SYDNEY'S Star City casino has launched a surveillance blitz to crack down on cheating, theft and unruly patrons, as it seeks to clean up its image ahead of a relaunch next year.
The casino will increase security camera numbers by 50 per cent by the end of 2011, mainly targeting cheating and fraud on table games like blackjack.
Star City now has 1200 cameras covering the main gaming floor, high rollers room, other public areas and the building's perimeter. This is up 20 per cent on camera numbers a decade ago. Most of the rise has happened over the last two years.
A renamed Star City will expand its camera numbers to 1800 after a $640 million overhaul next year as it attempts to rehabilitate its image as a "glorified RSL club". New figures show the rate of gaming-related theft, involving chips or slot credits, and cheating detected by the casino, has doubled since last year.
There have been 446 reported incidents of thefts and cheating since the start of 2009, or about 30 a month. Previous figures released by the NSW Casino Control Authority showed 177 incidents of theft, fraud and cheating during the year to June last year, or about 15 a month.
"We don't believe there's been a rise in crime. There has been an increase in the number of criminals apprehended," a spokesman said.
All of the cases of gaming-related theft and cheating since January last year had been identified by closed circuit cameras in the casino.
Offences included attempted use of stolen or fake casino chips, or marked cards. The number of patrons banned for "disorderly conduct" almost doubled to 151 in the 2008-09 year.
In one wild brawl last year involving a bikie group, chairs were smashed and glasses hurled before it spread outside.
No figures are yet available for 2010. But the spokesman has made it clear the casino wants to overhaul its reputation for late-night incidents, saying it made good business sense.
"If people feel safe, they're more likely to come to Star City," he said.
Casino's bosses feel a stigma has developed about going to the casino.