Security Guard and Gambling Surveillance Officer Career Description


Security guards and gambling surveillance officers protect property from illegal activity.

What they do

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers typically do the following:

  • Patrol property
  • Enforce rules and regulations of an employer's property
  • Monitor alarms and video-surveillance systems
  • Respond to emergencies
  • Deter criminal activity
  • Control building access by employees and visitors
  • Conduct security checks over a specified area
  • Write reports on what they observed while on duty

Guards and officers must stay alert, watching for anything unusual. In an emergency, they are required to contact police, fire, or ambulance services. Some security guards carry firearms.

Security guards work wherever people and assets need to be protected. Responsibilities vary by employer. In offices and factories, for example, security guards protect workers and equipment and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises. In retail stores, guards protect people, merchandise, money, and equipment. They may work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers and employees, detain shoplifting suspects until the police arrive, and patrol parking lots.

Gambling surveillance officers work in freestanding casinos and other facilities that have designated areas for gambling, such as hotels, video gaming terminals, and riverboats. They typically work from an observation room within the gaming facility.

Security guards, also called security officers, protect property, enforce rules on the property, and deter criminal activity. Some guards are assigned a stationary position from which they monitor alarms or surveillance cameras. Other guards are assigned a patrol area where they conduct security checks.

Gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators act as security agents for casinos. Using audio and video equipment, they watch casino operations for suspicious activities, such as cheating and theft, and monitor compliance with rules, regulations, and laws. They maintain and organize recordings from security cameras, which are sometimes used as evidence in police investigations.


Work Environment

Security guards work in a variety of places, including industrial settings, stores, and office buildings. Gambling surveillance officers and investigators are employed in casinos and other gaming facilities only in locations where gambling is legal.

Guards may spend considerable time on their feet patrolling buildings and grounds or may sit for long periods at a single post, such as in a guardhouse at the entrance to a gated facility or community. Others may spend periods of time in a vehicle, patrolling the property and grounds.

Both security guards and gambling surveillance officers may spend much of their shift sitting at a desk or counter in a dark room, observing customers on video surveillance equipment. They may have to monitor activity on multiple screens for long periods of time without distraction.

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers usually work in shifts of about 8 hours, with rotating schedules. Night shifts are common. Most security guards and gambling surveillance officers work full time. Seasonal work may be available during the holidays and during the warmer summer months in some states.


How to become a Security Guard and/or Gambling Surveillance Officer

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers typically require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Gambling surveillance officers sometimes need experience with security and video surveillance. Most states require security guards to be licensed by the state, especially if they carry a firearm.

Security guards typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may not require formal educational credentials. Gambling surveillance officers also need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Although most employers provide instruction for newly hired security guards and surveillance officers, the amount of training varies. Most security guards learn their job in a few weeks, but gambling surveillance officers and investigators may need several months. Employer-provided training typically covers emergency procedures, crime prevention, and proper communication.

Many states recommend that security guards receive about 8 hours of pre-assignment training, 8 to 16 hours of on-the-job training, and 8 hours of annual training. Instruction may include protection, public relations, report writing, deterring crises, first aid, and other specialized training related to the security guard’s assignment.

Training is more rigorous for armed guards because they require weapons training. Armed guards may be tested periodically in the use of firearms.

Gambling surveillance officers and investigators receive training in topics such as the rules of casino games, gaming regulations, identifying cheating techniques, and the proper use of video and radio equipment.

Drug testing may be required both as a condition of employment and randomly during employment.

To enter the occupation, gambling surveillance officers and investigators typically need work experience in casinos or with video monitoring technology. Candidates sometimes gain video monitoring experience by working as a security guard.

Most states require that security guards be licensed by the state in which they work. Although licensing requirements vary by state, basic qualifications for candidates are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete training

Guards who carry weapons usually must be licensed by the appropriate government authority. Positions for armed guards have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than do those for unarmed guards. Most states require rigorous hiring and screening programs, including background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks, for armed guards.

Some states and gaming facilities require a minimum age of 21 to work in a casino.  Some jobs may also require a driver's license.



The median annual wage for gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators was $34,190 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,490, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $57,700.

The median annual wage for security guards was $29,680 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,310.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of security guards and gambling surveillance officers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Security guards will continue to be needed to protect both people and property because of concerns about crime and vandalism.

States continue to legalize gambling and casinos continue to grow in number, resulting in the need for gambling surveillance officers and investigators.

Advances in video surveillance and anti-cheating technology may limit the employment of some security guards and gambling surveillance officers and investigators.


Similar Job Titles

Casino Enforcement Agent, Gaming Investigator, Security Officer, Surveillance Agent, Surveillance Investigator, Surveillance Monitor, Surveillance Observer, Surveillance Officer, Surveillance Operator, Surveillance Technician

Related Occupations

Compliance Officer, First-Line Supervisor of Gambling Services Worker, Library Assistant-Clerical, Public Safety Telecommunicators, Dispatcher (except Police, Fire and Ambulance)

More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.

Magazines and Publications



Video Transcript

Whether employed by museums, military bases, or casinos, security guards and gaming surveillance officers observe and patrol operations to maintain order and protect property against theft, vandalism, and illegal activity. Security guards enforce rules on a property, and deter criminal activity, either by walking the facility and grounds to conduct security checks, or monitoring surveillance cameras and alarms. They guard merchandise in retail stores… students and facilities at universities and schools… verify visitor IDs and keep facilities safe at factories, office buildings, hospitals, and military bases. At sporting events and concerts, guards control crowds and direct traffic… while at bars they may collect cover charges and check IDs. At casinos, gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators watch video monitors fed by hidden cameras to check for cheating and theft —by either employees or patrons. They notify security staff when they spot any potential trouble. Security and surveillance work calls for either many hours sitting in front of screens, or long shifts spent standing or patrolling. It can be routine work…. until a problem arises when it can become hazardous. Work schedules typically include nights and weekends. Most positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience with video surveillance is helpful. Security guards may need to register with the state, especially if they carry a firearm. Drug testing is common, before and during employment.


Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
CareerOneStop, O*Net Online