The things that make casinos so appealing to thrill-seekers are exactly the same things that put them at risk for events and incidents. Casinos are, at their core, places where people seek to have an experience and be entertained. Often this is achieved by playing games for money, sometimes lots of money. Casinos take great pride and responsibility to ensure the safety and security of their guests, employees, and assets, all while maintaining an environment of fun and excitement for the patron.
Video surveillance has long been regarded as a great way to provide security that doesn’t interfere with anyone’s enjoyment. In fact, video surveillance has become essential for keeping watch over the action and monitoring what happens on the casino floor for both guests and staff.
Increasingly, however, casinos are realizing that their non-unified DVR-based analog video management systems (VMS) no longer serve them as well as they once did. This outdated technology is holding them back and reducing the experience of their guests.
Specifically, in order to comply with gaming regulations and standards, casinos have had to accumulate more hardware for expanded coverage in sensitive areas. This, of course, has led to increased storage and facility costs, but not necessarily enhancing the detailed acuity needed in these areas. The aging video recording technology also keeps security personnel from acting swiftly in the case of urgent security breaches, including table fraud and the arrival of blacklisted patrons. Finally, this older DVR technology causes costly delays during investigative procedures, as operators have to undertake the time-consuming process of extended reviews of incidents to come to a timely consensus to help determine events. IP-based surveillance and storage, on the other hand, offers an expedited, irrefutable assessment of transpired events.
Increased Efficiency and Flexibility
To ensure better and more efficient security, casinos are making the switch to open platform, IP-based video surveillance systems. This move can represent a significant cost savings, because these systems run on fewer servers, condensing valuable space, electrical and HVAC costs on-site. An advanced IP surveillance solution is also flexible enough to allow casinos to reuse some of their existing hardware investments, including analog cameras and servers, and to seamlessly expand their system in the future using newer technologies.
A network-based solution provides security teams with advanced technology that allows them to respond faster to time-sensitive incidents and to investigate events more expeditiously. By using HD (1080p) resolution or greater, to monitor highly sensitive areas and critical access points, security teams are able to quickly look into incidents, identify customers who have been blacklisted, or discover patrons using lost or stolen club member cards.
Open IP-based VMS solutions also offer greater adaptability since there are multiple ways of undertaking different functionalities. For instance, security operators have the option to customize the system so that they can use either the mouse, keyboard, or a gaming joystick to control every camera’s pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ).
Ease and speed of reviewing both live and archived video is yet another important benefit of IP-based VMS. Having a single interface by which operators can pull up multiple cameras, their access control system and other area assets via a mapping tool can quickly determine the cause and detail of a situation. Simplifying complex, time consuming activities such as exporting of video or searching for other video evidence greatly improves response times allowing greater attention to the action on the gaming floor.
Security Systems beyond Video
Choosing an IP-based VMS with an open architecture can further improve casino security while providing a more satisfying gaming experience for patrons by supporting the integration of video surveillance with automatic license-plate recognition (ALPR), access control (ACS), and video analytics.
By extending security beyond the gaming floor to parking lots, casinos can use their open architecture VMS together with an ALPR system to manage the number of cars on the property. They can also use the integrated system to alert security personnel to the presence of habitual gamblers and black-listed guests by tracking the cars entering the parking lots. Casino staff can also create better gaming experiences for VIPs and high-stakes players by identifying these patrons even before they enter the premises.
Because of the large numbers of patrons and staff on the gaming floor and the amount of money involved, casinos must ensure that personnel have the right access to sensitive areas and that all areas are appropriately monitored and protected. Unifying video surveillance with ACS makes it easy for security personnel to effectively monitor and control access to hundreds of doors. Because a unified system displays cardholder pictures and credentials directly within video tiles, security staff are able to save time and quickly verify cardholder information from one central application instead of having to move back and forth between their VMS and ACS systems.
Improved Experience through Analytics
With an open-platform VMS, casinos can also extend their video surveillance to new software programs, including video analytics. Video analytics can greatly simplify investigative procedures by filtering out unnecessary data from the video stream and by allowing casino staff and security personnel to focus on only those elements of particular interest. Using this ‘fast-forward’ and ‘superimposed’ event review process, operators can reduce the time it takes to look for video events over a 24 hour time period to mere minutes.
To improve the experience of every visitor, many casinos are now integrating video surveillance with analytics to help gather and interpret the data from their video streams. The data can be used to track and analyze the movement of guests throughout the casino, showing the most popular locations on the floor as well as those areas where congestion occurs. Then, working with their findings, casinos can take action to increase activity in popular areas or improve the flow of foot-traffic on the casino floor.
No Gambling on Security
Video surveillance has always been an integral part of casino security. But, as casinos expand and regulations and standards become more stringent, security personnel are finding themselves ill-equipped to effectively and efficiently do their jobs. In order to ensure better security and provide great gaming experiences for their guests, casinos are turning to IP-based video solutions like Security Center from Genetec to reduce response times and future-proof their surveillance systems.
What’s more, by choosing an open architecture IP video solution like Security Center, casinos are able to standardize all security operations, including monitoring, reporting, retrieval, and review onto a single, unified platform. This standardization further reduces operational costs and allows operators to stay more productive by providing a complete picture of all aspects of a casino’s operations in one unified platform.