What Security Guards and Gambling Surveillance Officers Do
Security guards and gambling surveillance officers protect property from illegal activity.
Security guards work in a variety of places, including industrial settings, retail stores, and office buildings. Gambling surveillance officers work mostly in casinos. Because many buildings and casinos are open 24 hours a day, security guards and officers often must work around the clock.
How to Become a Security Guard or Gambling Surveillance Officer
Security guards and gambling surveillance officers typically need a high school diploma. Gambling surveillance officers may also need experience with security and video surveillance, depending on their work assignment. Most states require guards to be licensed by the state, especially if they carry a firearm.
The median annual wage for gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators was $34,190 in May 2019.
The median annual wage for security guards was $29,680 in May 2019.
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. Along with openings arising from employment growth, other openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.
Security guards and gambling surveillance officers protect property against theft, vandalism, and other illegal activity.
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.
Gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators held about 10,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators were as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||56%|
|Gambling industries (except casino hotels)||16|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||6|
Security guards held about 1.2 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of security guards were as follows:
|Investigation, guard, and armored car services||59%|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||6|
|Healthcare and social assistance||6|
|Accommodation and food services||5|
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.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of security guards and gambling surveillance officers.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs
Correctional officers oversee those who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$45,300|
Gaming Services Workers
Gaming services workers serve customers in gambling establishments, such as casinos or racetracks.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$23,520|
Police and Detectives
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
|See How to Become One||$65,170|
Private Detectives and Investigators
Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$50,510|
Firefighters control and put out fires and respond to emergencies where life, property, or the environment is at risk.
|Postsecondary nondegree award||$50,850|
For more information about security guards, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Security Guards and Gambling Surveillance Officers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm (visited ).