Latest slot, table security shines in casino case studies
Security and surveillance providers outline the improvements resorts can achieve from recent technology upgrades
CASE STUDY 1: A new way to Revel on the Boardwalk Atlantic City resort chooses hybrid video security system to safeguard its guests
BY SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
Revel opened in 2012 as the first new casino built on the Atlantic City boardwalk in New Jersey in almost a decade—offering a unique resort option to the region. Revel is a beachfront resort with more than 1,800 rooms with sweeping ocean views, live entertainment featuring marquee international acts, indoor and outdoor pools, a 32,000-square-foot spa, nightclubs, day clubs, and a collection of 14 restaurant concepts from award-winning chefs.
“Our guest service professionals dedicate every day to making sure each guest feels as if they are the most important person on the property,” said Tony Weiss, Revel’s executive director of surveillance.
And a big part of that VIP treatment is making sure the property is safe and secure. Weiss’ team chose Pelco by Schneider Electric for its video security needs.
“Revel is utilizing a surveillance system that is comparable to any of the larger casino resorts in the United States,” Weiss said. “The gaming industry has seen surveillance systems rise and fall quickly since the inception of digital technology. Pelco has stood the test and remains an industry leader. It is the combination of digital solution technology married with the Pelco Spectra camera capabilities and all of the tremendous Pelco support that made the decision a very easy one.”
The Revel facility is protected by a hybrid Pelco video security solution, featuring an Endura IP video management system and analog matrix with strategically placed Sarix IP cameras, Spectra IV pan/ tilt/zoom cameras, and Camclosure 2 analog cameras. The resort uses analog technology for its gaming areas, and IP-based technology for nongaming applications.
“One of the most interesting and unusual qualities of the Pelco system is that it is simple to use and simple to operate,” said Jolene Bingham, Revel’s security monitor room manager. “Each function has been carefully thought out so that the system is merely an extension of each operator’s hand.”
Revel worked closely with Malia and Associates on the design and scope of the system.
The technology was personalized to fit the specific needs of Revel’s surveillance team, including the ability to expand or add equipment with ease. The video security system is integrated with software that allows real-time security response and alarms that instantly call up specific camera locations as information is received.
“It has been wonderful to see the evolution of Endura, having used both the original Endura system and the next generation,” Weiss said. “Our technical professionals are working to make sure we get the most out of the system.”
The video security system is also linked with point-of-sale and access control systems to allow direct interface of sale transactions and other events to multiple video streams.
“Think about what it takes to run a casino and how much on-hand capital is present,” Weiss said. “The surveillance system is designed to monitor all cash handling areas, slots, and table games. Table games cater to guests who at times have substantial amounts of gaming chips changing hands with the turn of the cards or roll of the dice. We watch the money from the time it is brought on property until it is eventually counted as revenue.”
QUICK RESPONSE TO ACTIONABLE DATA
Maintaining a reliable, high-tech video security system is critical in any fast-paced business environment with a large number of patrons visiting daily—but especially in a casino resort, where round-the-clock surveillance is a must. Time is precious for security and IT professionals who need the capability to quickly access video feeds and respond immediately to any incident.
“The systems are now integrated with software that allows real-time security assistance in the area of alarms that instantly call up cameras and locations as the information is received,” Weiss said. “What would take five minutes to review is now a point and click, review, and answer.”
With the open integration capability typical of Pelco products, Revel’s surveillance team is also using its technology to investigate abnormal sales patterns and be the first responders for any alarm activity that could affect Revel guests.
“Just imagine a guest unknowingly drops a piece of jewelry that is a family heirloom,” Weiss said. “Surveillance tracks the item and guest until we can reunite them. That not only adds to guest satisfaction, it adds to our business model by working hard to ensure our guests return after a positive experience.
“It is often said that the surveillance equipment is only as good as the people that are using it. Revel is proud of our staff of surveillance professionals as well as our commitment to provide the best system for our needs.”
The team programmed voice commands that detail specific alarmed areas and call up cameras upon activation. But beyond the video security system’s state-of-the-art capabilities, Bingham said it’s the attention to detail that she most appreciates.
“It is the subtle intricacies that surveillance operators and security officers have secretly wished for that makes this system stand out against all others,” Bingham said. “Every button is within a hand’s reach and video recall is instantaneous. Pelco has taken its years of experience building products and used that experience to create a product that is so user-friendly anyone can use it.”
For more information about IP video management for mission-critical surveillance, visit www.pelco. com/endura.
CASE STUDY 2: The evolution of casinos surveillance ops
BY STEVE MALIA, NORTH AMERICAN VIDEO
In our experience designing and building IP systems for the gaming market we have learned that, along with technology changes, transitioning to IP surveillance involves a multi-faceted adjustment in how surveillance departments operate. The adjustments relate to everything from how a user interfaces with the system to the needed skill set of in-house surveillance technicians.
One of the first noticeable changes is how operators monitor the large number of cameras—with fewer displays and often fewer operators. Now, multiplexers are embedded within the viewing applications, allowing more system flexibility by displaying multiple cameras on a single monitor. These multi-view displays, in conjunction with high-definition monitors, provide the needed detail for effective surveillance. Problems associated with operator viewing fatigue are often lessened with this configuration compared to analog control rooms with multiple banks of monitors.
IP systems also make it possible to view live video and play back archived video on the same monitor. This way, investigations can occur anywhere. Operators can identify a current situation and review archived video to see exactly how it came to occur. A single operator can actively monitor and review any situation.
Cameras and data flow of an IP system are now typically managed from a keyboard and mouse or touchscreen display instead of the traditional joystick and control panel. Procedures as simple as point and click allow operators to view any camera or call up specific recorded video following an incident or dispute. The immediate response can significantly reduce review time and allow the casino to take appropriate action as well as allowing the operator to more quickly resume normal procedures. An easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) with camera location overlays requires fewer operators to follow a person of interest throughout the casino complex.
All of these features provide the user greater control of the system, without having to memorize monitor and camera numbers. The simplified user interface creates a more effective use of monitors and monitor walls and prevents operators from missing events because they can’t remember which camera is in the area.
Finally, because IP surveillance systems can be integrated with other casino business systems on the network, merging data from the various departments (retail sales, human resources, etc.) with the surveillance system means video is recorded with the corresponding data. These transactions require the surveillance department to change its operation by sharing viewing and control of video with the other departments.
Another area of control that has been affected by the advent of IP technology is latency in pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) control. Latency is defined as the time lag between when a user sends a PTZ control command and when that action is displayed on the screen. Latency often leads to over-panning when a user stops at a desired position but the camera continues to pan for the latency time. Because of latency, zooming should not be used to the same extent as with analog systems. When zoomed-in on an object, it is more difficult to pan and tilt the camera. With the introduction of megapixel PTZ cameras, increased resolution is used to compensate for limited usability of zooming. To further compensate for the limitation of IP latency, manufacturers have introduced 360-degree cameras that use virtual PTZ to pan and tilt throughout the scenes.
TECHNICAL SKILL SET
Technicians tasked with system maintenance and troubleshooting must now have broader training that incorporates both camera knowledge and networking. And while new technologies are being developed primarily for IP cameras, those cameras still need to be focused, their brightness adjusted and so on while networked systems demand knowledge of network protocols, bandwidth IP addressing and sub-netting in order to configure and expand a system. Surveillance department technical personnel may have to work more closely with the IT department. Maintaining updated knowledge and credentials is more essential than ever.
Technology is changing quickly and traditional surveillance operations are re-adjusting to leverage the capabilities offered by IP technology. The changes are also driving a better business alignment of IT and security/surveillance across all applications of video surveillance installations.
Steve Malia is vice president of engineering services and marketing for North American Video, a New Jersey-based provider of security systems integration and video surveillance design. He can be reached at www.navcctv.com.
CASE STUDY 3: Macau properties turn to Dallmeier for surveillance systems needs
BY DALLMEIER ELECTRONIC
Macau—the Asian island state off the coast of Hong Kong—has emerged as the most popular gambling destination on the planet and as one of the most important sales markets for Dallmeier, a Germany-based video surveillance manufacturer. Indeed, the company has designed and installed one of the most extensive IP-based video systems in the world there, and has also operated its own company branch on the island for several years.
Until 1999, Macau was a Portuguese colony, and its European heritage is still clearly on display in its architecture and street names. Today, the province is a Special Administrative Zone of the People’s Republic of China. Macau is also heavily influenced by its Asian identity, even though the city skyline is dominated by its enormous casino and hotel resorts.
Unlike in China, gambling is not forbidden in Macau, and has thus become one of the largest sources of revenue for the province. The foundation was laid for the industry by one gargantuan construction project: the two offshore islands of Coloane and Taipa were joined by man-made landfill. On a 1.8 mile stretch of artificially constructed land, a skilfully planned gaming paradise of unimaginable proportions took shape— the Cotai Strip. Elaborate, imaginatively designed resort complexes now make gamblers’ pulses race and have helped the Cotai Strip to surpass the magnetic powers of its model, Las Vegas.
BIGGER AND BETTER
The Macau success story for Dallmeier— which has been active in the casino industry since 1997—began in 2003, when it won an international surveillance system tender from the enclave’s first foreign-owned casino operator, the Las Vegas Sands. “Dallmeier established itself in Macau about 10 years ago, with the first digital video solution and about 1,200 channels [at the Sands Macau],” said Konrad Hechtbauer, director project and applications for Dallmeier.
But this first order from the Sands was only the beginning: just a year after it opened, the casino doubled its capacity— and of course this also meant that the surveillance system had to be expanded correspondingly. As the boom in Macau continued unabated, so the Sands Group grew too, and over time it acquired several more properties on the main island of Macau as well as on the Cotai Strip. By this time, the Sands, the Venetian and the surrounding hotel complexes had combined to form a single interconnected network. A staggering 15,000 cameras here are controlled from a main control center!
Many more projects, such as the City of Dreams with approximately 5,000 cameras, have followed over the years. And the end of Macau gaming development is nowhere in sight: not only are new casino and hotel resorts being built all the time, the existing casinos are constantly expanding, and having to augment their video systems to match.
“The systems are becoming bigger and bigger, and more and more complex,” Hechtbauer said. “They now also incorporate a multitude of interface connections, such as card readers, slot machines or POS systems. The data from the peripheral systems is linked to the video images. The user is alerted to sensitive areas automatically by complex mathematical calculations, so the system functions proactively. Unusual situations at the gaming tables are detected and reported by means of intelligent video analysis. Our many years of experience in Macau are incorporated systematically in our development program, and as a result Dallmeier is constantly able to present new innovations.”
In order to satisfy the many specifications of its customers in Macau, Dallmeier has founded its own subsidiary: Dallmeier International, a joint venture between Dallmeier in Germany and its Australian business partner C.R. Kennedy.
“I remember the first discussions about our joint venture which really stemmed from the fact that C.R. Kennedy, our company in Australia, was instrumental in the first digital system ever in a casino surveillance system,” said Stephen Beard, managing director of Dallmeier International. “The job went so well that Dallmeier and C.R. Kennedy decided to join a joint venture in Hong Kong and later into Macau to provide Dallmeier systems to the new Western casinos that were going up rapidly.”
From consulting and systems to after-sales service; Dallmeier attaches great importance to supporting its customers as a partners for the long term. In a purposed built and equipped Macau-based demo-and showroom, the latest surveillance developments are tested and demonstrated to customers. One of the most radical new innovations is the patented Panomera camera technology, which offers newfound resolution and image quality thanks to a completely new lens and sensor concept— in real time and at up to 30fps.
From the office in Macau, all casinos can be reached in 20 minutes or less, so professional Dallmeier personnel can be on site almost immediately to assist with emergencies, to provide support and for all ongoing expansions.
“I remember when we first opened the office Stephen said that the opposition told us that we would never ever get any business within Macau,” said Craig Graham, general manager Asia region for Dallmeier International. “And here we are 10 years later with one of the largest presences within the CCTV industry in Macau.”
Dallmeier is the only manufacturer in Germany that develops and manufactures all components on its own. This includes the entire product range, from cameras to picture storage and transmission to intelligent video analysis and even individually adjusted management systems. For more information, visit www.dallmeier.com.
CASE STUDY 4: Arizona tribal properties opt for key control technology from Morse Watchmans
Casino managers, like managers in any other market, leave nothing to chance when it comes to the operation of the business. To protect the bottom line and guard against fraud, they rely on established practices and procedures and industry-favored technology such as Morse Watchmans key control and management systems.
At sister properties Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control system is used to store, control and track keys that are used to access all of the most sensitive and highly secured areas of the casinos where money and chips are held, including the slot department and cages. A KeyWatcher key system is also used by the casinos’ security departments to store and track keys needed throughout the facilities.
Designed for optimum key security, KeyWatcher key control cabinets will not open until the system verifies that the user has permission for the specific key requested and the system automatically records all activity.
“We like that we have key accountability and tracking of all keys on-site with the KeyWatcher system,” said Roxanne Manwell, access control supervisor for Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort. “It alerts us when keys are not turned in correctly and/or are overdue and we can send out the report to the departments for notification purposes.”
The KeyWatcher system and accompanying KeyPro software, in place since 2004, enable Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort to meet the various Arizona tribal gaming statutes regarding key control and management. Custom software enables the casinos to set up all these and many other types of reports, which can be e-mailed to management on a regular basis.
“Tracking and reporting is critical in our industry and the KeyWatcher eliminates the need for manual logs and paper trails because it records everything and prints a report with a couple of clicks,” Manwell said. “The reports are easy to run and manage when going through our yearly audits.”
Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort are owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRP-MIC), a sovereign tribe located in the metropolitan Phoenix area. In addition to Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, the SRP-MIC own and operate several other enterprises including Salt River Materials Group and Saddleback Communications. Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort are both located in Scottsdale, offering visitors over 100,000 square feet devoted to gaming, dining, and entertainment. Amenities include slots, blackjack, keno, and five unique restaurants.
KeyWatcher systems used at Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort were configured and installed by Genesis Resource, Inc. a leading provider of electronic key control systems in the casino industry.
Morse Watchmans is the Connecticut-based provider of key control and management systems. For more information on the company and its products, visit www.morsewatchmans.com