Compliance regulations in the gaming industry are among the most stringent of all businesses. For security personnel in the casino business, selecting, deploying and maintaining a surveillance system that satisfies all the regulatory requirements is a complex process, and success depends greatly on the knowledge, experience and agility of the integrator. Regulations differ in the market depending on geographic location and the specific type of gaming establishment being operated. In many cases, technology that is offered by security providers may not line up perfectly with the requirements of the laws.
An Individualized Approach
Because there is such diversity in regulations, each casino deployment demands an individualized approach. Tribal gaming is unique in that standards are often established by individual tribal entities, and they may vary from one property to the next. Each tribe has unique challenges they are faced with; the surveillance system that meets their aspirations may include functions and features that go beyond NIGA standards to keep them within their tribe’s compliance. It is the responsibility of the integrator to become familiar with these in order to meet the needs of that tribe’s installations.
One tribal entity may require 30 days retention of recorded video while another requires only 7 days. When systems are replaced, some stipulate a requirement for parallel recording where both systems operate simultaneously until the new system has been proven. It is up to the integrator to meet the technical challenges of keeping the casino fully operational and open for business during the migration of one system to the next.
Creating, Changing and Interpreting Gaming Regulations
For all areas of gaming, regulations are created and changed on the government’s schedule, which does not necessarily align with the development timing of surveillance technology. This can create some interesting situations. Sometimes product capabilities jump ahead of regulations that are written, based on older technology, and it is up to the integrator to help educate those involved when the actual need may be better met by products that are not officially within compliance.
For example, in a recent installation of a new casino, local compliance required two cameras per poker table. Historically, two analog cameras would be needed to capture the entire table; however, we know from experience that a single, 1080p, IP megapixel camera is capable of capturing the desired shot on its own. In order to prove performance to the state regulators, we conducted a “mock up” in our local facility of a poker table utilizing one of the recommended megapixel cameras and gave them a demonstration. Once they witnessed proof of performance, we were permitted to open that casino with only one camera per table, ultimately offering a value alternative that helped save the casino money within their surveillance budget.
In other situations, we have made that same type of demonstration to show that the image quality output of 30 frames-per-second, mandated in the majority of regulations, can be surpassed by megapixel cameras offering a reduced frame rate while delivering a far superior picture.
Still, integrators are trying work with customers to interpret the regulations to meet surveillance needs while utilizing best-in-class technology to fit each budget and help the customer gain the best “bang for their buck.” When we can show a customer that they can purchase one camera instead of two, we are helping provide them with surplus funds to utilize in other ways to gain the most from their surveillance system.
New Technology for New Regulations
For veteran experts in this industry, educating customers on technology is an important part of what we do. In the earlier days of IP video it was thought that IP was less secure than analog. It has taken some time, but over the last few years, regulations have slowly changed, and now we are seeing more IP adoption.
The next technology we are presenting is high-definition, megapixel cameras along with panoramic cameras, and as mentioned earlier, demonstrating the great value that these provide. Regulations will continue to follow technology, and in time, the majority of casinos will follow suit.
All these different sets of regulations and the different ways that they can be addressed by fast-evolving technology definitely form a barrier to entry for integrators who attempt to penetrate the gaming market. When beginning a new gaming project, whether it’s corporate, state or tribal, we must ensure that we are in full understanding of the regulations and parameters of that specific case. The information is constantly changing on the technology side as well as the compliance side, and it is up to us to provide expert guidance to our customers.
New regulations can often be addressed through technology, rather than having to replace equipment and this is another area where integrators can provide guidance through expertise. For example, a recent regulation change requires video recording of any credit card swipe to be stored for 90 days. Integrators can help the client save time and cost by making changes in user access permissions via software settings, instead of selling a new solution to accommodate an immediate and urgent requirement.
There are many different types of casinos and in turn, multiple sets of rules – all of which are changing constantly in tandem with the technology available to address them. For integrators, specializing in gaming requires both dedication to maintaining expertise and commitment to giving our customers the best possible solution.