Canadian Casino Security Specialist Talks About New Innovative Technologies

In 2008, Jeff Jonas spoke at the O’Reilly ETech conference in San Diego, revealing what he had learned as a security and technology specialist with Systems Research & Development (SRD) in the casino industry. Now, as CEO and Chief Scientist for Senzing, Inc., the self-described serial entrepreneur is exploring tech innovations in national security, entity resolution, and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this year, Jonas was part of the “Innovation Sandbox” YouTube Live series powered by Prolifics where he joined host Greg Hodgkinson to talk about everything from Ironman triathlon training during a pandemic to what role entity resolution (ER) plays in the life of the average person. Although Jonas has also moved onto other solutions in big data, updated versions of Nora–a computer software system built to enhance security–are still changing the way online and brick and mortar casinos deal with threats today.

Trade Secrets

Jeff Jonas has garnered a reputation as a big data wizard, in part due to his work history as an engineer and chief scientist for IBM’s Entity Analytic Solutions. But IBM’s interest in Jonas began with his company’s Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness technology or Nora.

Recounting anecdotes about encounters with professional fraudsters, Jonas revealed secrets he’d learned working in the casino security industry at the 2008 ETech conference. In tell-all style, he let loose about the kind of conditions that inspired software like Nora.

Minimum Security

Even though Jonas says he believes that now half of all casinos around the world run a security program that he had a hand in, many Vegas casinos don’t emphasize on-the-ground security or surveillance. “They only mess with you if you’re really, really cheating,” he said, referring to casino forces.

Often surveillance footage is only studied after a player comes under suspicion, usually because of their unexpectedly high winnings. Sometimes, even when cheaters are found out, they’re allowed to stay–as long as the House is still winning. If card counters and cons aren’t skilled enough or are with a party of high rollers who are losing more than they are winning, they may be deemed not enough of a threat.

Reinforcements from Nora

With Nora, cameras became a much more efficient form of security for live casino systems. Designed to expose existing relationships between individuals that could be used to exploit casinos, Nora mines data to make connections. Tim O’Reilly described it succinctly as “software that would alert casino security, for instance, that the dealer at table 11 once shared a phone number with the guy who is winning big at that same table.”

An Update for Nora

The growing popularity of online casinos left plenty of room for opportunity when it came to adapting Nora for digital needs, so Jeff Jonas paired with IBM to adapt the software for casino websites. Canadian iGaming portals and sites around the world have already implemented Nora 2.0, the next step in the Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness program.

More in Store for Nora

Nora 2.0 is a self-learning “artificial intelligence” that anticipates players attempting to cheat, as well as third-party malware threats. In 2020, an estimated 3,000 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were prevented by Nora 2.0. This ability to protect host servers is merit enough, but the custom software has some other tricks up its sleeve as well.

Manual updates aren’t necessary with the autonomous Nora 2.0 and the ease of using the program has the online video game industry musing about the potential of the software for anti-cheating precautions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *