Gaming Surveillance Officer Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
What are the pros and cons of a career as a gaming surveillance officer? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a gaming surveillance officer is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of a Career as a Gaming Surveillance Officer

A gaming surveillance officer is responsible for the security of patrons and the casino during the monetary exchanges that take place in the establishment. Consider the following pros and cons to determine if a gaming surveillance officer career is right for you.

Pros of a Gaming Surveillance Officer Career
May be able to work part-time (leaves time for a second job or further education)*
Rotating schedule provides job variety*
Public contact can vary with rotations and assignments*
Work in a clean setting*

Cons of a Gaming Surveillance Officer Career
Slow job growth (7% between 2012-2022)*
Mentally stressful (must remain alert during long periods of inactivity)*
Job can be hazardous (rate of job-related injury and illness higher than national average)*
Extended periods of time on your feet*
May work long and odd hours*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Often, the job of a surveillance agent includes periods of in-person patrol and inspection of activities on the floor of the casino. However, a good deal of a surveillance officer's time may be spent in an observation room. From this vantage point, the officer uses audio and video equipment that allow him or her to monitor multiple areas of the casino at one time.

Ultimately it's the duty of the surveillance officer to provide security for the house and the patrons as money changes hands at gaming tables. They must be alert for questionable activities or cheating that may be taking place. Focusing on compliance with federal, local and house gaming rules and regulations, the surveillance officer monitors the behavior of gamblers and employees alike. You'll be required to submit oral and written reports detailing any suspicious activities to your superiors.

Job Growth and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for gaming security officers and investigators are expected to increase by 7% between 2012-2022. Though this is slower than the national average for all occupations, the legalization of gambling in more states foreshadows an increase in the number of casinos. As the number of gaming houses increases, there will be more need for surveillance officers. In 2014, the BLS determined the median annual wage for gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators to be $29,840.

What Are the Requirements?

Essential Skills

There are few legal requirements to secure a position as a gaming surveillance officer. Whether your employer is a hotel, casino or local government agency that oversees gaming activities, you'll often be required to undergo a background check. You should be in good physical shape, since you may be required to help confront and detain individuals until police arrive. With this in mind, many employers prefer to hire people with previous law enforcement or military experience.

Since one of the defining responsibilities of a surveillance officer is monitoring the conduct of games in order to detect illegal activities or cheating, many employers require some prior casino experience or familiarity with various games. With this duty in mind, employers place a good deal of importance on surveillance officers having certain skills or qualities. Among them are the following:

  • Good observation skills
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Ability to evaluate and process information rapidly
  • Good decision-making capabilities
  • Good oral and written communication skills

Education Requirements

The BLS states that a high school diploma or its equivalent may be sufficient to secure you a position as a security guard at a casino. However, you may be required to have some appropriate formal postsecondary education in order to qualify as a surveillance officer or gaming investigator. While you might not have to go so far as to earn a bachelor's degree, you can obtain a certificate or associate's degree in an area such as criminal justice, police science or even casino management.

After being hired by a casino, you may have to gain a state gaming license. The requirements vary from state to state, but to obtain a license, employees working in a casino may need to provide proof of employment, pass a background check and pay a licensing fee.

What Employers Are Looking for

Because of the importance of the position, employers often insist on a certain amount of prior work experience in surveillance, security or gaming. They expect their surveillance officers to be able to operate the special equipment used in monitoring activities. You may also be required to hold a state gaming license. Below are some examples of some job postings made during March 2012:

  • A resort in Nevada is looking for applicants who are at least 21 years of age and have at least two years of casino-related experience at a similar resort. Applicants should have knowledge of state gaming regulations, an understanding of all casino games, the ability to operate relevant monitoring equipment and excellent interpersonal communication skills.
  • A Mississippi casino is looking for surveillance operator applicants who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants should have 2-4 years of security or surveillance experience and hold a valid state gaming license.
  • A New Orleans casino is seeking high school graduates who have a broad knowledge of games, casino regulations and operations. Applicants should be well-groomed, able to operate required monitoring equipment and have a familiarity with cheating methods and techniques. Periodic tests on gaming operations will be administered once applicant has been employed.
  • A Missouri operation wants to hire an experienced individual who holds a valid sate gaming license. Applicant should be familiar with casino gaming procedures, computer literate, able to operate monitoring equipment and be physically fit. Applicant should be personable and able to circulate on the casino floor while observing patrons and employees.

How Can I Stand Out?

Although a high school diploma and some college course work might be enough to land an entry-level position in casino surveillance, further formal education may help you stand out from the crowd. While a postsecondary certificate can be useful, you may find that an associate's or even a bachelor's degree may further distinguish you from the competition.

Once you've been on the job for a number of years, you might want to become certified. Though not required, certification can serve as a testament to your professionalism, enhance your standing in the business and may improve your chances for advancement. If you complete specific education and experience requirements, you may be eligible to sit for one of three certification examinations administered by ASIS International. ASIS International is a not-for-profit, worldwide, independent organization for security professionals.

Licensing

The BLS states that you must be licensed by the state if your job entails carrying a gun. The duties of a surveillance officer may not call for the need of a fire arm. However, if you obtain a license, it may serve as an indication to your employer that you're willing and qualified to take on a wide variety of assignments as a team player within the company or agency.

Other Career Paths

Correctional Officer

If you'd like to remain in the security field, consider a career as a correctional officer. In this job, you may oversee people who have been charged with a crime and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and are serving a period of incarceration. According to the BLS, most correctional officers work for local, state or federal governments, though there are private security firms that supply correctional officers to facilities.

Although you're usually only required to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, you'll have to complete a training academy program. In 2011, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for correctional officers to be about $43,000.

Private Detective or Investigator

A career that might allow you a little more personal freedom is that of private detective or investigator. Though there aren't any formal education requirements in general, the BLS found that most private detectives have some college education. Depending on your assignment, the job may be hazardous and confrontational.

The BLS projected that job opportunities for private detectives and investigators are expected to increase by 21% in the 2010-2020 decade. The BLS also determined the mean annual wages for private detectives and investigators to be about $49,000 as of May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Criminal Justice
      • Master: Criminal Justice
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Criminal Justice
      • BS in Corrections
      • BSCJ: Crime Scene Investigation
      • BSCJ: Homeland Security
      • BSCJ: Law Enforcement
    Associate's
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • AAS in Public Safety and Security
      • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
      • Associate: Fire Science
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
      • Master of Arts in Law - National Security
      • Master of Public Administration - Emergency Management and Homeland Security
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Law and National Security
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections
      • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Undergraduate Specialization - Criminal Forensics
      • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Criminal Justice
    Associate's
      • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
      • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
      • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
      • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
      • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
  • Campus and Online Programs
    7. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice
      • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis
      • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Analysis
      • MS in Criminal Justice Homeland Security
      • MS in Criminal Justice Federal Law Enforcement
      • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Central Christian College of Kansas

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • AA in Criminal Justice

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master: Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor: Criminal Justice
  • Associate: Criminal Justice

Which subject are you interested in?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Law - National Security
  • Bachelor of Arts in Law and National Security
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
  • AA: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Admin
  • Undergraduate Specialization - Criminal Forensics
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Post University

  • B.S. in Criminal Justice
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice

Education Level:

Utica College

  • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis
  • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Analysis

What is your highest level of education completed?