Management systems solve compliance issues of multi-state gaming rules and regulations
- By Del V. Salvi
- Dec 23, 2013
In the American casino industry, the name 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 whollyowned
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 this 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 at Boyd Gaming, a unified, enterprise-wide key control solution
from Morse Watchmans, individually tailored to meet gaming regulations in each
of the states where Boyd Gaming 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. Because of that, we don’t have to over buy.”
Critical to the business environment, Morse Watchmans stays current with the
various rules and regulations to ensure that its products meet 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 for this requirement, the cabinet was programmed to store
and allow access for sensitive keys only, rather than the standard random key return
feature that allows the return of any key to any open slot in the cabinet. 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 for key inventory and replacement,
broken or damaged keys, and records or incident reporting. Data generated by the
system is used to create an audit trail of incidents and follow-up actions throughout
Boyd Gaming properties. As Tankersley explained, 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 to take action. Management of the incident—exception,
justification, resolution—is then tracked with specialized incident reporting
software that generates reports for auditors.
“We have to produce incident reports that show key usage and illegal door
and alarm activity, covering a 90-day period,” Tankersley said. “With the data
from our key control system, it all ties together and is reportable, retrievable
Authorized Staff Only
Key control cabinets located throughout the various Boyd Gaming properties are
accessed by authorized staff 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 nature of business in a casino,
large sums of money, and accompanying rules and
restrictions pertaining to key control and management,
Boyd Gaming uses 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,” for example, the system is
programmed to specify which three departments are authorized to provide the
signatures. All three signatures must be from the three designated departments in
order to access the key cabinet.
“The system enforces control both by department and by key,” Tankersley said.
“It’s very solid, and no one can violate it or bypass the system.”
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. Tankersley points out that those original systems
are still working but are gradually being replaced, so they can take advantage of
the many new features that have been introduced. As proof of their durability, she
cites a system installed at the Louisiana property that survived Hurricane Katrina
with no damage.
“As we expand, we are picking up quite a bit of what was manual,” Tankersley
said. “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.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Security Today.