What Does a Surveillance Operator Do?

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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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People in the surveillance operator profession are responsible for overseeing the actions that take place in a particular area in order to prevent theft and other criminal activities. It is common to find these kinds of professionals in casinos, where a lot of money is exchanged. On gaming floors, there is much quick movement among dealers and players, so operators must know which actions are suspicious and also must be able to closely follow quick, deceptive movements. People who work in surveillance positions often must sit for long periods of time and be able to pay close attention to detail.

In most cases, there are no degrees or certification necessary to become a surveillance operator. Individuals in these positions, however, do tend to have training and experience using complicated, cutting edge surveillance equipment. To get a job in a casino, it usually is necessary to have experience monitoring gaming floors.

Monitoring a gaming floor is a primary duty of a surveillance operator. This professional spends most of his or her shift watching monitors that show different views of a casino. An operator often must switch from one perspective to another and must know when he or she has found suspicious activity. This operator monitors the actions of players and of employees.


Stress is often part of the job for a surveillance operator. Casinos tend to be fast moving environments, and these operators need to keep up with the many activities taking place. If an operator loses attention or takes a break at an inopportune time, he or she can potentially cost a casino a large amount of money.

Many casinos are quite large, so surveillance operators often work in teams. For this reason, it is essential that this kind of professional is able to stick to his or her schedule and to cooperate with other operators. When there are incidents on a gaming floor, it often is necessary for operators to work together to locate a potential perpetrator and to safely get him or her into the hands of the proper authorities.

When incidents do occur, a surveillance operator writes reports for management and law officials. He or she has to know which information is pertinent to a situation. For example, an operator might make note of the amount of money involved, the way in which a perpetrator tried to steal or cheat, and how he or she was able to recognize that an incident was occurring. Excellent writing and communication skills are required of these operators.


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