Security Magazine

Business Needs Drive Technology Solutions in the Casino Environment

October 11, 2011

Video surveillance plays a crucial role in the gaming industry and is governed by rules and regulations established to preserve the integrity of the gaming activities. These regulations, established by state agencies, set stringent specifications for the monitoring of gambling businesses and the performance of the surveillance function. But now, with increasing regularity hospitality management can tap into these video and security resources to help enhance business and operational systems throughout the entire property.

The trend toward increased usage of the casino’s video surveillance and security system outside its specific purpose is ultimately driven by the ongoing need to improve profitability. Surveillance can contribute to this objective in a number of ways beyond the security function. For example, video from slot machines and table games can be analyzed – complete with detailed data from the specific gaming sites – to help improve customer service, dealer behavior or table placement. Images can also be studied for ways to streamline operations and enhance the player and dealer experience. Specific video scenes can be used for training purposes in new employee orientation.

Utilizing casino security systems that incorporate license plate recognition technology is another way in which technology usage is business driven. License plates might be compared against the casino’s customer database and an alert is created when it’s recognized that a VIP has entered the property, allowing casino personnel to greet and escort the VIP. In addition to a strengthened security level, smart access technology such as license plate recognition software automates a labor intensive procedure and delivers tangibly lower operating costs while building enhanced customer relations.

In another trend, people counting technology can be used to analyze traffic patterns, allowing casino management to assess the suitability of food and beverage locations, retail stores and even ATM machines. These kinds of business strategies, based on data gained from video analytics, can help casino management schedule staff more efficiently, improve measurement of marketing and promotional activities and potentially generate more revenue from casino guests.

Custom designs and integration of disparate security technologies are not a new phenomenon, however increasingly today new integration requirements are being driven by expanded business requirements based on technology. For example, in the food and beverage areas, POS (point-of-sale) software can provide exception reporting (i.e. voids, no sales, refunds, discounts, manager comps, etc.), synched with video images, to allow operators to review transactions that may be questionable. In another example, the POS system and the access control system can be integrated with the matrix system to work intelligently with the DVR/NVR system. These design enhancements give casino management increased capability and control. It can also allow the system operator to carry out all functions of the job without having to move from one station to another. System integration can also encompass fire and intrusion detection systems, asset tracking systems, HVAC, elevator and other intelligent building systems.

In general, new features such as improved image quality from megapixel and HD cameras, wider viewing ranges from 360° cameras, digital archiving with increased storage capability (i.e. RAID) and instant access with point and click video retrieval have made the casino’s video surveillance and security systems more effective and financially efficient. As many of these products are network capable, the trend toward a holistic approach to control and management is taking root. Using advanced management and control software, video and data from the casino’s cameras, NVRs, analytics, POS, license plate systems, access control and other security systems can be networked for overall control.

The gaming industry’s growing acceptance utilizing the casino’s video surveillance and security system for other business operations will continue to spread as advances in technology demonstrate improved overall performance, confirmed ROI and proven solutions for business needs.