Court Fines Casino Integrator $2.7M for Shoddy Installation

An Erie, Pa., casino’s suit against its security integrator provides a stark warning to enterprises evaluating system bids.

The casino, Presque Isle Downs, won a judgment of $2.7 million against integrator Dwayne Cooper Enterprises last month, on the grounds that the integrator not only overcharged Presque Isle Downs by $542,000 in equipment and $146,000 in labor costs, but that it also installed a faulty security system that the casino had to replace soon after it opened.

That faulty system, by the way, didn’t allow the casino to view live video. It also relied on consumer-grade hard drives that crashed after just a few days of operation, because they not designed to withstand the surveillance system’s 24-hours-a-day demand. Oh, and Dwayne Cooper didn’t supply half the cameras and power supplies it agreed to.

The integrator didn’t even answer the complaint, which is why the judge resolved the case so quickly. It’s almost understandable, given how shoddy of a system they installed.

When I initially wrote about this story, a commenter, Robert, wisely assessed the situation thusly: “You should have stopped when you stated that the security company was the low bidder. Too many commercial and government contracts insist on retaining the lower possible bidder, and 90 percent of the time the customer (end-user) usually gets the same as indicated in your article.”

Robert was right: This horror story should act as a warning to enterprises looking for security systems: Don’t automatically go with the lowest bidder. While not every lowest-bid installation is going to crash as Presque Isle Downs’ did, the lowest bidder is not always reliable. Neither is the highest bidder, for that matter, but quality security systems are worth their cost, as they protect even more valuable assets. Unfortunately, Presque Isle Downs had to learn this the hard way.

Posted by Laura Williams on May 25, 2011

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