=99s marketing machine lies its players club, 
which uses swipe cards to track gamblers=E2=80=99 play as they rack up points to 
redeem for meals, hotel stays, merchandise and even cash.

So critical are these massive, good-as-cash databases to casino profits 
that, if there were to be an Oceans 14 movie, the next great casino 
heist might target the computers that manage them.

And it wouldn=E2=80=99t be fiction. Casino insiders are raiding gamblers=E2=80=99 
loyalty points, according to casino regulators and security experts.

In one scheme, says Gaming Control Board member Randy Sayre, casino 
employees with access to players club databases transferred points from 
customers=E2=80=99 accounts to bogus accounts from which an accomplice was able 
to redeem the points for tangible rewards. Employees also have created 
accounts and loaded them with bogus points.

The thefts are sometimes uncovered when the customer discovers his 
account has been drained. Were it not for customers=E2=80=99 vigilance, some 
thefts might go undetected.

Sayre declined to identify the casinos or further describe the suspects, 
and arrest information for unidentified suspects is not available.

Control board agents have arrested multiple players club thieves in 
recent years in scams that have cost casinos hundreds of thousands of 
dollars, Sayre said.

The thefts have prompted new course work focusing on players club 
security as part of casino surveillance and security programs at UNLV 
and the University of Nevada, Reno, and the control board will hold 
workshops in coming weeks with casino operators to try to clamp down.

Stealing players club points is the latest development in casino 
thievery, which includes such old-school efforts as swiping chips, 
manipulating cards or using metal devices to tamper with slot machines.

Catching insiders who embezzle points can be difficult, security experts 


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