Gamblers know that, when they visit a casino, surveillance cameras will follow them almost everywhere they go. Off-limits, however, are bathrooms, except for the Winpot Mérida casino in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
A former employee of the casino made the stark revelation on social media. She accused it of installing hidden cameras in the women’s public bathroom, and provided images to support her claim.
While still working at the casino, she tried to discuss the invasion of privacy with her bosses. However, instead of engaging in productive dialog, they opted to fire her.
Bathrooms Are Common Areas
When the then-employee approached her boss after discovering a camera, she received a reply that contradicts Mexico’s privacy laws. The casino manager told her that bathrooms are “common areas” and, therefore, eligible for the placement of security cameras.
What the manager, only identified as Juan Manuel V.Z., left out was that the law stipulates that cameras must be visible and identifiable. There must also be signage to indicate that the cameras exist.
In Winpot Mérida’s situation, the camera was barely noticeable in the far reaches of a corner of the bathroom. However, it could clearly capture almost everything that was going on, based on the images the employee posted on social media. In addition, a local media outlet reportedly has video and stills the casino captured.
The biggest part the manager missed was that bathrooms are not common areas, according to law. Mexico’s Organic Law on Data Protection and Guarantee of Digital Rights, in Article 89, specifically states that “cameras in the bathroom are totally prohibited by law.”
At the very least, the employee wanted to see the casino post a sign to inform those entering the bathroom about the camera. However, the manager refused and fired her, instead.
In many areas with a casino presence, the laws permit the installation of casinos only up to the entry into the bathroom. This is the case in Nevada, California, Australia, Spain and others.
Pattern of Negligence
The Winpot has previously shown that it doesn’t mind bending the rules to suit its own end game. Last November, police shut it down for violating several rules that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mexico had ordered casinos to shut down no later than 1 AM, but Winpot ignored the order. In addition, when police responded to a complaint, they found the casino had ignored the maximum capacity regulation in place at the time.
In addition, in March of last year, Winpot saw it as an economic opportunity. Until forced to stop, it was charging non-member customers MXN500 (US$25.18) to conduct a COVID-19 test before entering the casino.
Hidden Cameras in Mexico a Problem
This isn’t the first time the Mexican public has had to deal with hidden cameras where they shouldn’t be. This past May, students at a school in Monterrey, Las Brisas Academy, found cameras hidden in the bathrooms. The school is open to elementary and high school students.
After several pupils found the devices in trash cans and elsewhere, they reported the discovery to their parents, who confronted the school’s director. He, like Winpot’s manager, said the cameras were there for security reasons.
The parents didn’t buy it. Police later charged the director with child pornography, sexual harassment and more.
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