Double Down on Casino Security
Strobe, LED and dim lighting can’t deter network cameras from their appointed tasks at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa
- By Steve Darragh
- Mar 01, 2019
Like many gaming venues, the lighting scheme at the
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Oklahoma focuses
on creating an atmosphere of fun and excitement.
While this works well for attracting patrons, it
presented challenges for nearly 2,000 analog surveillance
cameras trying to protect the property. With up to thousands of
people enjoying more than 2,600 electronic games, 40 table games, a
poker room and a concert venue on any given day, the casino realized
it needed more advanced IP-based cameras specifically designed to
cope with the challenges of a casino environment.
Casino Lighting Compromised
“Implementing a new system allows us to better meet the operational
needs of the property,” said John Underwood, surveillance technology
manager for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. “Some of
the bars and nightclub areas are very dimly lit. The concert and entertainment
areas use strobes and spotlights during shows. Some of
the gaming machines have LED lights that twinkle; some have really
bright strobe lights on top. Our analog cameras were not giving us the
clarity we wanted or expected with the advancement of technology.”
The overhead lighting was washing out the video. In the parking
lots, flashing emergency lights from first responders, vehicle headlights
and exterior floodlights resulted in a blur.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa decided it was time to turn the
tables on surveillance footage. The surveillance team began a secondary
build out of network cameras capable of compensating for any
lighting condition while delivering exceptionally high-quality recordings
of every casino activity. When the new system was completely
installed, they simply turned off the live view of the old system and
began running the new one.
“We never had to shut anything down during the switchover,” Underwood
said. “And we have the flexibility to gradually remove the
old cameras during off hours.”
The House Outsmarts
Scammers with Cameras
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa has had its fair share of people
looking to make an easy buck. Thanks to the cameras, the venue is
able to proactively and reactively respond to people displaying inappropriate
Network cameras in the cashier area deliver such clarity that it is
easy to distinguish between bill denominations. In the parking lot,
cameras help to provide evidentiary quality video even with ambulances
and patrol cars flashing their lights. The auto-tracking and
auto-touring options in many of the cameras provide added safety to
staff and guests when the parking areas are less active.
In the food service areas, the casino uses network cameras to
monitor safety and food preparations. The ultra-discreet fixed mini
dome provides a 360-degree panoramic view.
“Because of the wide field of view, we can use fewer cameras and
still feel confident that we’re able to document any type of misconduct
or accident,” Underwood said. “It allows us to be proactive in
any litigation that might arise.”
Additional cameras in the warehouse are used to verify that the incoming
palettes match the quantity of product listed on the bill of lading.
Underwood’s team installed the cameras in horizontal mode to monitor
the dock doors and in Corridor Format to look down the warehouse
racks where product is pulled and distributed to different departments.
The casino also uses cameras in its food and beverage department,
tying video to the live ticketing at the point of sale.
“This helps us track whether employees are providing the right
discount to guests or ringing up discounts they shouldn’t,” Underwood
said. “It also shows us whether the product being delivered is
actually what’s being rung up.”
In some instances, the casino also uses the cameras’ two-way audio
capabilities to up the surveillance ante. One primary location is
the cashier area where interactions with customers can be monitored for threats or misconduct.
Insight Over the Entire Operation
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa has expanded its use of camera
footage beyond safety and loss prevention. With the advent of video
analytics such as heat mapping, the surveillance team is able to share
valuable insights about prime real estate within the casino.
“We can show the marketing department, gaming department or
the food service teams where people are congregating most frequently,
where foot traffic tends to bottleneck,” Underwood said.
Having hard data at their fingers allows the casino to make betterinformed
decisions about where to place new food venues or retail
shops, or when to reconfigure floor layouts to ease congestion.
“The business intelligence they get out of the video helps them
plan more objectively and more logically than
they might otherwise have by just basing their
decisions on a walk-through of the casino,” Underwood
said. “So they can use the information
to help grow our overall business.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Security Today.