Could you be due for a change to your casino security surveillance system? With exciting advances being made to surveillance products, which especially lend themselves to the casino industry? Are operators missing out on the most modern solutions? Could jobs be made easier and more effective with an IP network or HD products?
If it’s been a long time since your last casino security system review, it could be time for an update. Maybe you’ve done things the same way for a while and don’t know what capabilities new cameras have—this is very normal for many professionals who have worked in the casino industry for a long time. But did you know that you might no longer be meeting regulatory compliance with your existing solution?
If you think your casino security system is fine as it is, please read on… this article offers surprising insights into how you could improve your solution, without an entire, pricey overhaul.
SOME IMPROVEMENTS TO CONSIDER
- Purpose-build your security surveillance system for a casino environment. It could be that when you first implemented your casino security system years ago, it wasn’t specifically designed or configured for a casino setting. It might have been created for a generic business, which has, until now, served you just fine, according to Jeff Swanson, a senior sales director for IndigoVision.
A warehouse might be the same size as a casino, but it will likely be using that surveillance system in a more preventative or reactionary fashion. Therefore, if an event happens—boxes go missing, a forklift crashes—it records those types of incidents. But as technology evolves, your casino surveillance system may not now be providing the level of security cover you need in a modern-day gaming environment.
In the operation of surveillance for a casino, that footage needs to be live—and without latency. It needs to be a solution that’s very purpose-built for that type of environment. Some questions casino operators should be considering when it comes to their surveillance systems: Can your current product and manufacturer guarantee regulatory compliance? Is it an efficient, easy-to-use and purpose-built solution for your sector? Do you have 24/7 pro-active operation of your surveillance system?
- Enable real-time viewing of your live footage to improve reaction times. Does your casino security system have the horsepower and the speed to react quickly to situations as they happen in your environment? If you know your casino surveillance cameras run through a server, you will experience lag when you view live video. When incidents occur, how fast can you make decisions about physical deployment or track a perpetrator through your casino? Swanson Points out that:
“Security needs to be dispatched to deal with an incident, so having a single camera surveillance system that can be multitasked into different requirements—such as the physical security department interfacing with cameras, and evidence to support the physical response of an incident—is the level of cover casinos need,” Swanson said. “If you’re an operator who has control of the surveillance tools—whether that’s in a central control room or on the move—you need to be able to work in tandem with the security team being dispatched to the crisis area. The cameras and software you’re using need to have fast, real-time functionality.”
Other questions to consider: Does your system generate the video over a network or through a server? Are you able to coordinate a synchronized process when responding to incidents? Is time wasted during the decision-making process when an incident occurs?
- Choose a system that serves both control room and roaming security teams. Do you have the option to view live footage via a network, allowing you to watch cameras “on the go” from any location, and any device? Can you only access video from a fixed position, such as a control room?
In our modern, mobile world, working from a single location—especially when covering a large and busy area such as a casino—isn’t a practical solution. “You have a physical surveillance layer—who are in a control room with access to all of the video feeds across the casino resort,” Swanson said. “Then you have a physical security team, who are the traditional security personnel roaming and guarding certain environments—they have more ability to respond to the guests and customers.”
Casino surveillance operators don’t want to be confined to one location, but have the freedom and flexibility to roam your environment with full access to multiple cameras, as well as enjoy the security of a control center. Items to consider when contemplating the flexibility of your surveillance technology: Does your solution serve both your physical casino surveillance layer and a roaming security team? How well can these teams work together with your existing solution? Do you have the flexibility to give both teams access to live footage?
- Monitor every angle of your casino, from the tables to the back of house.
Casinos have a lot to monitor—not only do the slot machines, gaming tables and front-of-house transactions need surveillance, but the back-end cash handling needs coverage as well. Can your existing system monitor the cashier environment, where chips are totaled and money handed out to players? Does the system cover the locations where staff count money?
“You need to be able to look at how money is removed from slot machines and cash boxes at table games, in addition to keeping an eye on table game play” Swanson said. “So much cash handling and exchange occurs in casinos, it makes them vulnerable places for misdemeanors and errors to happen. Whether through genuine intent or accidental mishandling, operators need to feel confident that cameras are able to capture the most subtle of actions.”
They also want to be able to learn and adapt processes by analyzing gathered footage, so it needs to be of high quality, Swanson added.
Other cash-related security questions to consider: Can you adapt internal processes, such as money handling, according to your casino’s personal needs? Can you see through crowds to individual tables? Are your casino surveillance cameras able to run at 1fps when nothing is happening then jump to 30fps when something does occur?
- Find video evidence for police use quickly. How easily are you able to pinpoint a specific piece of footage for in-house use or to help authorities such as the police? With traditional, analog systems, trawling through hours of footage to find a specific piece of evidence can be one of the more grueling and frustrating sides of working in casino surveillance.
A newer solution can export up to eight hours of video at two megapixels, 30 frames per second, within two minutes. How does that compare to your existing speed? How fast are you currently able to help authorities build a picture of what happened when an incident occurs?
“If you look at how many times the operator or the casino organization needs to use or reproduce the evidence that is being stored digitally on their network video recorder, the frequency is very high,” Swanson said. “This is a major operation inside the surveillance room—exporting the physical media that will form a case, situation or claim.”
If this is a repeatable process that costs your business—and an investigation—time and money.
Items to consider when it comes to the search functionality of a surveillance system: Can you afford to be using outdated methods that cause delays? Are authorities able to rely on you as a source of high-quality, speedy evidence? Can you store the volume of footage you need to on your network video recorder?
If your casino security system doesn’t help you do all of these things, you might be due for an update. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but you might want to consider the quickest, and most affordable options to start with, which will make a big impact.
Your obligation as a casino surveillance operator is to keep guests and the business safe—are you doing that to the highest of your ability with your existing solution?