Casino question

If the security at a casino sees me steal money or cheat, can they arrest me? They are not police officers…

No, but neither are you in a public space. They will detain you and bring in law enforcement.

Depends on where you are (assuming you’re talking about the USA). In most states a private citizen can detain a law breaker until proper authorities arrive. Some states call this “citizens arrest” some do not call it that.

Also, some private security personnel are off duty law enforcement with the ability to put themselves on duty and make arrests. (Here in Wisconsin this can be done IF the officers department policy allows it).

Some private security personnel may not be off duty law enforcement, but may have been deputized by the local sheriff for just such a situation.

Anyway you look at it getting caught by security at a casino may work out well for you.

In Nevada, where the gaming industry writes whatever laws it pleases, those casino goons are practically deputized. There is a statute that specifically authorizes casino employees to detain and hold anyone they suspect of a felony, and cheating is a felony. Of course sometimes they “suspect” someone of that particular felony just because they’re winning too much and decide to see what they can figure out in the backroom before either calling the cops or just giving them the heave-ho.

Things are a lot more uncertain in other jurisdictions where the security has to abide by standard security guard rules and cheating isn’t a specifically enumerated felony.

By “detaining”, you mean putting their hands on me, right?

If you’re lucky that’s all they will do.

That’s not always the case. Something like card counting (damn near impossible now anyway, with the shoes having so many decks in them, but doable, especially if you work in teams) isn’t illegal, but you will get kicked out of the casino.

For most citizens’ arrests - The person(s) detaining you can use “reasonable force” to ensure you remain until police arrive. Of course, if you retaliate by assaulting them (from their point of view), then that’s one more charge to add to the list. If you actually did cheat or steal and they prove it, they have legitimate grounds to detain you.

The rule of thumb with citizens arrest is - you are putting yourself on the line. If there is no grounds for arrest, no crime was commited, then the person actually restraining the victim is liable to criminal charges, and they and their employer can be sued. So unless you personally witnessed the crime, don’t - it is never a good idea to restrain someone on somebody else’s say so. (The discussions here about citizens arrest have beaten it into the ground so many times…)

Having said that - as mentioned above, some workers may be law enforcement officers. They can arrest you on someone else’s say-so, and unless the evidence is weak, they can’t be sued. Private security for the casinos probably has a very good nudge-wink relationship with the police, and the casinos are a major source of revenue for the state - so odds are unless there’s too much video evidence to the contrary, you will not get away with suing them.

Card counting is not cheating. But casinos (in Nevada anyway) can kick you out for any reason they please.

Yeah, but that’s not particular to casinos. If you’re trying to steal a laptop from Best Buy, there’s no legal impediment (in most jurisdictions) for a store employee to physically detain you until the police arrive, though it might be against corporate policy.

No reason the same shouldn’t hold true for casinos and their (or their customers’) property.

Well, if the Scorsese flick Casino, is any guide, in the old days they would break your fingers and deliver a good beatdown. Although, I imagine in this lawsuit happy age (and seeing as how most of the casinos in Vegas are corporate-owned these days) I imagine they’ve curtailed such excesses.

Card counting isn’t, but card counting augmented with a device or (I think) with accomplices is. So in Nevada, if you’re doing unusually well at blackjack, they may haul you in the back to try to figure out if you’re just some sort of savant (in which case it may be “get out and stay out”) or if you’ve got some sort of aid in which case they call the cops. Casinos elsewhere might only be able to take you into the back room or get the cops involved if they’ve actually caught you in the act.

The other big issue with cheating being a felony is that in Nevada, what the gaming commission says is cheating is cheating and a felony. In other states, there is a much blurrier line between an actual crime under various fraud and theft statutes and just improving your odds in a way the casino doesn’t like. If no actual crime is being committed, the extent of the security guards’ power may be to make you to leave.

In Missouri, State Highway Patrol has jurisdiction on gaming boats.

The boats have security, they are the ones that work the entries, monitor surveillance, etc. But there are also always Troopers at the casino, and they are the ones make an arrest if they observe a crime or are alerted to it by security.

When private card rooms were legalized in Washington State, casinos had problems because cheating was just considered “theft.” But the amounts were so low the law didn’t provide any meaningful deterrent and everybody was shooting any angle they could find. It wasn’t until later they wrote special laws about cheating in casinos. The basic rule of thumb is “no mechanical device.”