Foxwoods Casino Upgrades Video Surveillance System

Foxwoods Casino Upgrades Video Surveillance System

Foxwoods Casino expands security as facility grows

Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods Resort Casino opened in 1992 as the first full-service gaming facility of its kind ever established on an Indian reservation. Today, Foxwoods remains one of the largest casinos in North America, which evolved over 25 years as a world class destination resort offering a variety of family-friendly amenities in addition to six casinos, AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants, spas, exclusive retailers and live entertainment venues.

Since 1993, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation infused over $4 billion in slot revenue into the Connecticut state economy through a first-of-its kind agreement between a tribe and state, supporting much-needed state programs and services throughout 169 municipalities.

GROWTH AND EXPANSION

As Foxwoods grew and expanded, so did the need for a state-of-theart, integrated video surveillance system to provide necessary coverage and security for the gaming facilities. The resort required new IP cameras and existing analog products working together for a seamless integration, which would adapt and grow as Foxwoods expanded.

A long-time customer of Red Hawk Fire & Security, Foxwoods entrusted Red Hawk to complete the final two phases of a three-phase project to update the resort’s analogue video system with full color IP cameras, monitors and a new video management system. The final project involved upgrades to the Fox Tower and Rainmaker Casinos as well as expansion of the existing DataDirect Networks (DDN) and Genetec video management systems.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s Surveillance Director, Kevin Hodge maintained oversight of the project through completion.

“It was important for us to adopt the most advanced technologies to include truly forensic-quality video as well as extended retention to help protect our business and guests against all types of loss, including but not limited to cheating and theft,” Hodge said. “Thanks to the dedication, tenacity and professional skills of the Red Hawk team, all work was completed on schedule and to very high standards. We are happy to have an upgraded system that provides the highest level of security for resort operations and guests.”

GAMING AROUND THE CLOCK

With thousands of visitors enjoying round-the-clock gaming excitement, Foxwoods gradually upgraded to IP cameras through a phased approach over several years. The phase two upgrade involved more than 600 cameras, multiple DVRs, monitors and video encoders for the Fox Tower Casino, as well as its Cage and Count Room. Throughout the phased-in transition, Foxwoods continued using its existing analog cameras and infrastructure.

Foxwoods selected a variety of cameras for the upgrades, including equipment by manufacturers AXIS and Bosch, which offered image quality optimized for forensic purposes, regardless of the lighting conditions. The upgraded cameras ensure excellent detail, even with both bright and darker areas in a scene. For this application, several different telephoto and standard lens options are used depending on specific areas of the casino.

The third and final stage of the Foxwoods upgrade involved installation of approximately 238 IP cameras and cabling, and the expansion and testing of the DDN and Genetec systems. All work had to be performed in a 24/7 casino environment where unforeseen obstacles are an inherent reality.

Foxwoods’ upgrades were installed by Red Hawk Fire & Security based in Orange, Connecticut. Red Hawk General Manager for the Orange district office Dino Rocco manages the team of professionals experienced in the application and integration of electronic security systems.

“We began the phase three upgrade with the high stakes gaming area and moved on to the poker rooms completing the installation and testing and meeting deadlines for each section as we went along,” said Rocco.

GOOD TO BE FLEXIBLE

The installation schedule required extreme flexibility, so there was always a “Plan B” if, for any reason, the Red Hawk team was unable to access an area scheduled for installation.

“Foxwoods’ patrons are loyal and valued, and card players often want to play at specific tables,” Rocco said. “So, if they come in or if they happen to be playing at their table when we’re scheduled to do work, we would then move on to plan B and concentrate on another area.”

Since the work required the casino to close off sections of the gaming area with security officers present during installation and testing, the Red Hawk team had to work efficiently to bring in the Cat 6 cabling, place the cameras, install and test the RJ 11 jacks to certify the cables paired correctly.

“Some sections were bigger than others and some had more density where you could have 5,000 square feet to cover. It wasn’t unusual for us to have 25 or 30 cameras to complete in one area, sometimes over the course of a couple of days,” Rocco said. “In the last phase when we did the work on the Bingo Hall, the work needed to be done after hours, from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. We had to make sure we were in and out no later than eleven in the morning because that’s about when the buses started arriving with customers who wanted to play at their tables.”

A key component of the new digital surveillance upgrade was integrating the DDN Genetec system for storing and managing the vast amounts of video data to simplify the process of navigating video from multiple locations in and around the casino.

Everything came together seamlessly, expanding the depth of resort security at Foxwoods. Resort staff receives the security information they need quickly and accurately—providing both the surveillance department and resort guests with greater peace of mind.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Security Today.

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