Boyd Gaming
In the American casino industry, the name of Boyd Gaming stands out as a model of business efficiency and success. The company has been developing and operating hotels and casinos since 1975 and currently has 17 wholly-owned properties located in Nevada, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas. Boyd Gaming additionally shares ownership of the Borgata Casino in New Jersey. The success of the family-owned operation can be attributed to many factors, among them strict adherence to the various state rules and regulations pertaining to key control policies and procedures.

According to Kerry Tankersley, business solutions analyst for Boyd Gaming, a unified enterprise-wide key control solution from Morse Watchmans, individually tailored to meet gaming regulations in each of the states where the company operates, is fundamental to their success.

“We really needed a flexible system that could easily adjust to the differences in regulations in the various jurisdictions in which Boyd operates,” Tankersley said. “This solution can be fully customized for the property and the jurisdiction in which we operate and because of that we don’t have to over-buy.”

As a leading supplier to the gaming industry, Morse Watchmans stays current with the various rules and regulations to ensure that its product meets all requirements for each particular state. Tankersley cites as an example their operation in Louisiana where state gaming restrictions do not allow for sensitive keys to be held in the same cabinet as non-sensitive keys. To accommodate this requirement, rather than the standard random key return feature that allows the return of any key to any open slot in the cabinet, the cabinet was programmed to store and allow access for sensitive keys only. This solution allows the sensitive keys to be held in this particular cabinet, each in a specific slot, complete with tracking and programmable user authorizations.

The system’s open architecture structure enables compatibility with third-party software for generating state-required reports such as key inventory and replacement (i.e. for broken or damaged keys) records or incident reporting. Data generated by the system of key usage is used to create an audit trail of incidents and follow-up actions throughout Boyd Gaming properties. As Tankersley explains, if the key control system generates an alarm because of an illegal key return, the report is given to the shift manager and security personnel for their action. Management of the incident (i.e. exception, justification, resolution) is then tracked to specialized incident reporting software and reports generated for auditors.

“We have to produce incident reports that show keys, use and illegal door and alarm activity, covering a 90-day period,” she said. “With the data from our key control system, it all ties together and is reportable, retrievable and traceable.”

Key control cabinets located throughout the various Boyd Gaming properties are accessed by authorized personnel using their four-digit user ID and a biometric scan of a fingerprint or palm print. The two-step process ensures additional security and adherence to policies and procedures. As an extra measure of security, and to meet Nevada gaming regulations, system administrators are authorized to add/remove keys for maintenance purposes but are not allowed to sign keys out.

Because of the business nature of a casino, Boyd Gaming utilizes several additional security measures available on the key control system such as dual-/tri- signature procedures. Departments are set up within the system and if the release of a key requires three “signatures,” the system is programmed to specify which three departments are authorized for signature. All three signatures must be from the three designated departments in order to access the key cabinet.

Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control systems were first installed by Boyd Gaming in 2000 and since that time, original systems have been upgraded and new cabinets added to the enterprise.

“As we expand, we are picking up quite a bit of what was manual,” added Tankersley. “The KeyWatcher system makes it easier to ensure the keys are where they’re supposed to be and go to whom they are supposed to. In a casino application with all of the rules and regulations we must follow, a flexible system makes it that much easier. I don’t know of another product that offers as much or is as compliant.”