CASE STUDY 1
Stones Gambling Hall deploys a deep surveillance product portfolio for robust, creative casino security solution
BY AXIS COMMUNICATIONS
Opened in 2014, Stones Gambling Hall is a Citrus Heights, Calif.-based card house offering poker, blackjack, baccarat, pai gow and other card games. The casino prides itself on its commitment to customer experience and its saloon-style atmosphere. So when it was planning its video surveillance system, it needed an option that could blend with the design while still providing the highest degree of protection.
Stones hired Los Angeles, Calif.-based systems integrator and Axis partner CCS to design a system that would maintain the casino’s aesthetics. CCS assigned Ryan Gleason as the project manager, and he was immediately tasked to working with the architect on systems selection and planning. Gleason and the design team selected Axis network cameras for the job, as the deep product portfolio would allow them flexibility with a variety of options for each part of the casino.
CCS installed a range of cameras offering high definition resolution, discrete installation and options for remote maintenance and control. The system is managed through Genetec Security Center, the unified security platform which includes the Omnicast IP video management system (VMS), and runs on Dell PowerEdge servers.
The Axis cameras provide critical support for the Stones security team. The high definition video provides full detail of card games and money-counting areas. Because the cameras can be adjusted remotely, the casino can quickly change views to monitor specific areas, such as a popular game. CCS was also able to integrate a custom application they developed to take snapshots with a touch of a button in order to help the casino streamline tax reporting on transactions over $10,000.
A WEALTH OF OPTIONS
A casino is an environment where the details matter: dealers and players trade palm-sized chips and cards during fast-moving, high stakes games. When the owners of Stones Gambling Hall began constructing their card house, they needed a responsive surveillance solution that could capture the action in high definition video.
Furthermore, the casino distinguishes itself in the emphasis it places on customer experience. It is a non-smoking facility with a gourmet restaurant and is designed to evoke a frontier-era California saloon. As such, the owners wanted cameras that could blend in with the aesthetics and maintain the casino’s trademark atmosphere. To accomplish this, Stones asked CCS to get creative and build a robust, yet unobtrusive, system.
The breadth and flexibility of Axis’ portfolio let Gleason’s team use an assortment of models and mounting options. For example, the card tavern section has a 30-foot vaulted ceiling with exposed trusses. Originally, Gleason planned to install cameras at the top of the ceiling to keep them hidden and out of plain view. Because of the height, CCS originally selected a model with interchangeable lens options. However, due to the 24/7 environment, Gleason decided a camera with remote focus and zoom was ultimately the best choice.
After testing, the CCS team found a way to mount the camera eight feet lower than originally planned. This allowed them to upgrade to an HDTV 1080p AXIS P3346-V Dome Network Camera despite the fact it had a narrower focal length. Because it was a lower height, they were able to capture the same area with greater resolution and avoid dropping the cameras from a truss using conduit.
AXIS P3384 Dome Network Cameras with Wide Dynamic Range-Dynamic Capture were used near the entrances and exits to balance out the contrast between indoor and outdoor lighting. CCS installed discrete AXIS P12 Series Network Cameras at facility choke points and certain high limit tables. Various customized mounting methods conceal the cameras, including inside the games’ displays to provide a “dealer’s eye view” of the table.
“One of the benefits of using Axis is that it offers a product portfolio with dozens of different types of cameras, attachments, mounting assemblies, etc.,” Gleason said. “We could choose the best model number to use in a particular instance given the aesthetics, the location and what we were trying to see.”
THE PERFECT VIEW
The cameras are monitored at all times through a Genetec Omnicast VMS, and the extra eyes provide critical support for security personnel on the card room floor. Using AXIS Q6045 pan/tilt/zoom PTZ Network Cameras, the IT team can quickly change views if one game draws a large crowd or an incident occurs somewhere in the facility. Furthermore, if the casino adds a new game, they can make remote adjustments to the focus and digital PTZ of existing cameras to ensure all views comply with local, state and federal regulations.
“I work closely with all the managers to get the views that they need on a daily basis to make sure that they can do their jobs,” said David Gray, IT manager, Stones Gambling Hall.
The open nature of Axis and Genetec products let Gleason find unique solutions to help the casino comply with regulations while maintaining its commitment to customer experience. By law, every casino and gambling facility must provide the IRS with detailed information on all transactions over $10,000.00. Often, this is accomplished by having the customer fill out a form. However, CCS integrated a button-activated trigger into the I/O port of the AXIS P3364 Network Camera, which tells the camera to snap a series of photos and create an event in Genetec Security Center. Security personnel can then use the images to record the required information while minimizing inconvenience to the customer.
“Everything we do is based around customer service here, and it really reflects in our casino’s integrity and our day-to-day operations,” Gray said. “As long as the customers are happy, we know that they’ll come back.”
Chelmsford, Mass.-based Axis Communications offers intelligent security solutions that enable a smarter, safer world. For more information, visit www.axis.com.
CASE STUDY 2
Moving on up
WinnaVegas Casino Resort migrates to a high definition IP video management system
BY TYCO SECURITY PRODUCTS
As the state’s largest tourist attraction, Iowa’s 20 casinos report more than $2.5 billion annually in revenue. According to the American Gaming Association, the industry supports 16,000 jobs and generates $726 million in tax revenues to local, state and federal governments, making it a vital part of the region’s economy. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska owns and operates three of these successful and popular casinos, the largest being WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa.
WinnaVegas Casino Resort opened in April 1992 and has expanded progressively as its business has grown. Following its 2014 expansion, the 24-hour casino’s facilities now include more than 850 slot machines in varying denominations, 10 casino table games and an eight-table poker room. The WinnaVegas Hotel is attached to the casino and features a number of amenities, including a pool, fitness area and arcade. The casino also has an event center containing several community meeting rooms. WinnaVegas Casino Resort hosts hundreds of events each year, including live music, tournaments and special events.
WinnaVegas Casino Resort employs more than 400 people who work in the organization’s main casino, sports casino, kitchen/buffet, administrative offices, annex, water treatment facility, 78-room hotel, pre-function Bingo lobby, event center and 40-room inn and garage. The facility also includes 750 parking spaces to support the 43,000 guests that visit WinnaVegas each month. The casino and its two neighboring tribally-owned casinos together generated $144 million in gross gaming revenues in 2013.
Due to its large number of employees and guests entering and exiting its facilities on a daily basis, need for an enhanced level of security, and recent gaming expansion, WinnaVegas sought a unified security solution that would simplify day-to-day operations of its many facilities and that would be easy to use, highly efficient and scalable. The casino resort required that new cameras and existing analog products work together for seamless integration, one that was capable of growing and adapting with WinnaVegas.
The casino also wanted to streamline its security operations by integrating its access control system with its video surveillance system in order to provide a holistic, unified security picture, matching doors with cameras and using the integrated solution’s analytics to understand events. In addition, WinnaVegas wanted the option to use the unified security system to connect WinnaVegas casino with its other local casino properties.
HOLISTIC SOLUTION SOUGHT
With WinnaVegas’ recent expansion came the need for expanded depth and breadth of security. Expansion areas included the sports casino, hotel and additional parking areas. In total, the casino needed a system to protect these new areas, plus kitchen, countertop gaming and lounge/stage areas. In the hotel alone, 78 rooms, hallways, vending areas, elevators, stairwells and parking lots all needed to be secured. The security department was particularly concerned about providing a high-level of coverage for the new gaming space.
“With our growth and expansion came the necessity of implementing a bigger, more integrated and high performing surveillance system,” said Donald Coleman, surveillance director for WinnaVegas. “With so many different cameras throughout our facilities, we really needed a system that could give our security staff information quickly and accurately—that can give our securitydepartment and our guests peace of mind.”
Recent safety issues with guests as well as insurance concerns also drove the organization to consider a more complex security system with increased functionality and reporting mechanisms. A more extensive and holistic approach to its surveillance could provide the necessary coverage and expanded capabilities to better secure the facility as a whole.
One specific challenge was how the casino could address issues of latency that have been associated with some IP PTZ cameras. Latency makes it difficult for surveillance operators to quickly track patrons as they move across the casino floor or to accurately zoom in for a closer look at player’s hand of cards. Given the casino’s active surveillance needs, possible delays in camera control that affect real-time tracking and monitoring were of significant concern. Also of concern was the amount of bandwidth required for the addition of IP cameras and a new video management system.
A REAL VICTOR
WinnaVegas Casino Resort is a long-time user of Tyco Security Products’ Network Client and analog PTZ Dome and fixed cameras. With its new project, the resort wanted to move its cameras and overall security system to IP-based technology, but wanted to do so gradually, while continuing to use its already existing analog cameras and infrastructure. The casino also sought a single user interface for a system that could operate its access control and video together.
With the help of systems integrator North American Video, WinnaVegas Casino Resort chose the victor Unified Client. Using the victor client, WinnaVegas Casino Resort staff can manage live/recorded video from all of the facility’s video devices in a single interface—including the new VideoEdge hybrid network video recorders (NVR) and the casino’s existing video recorders. Designed to handle the high throughput of HD and megapixel cameras, victor can manage real-time alarms and events and leverage video streaming, audio, motion meta-data and other advanced features for a complete view of the entire facility.
The Illustra Pro IP PTZ Dome, mini-dome and compact mini-dome cameras from Tyco Security Products were selected to provide the high-resolution video, low latency and discreet size needed for its growing and multi-faceted operations. The Illustra Pro PTZ cameras enable WinnaVegas surveillance staff to actively monitor activity on gaming floors with high accuracy and control. The camera moves to position as fast as 512 degrees per second, allowing for active surveillance and efficient tracking of suspicious behavior. Using a single user interface, victor provides seamless control of both existing analog cameras and the newly installed IP cameras.
Compared to other IP cameras, the Illustra cameras are capable of low bandwidth usage, which was a requirement for the new system to provide some additional cost savings on the storage side. In all, six 30 TB servers were deployed for video storage, with one designated as a failover server to provide a system archive in the event of lossof power or system communication. The PTZ camera uses H.264 compression to deliver lower bandwidth, which reduces network traffic and provides savings on storage costs.
VideoEdge NVRs were added to provide the speed and power necessary or WinnaVegas and its sizable operations. VideoEdge enables multiple video streams for live, record, alarm bump and meta-data collection. It also features Smart Search, using uses motion data collected with video while it is recorded, versus running time-consuming searches against archived video, enabling staff to quickly search for, review and export event findings as needed. As a result, security staff can spend less time operating and adjusting recording devices and spend more time watching cameras and responding to events in real time.
“Our new and existing video products from Tyco Security Products work well together, and the integration has been truly seamless,” said Joe Twaddle, lead technician surveillance for WinnaVegas Casino Resort. “The new surveillance system is backwards compatible, which means we can continue to leverage our existing surveillance investments when upgrading in the future.”
Twaddle added that the casino is presently using the victor Unified Client to manage both its video and doors at its event center, with plans to add additional panels and doors so that all of the resort’s doors and cameras can be managed through victor’s singular user interface.
EXPANSION IN THE FUTURE
The victor/VideoEdge system solution met all of WinnaVegas’ pre-project requirements, including provision of a high ROI for the casino, high quality images, an intuitive user-friendly interface and infinite adaptability for future needs, business and growth. The unified solution also allows the resort to transition its access control system to IP technology at its desired pace, while giving security staff a single interface with which to monitor doors and cameras. According to the organization’s leadership, possible expansion of use includes using the victor solution to manage all three of the Winnebago Tribe’s casinos, in addition to WinnaVegas.
Should the casino industry experience another surge in business, WinnaVegas will be ready and waiting—equipped with the adaptable, integrated security system needed for its continued and future success.
Tyco Security Products is a unified group of the most comprehensive world-leading premium access control, video, location-based tracking and intrusion solutions in the security industry. Tyco conducts business in over 177 countries around the world, in multiple languages and employs over 2,800 employees globally, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, sales, service and logistics teams in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.tycosecurityproducts.com.