Surveillance Seminars at G2E 2017By Bob Dancer, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 3, 2017 at 4:58 pmI received an email from Jeffrey Compton a few months ago saying that if I wrote a review of two of the seminars at G2E, I’d get a free CDC Gaming Reports polo shirt. How could I pass up a deal like that?Actually, I enjoy going to the seminars — and the ones that interest me most are the ones in the Surveillance and Security section. I host a podcast intended mainly for players (although it is posted on CDCGamingReports.com) and frequently we have guests, either players or attorneys representing players, who have been in lawsuits with casinos. In these lawsuits, actions by the surveillance and/or security departments are frequently a part of the reason the lawsuit was taking place.For the same reason that smart operators seek to understand the thinking of smart players, I believe smart players should seek to understand the thinking of smart operators.Although I attended more than two seminars, I was tasked with writing up the last two.The first of these was sponsored by IACSP, which is the International Association of Certified Surveillance Professionals. They passed out a peer-reviewed white paper called Video Review, Investigation, and Retention in Gaming Environments. It is the intention of the IACSP that this white paper eventually because the industry standard in this area.This discussion, led by consultant Alan W. Zajic, discussed the paper created by himself, Derk Boss and Jen Boss, that addressed how long casinos should keep video data in response to incidents. And how much review of that data should be done in preparation for the lawsuits that are often coming down the road.This discussion went through ten different steps on how long you should keep surveillance data in various circumstances – and how thoroughly you should review this data when it comes time to go to court.The first step is to determine how serious the problem is – for example, a TITO theft doesn’t require the same level of review that a homicide would. The former would require a minimal level of review; the latter would require a comprehensive level of review.Going through all ten steps would turn this review into a much longer piece than Jeffrey requested. But I will say this: Should you be in surveillance, or higher up in the casino management food chain, I suggest you contact one of the folks at IACSP.org and ask how you can obtain the white paper whose title I’ve listed in italics above. You’ll be glad you did.The second seminar was on Spoliation of Evidence in Casino Litigation. I was unfamiliar with the term “spoliation.” Turns out that in this context it refers to the destruction of evidence, and particularly the destruction of electronic evidence.The leaders of this talk were attorney Steven T. Jaffe and consultant Alan W. Zajic, who pulled double duty on this day because the original speaker for the IACSP seminar discussed above was quite busy – because he was in charge of surveillance next door to the horrible massacre that happened less than 24 hours before these seminars. Mr. Jaffe read a disclaimer at the start saying his firm had been retained to represent Mandalay Bay in matters arising from that event and he could say nothing at all about it and any comments he made were in reference to the problem in general and not the massacre in particular.In the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, FRCP 37 (e) talks of a duty by all parties in lawsuits to preserve electronically created data. In casinos that can include data from various sorts of cameras, but also emails, texts, and a whole variety of other data. For customers of casinos, it also includes their email, texts, and all social media.The talk discussed cases where a casino did not preserve data appropriately, and the courts have often ruled that a jury would have the right to assume that any evidence the casino failed to preserve was in fact incriminating to the casino.Similarly, if a plaintiff in a dispute with a casino posted anything on social media, email, text, or other electronic device, that person has the duty to preserve that data for use in the trial. Failure to do so could result in the judge ruling that the deleted data could be assumed to exculpate the casino.As a private individual, this lecture made it very clear that posting on social media anything related to something that could end up in court is a move that could have serious ramifications. Insofar as the casino protecting itself, if the casino has reason to believe that electronic data was created by the plaintiff, the casino’s lawyers should send a letter informing the plaintiff that that data should be preserved — and failure to do so is grounds for the casino seeking judicial relief.