Case Study: Soaring Eagle Casino Combats Fraud, Optimizes Business Operations

The Customer

Spanning 210,000 square feet of table games, poker, slot machines and bingo, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich., is owned by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and serves as a retreat for visitors who are looking to experience relaxation and entertainment. The safety and security of guests, and employees are paramount to the tribe, and with 24/7 operations, officials needed comprehensive surveillance of the entire gaming floor.

The Challenge

Nothing says gaming like the bright lights and large casinos of Las Vegas, so when Anthony Clark, Surveillance Director for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, was looking to upgrade Soaring Eagle Casino’s surveillance system, he patterned the move after those adopted by MGM Resorts International. “Ted Whiting from MGM was instrumental in our decision to putting our current system in place, and he spoke highly of the technology that Oncam produces,” Clark said.

Soaring Eagle Casino sought out a complete security solution that would allow operators to track an individual easily in the event of an incident. Additionally, the casino wanted the ability to add analytics capabilities to streamline business operations, manage traffic on the casino floor, and assist with marketing and promotions. This multi-department collaborative approach increases return-on-investment and the overall value of the system.

The Solution

Clark discovered Oncam through a video that featured the use of the company’s 360-degree video surveillance cameras in the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. “I could see that tracking was so much easier, and the views from the cameras resulted in more cost-effective investments,” Clark said.

Working with integrator North American Video, a gaming-focused security and surveillance integrator, Soaring Eagle Casino identified several locations where the 360-degree coverage would render most beneficial for operators, including across the main gaming floor area and covered passageways that are heavily utilized. The casino installed 12 Evolution 05 indoor cameras, replacing multiple pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) devices with the 360-degree systems, which are designed for quick and easy indoor installations through a lightweight professional enclosure.

The EVO-05 contains a 5MP sensor that offers HD resolution and a video stream of up to 30fps, which provides Clark and his team with smooth tracking capabilities while maintaining high-quality images that the casino requires for forensic evidence.

The Results

“Every year, we look for a more cost-effective way to find more coverage without the additional cost,” Clark said. “Oncam was by far the best quality for the price, and that’s just one of the many reasons we chose them.”

One single 360-degree camera can replace between four and five narrow field of view cameras, reducing overall system cost. “The investment in the 360-degree technology was cost-effective because of the number of inputs we replaced, as well as the quality of video for tracking purposes,” Clark said. “The camera enclosures are small, and this is a covert option that looks like any other smoke detector that someone would have on their gaming floor.”

Installation of the Oncam technology was streamlined, and Clark said it was truly a “plug and play solution,” since the EVO-05 doesn’t require lens focusing. The EVO-05 also has no moving parts, so it requires no ongoing maintenance, which can significantly decrease the cost of ownership of the cameras.  

Clark also looked at Oncam’s ability to integrate with the video management system (VMS) that was already in use, which was the same one implemented in the Aria installation. Oncam partners with a large number of VMS manufacturers that can integrate easily with Oncam’s 360-degree camera technology through the ONVIF Profile S global standard for IP-based physical security products, which ensures interoperability between products regardless of manufacturer.

The installation of the 360-degree cameras helped the casino augment its security operations, giving operators the ability to use both the 360-degree cameras and the existing PTZ cameras to track persons of interest. Clark also uses the video data to target theft and fraud, which are significant challenges in a gaming environment.

Clark hopes to see a large return on investment with the implementation of the panoramic cameras and said the casino has already used the cameras to catch a theft in progress and return a customer’s property. “Along with the security aspect, we are able to serve our customers and achieve better satisfaction by simply having these cameras in place,” he said.

Investigators and management are the primary users of the solution and are “on the front line and working with the system on a daily basis,” according to Clark. Soaring Eagle will begin implementing the system in its parking areas. “We are looking to the Oncam solution to augment the security in our parking lots and garages to have maximum coverage in a large area,” Clark said. “We’re also looking at the possibility of implementing the Oncam in our hotels to increase safety, and address asset protection and risk management.”

The casino plans on adding a significant number of Oncam’s 360-degree cameras to cover food and beverage outlets, and retail shops. Clark also said the casino would begin to implement analytics software to analyze the video data captured by the Oncam cameras. “We hope to use analytics to tell us how many people are in a given area, and provide the marketing and promotions department with this valuable data,” Clark said. “We want to be able to see that there is a specific area that attracts a specific demographic, and then the marketing department can capitalize on that information and target promotions in that area.”


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