Management systems solve compliance issues of multi-state gaming rules and regulations

Key Control

Management systems solve compliance issues of multi-state gaming rules and regulations

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.”

Sensitive Keys

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 and traceable.”

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.

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