Mon 17 Feb 2020
5 ways your casino’s security surveillance could be improved
Could you be due for a change to your casino security surveillance system? With exciting advances being made to surveillance products, which especially lend themselves to the casino industry, are you missing out on the most modern solutions? Could your job be made easier and more effective with an IP network or HD products?
If it’s been a long time since you reviewed your casino security system, it could be time for an update. Maybe you’ve done things the same way for a while and don’t know what capabilities new cameras have – this is very normal for many professionals who have worked in the casino industry for a long time. But did you know that you might no longer be meeting regulatory compliance with your existing solution?
If you think your casino security system is fine as it is, then hold on! Our article might offer you surprising insights into how you could improve your solution (and without an entire, pricey overhaul).
Purpose build your security surveillance system for a casino environment
It could be that when you first implemented your casino security system years ago, it wasn’t specifically designed or configured for a casino setting. It might have been created for a generic business which has, until now, served you just fine. Senior Sales Director for the Western USA and the Casino Vertical for North America, Jeff Swanson says:
A warehouse might be the same size as your casino, but they will likely be using that surveillance system more preventively and more reactionarily. So if an event happens – boxes go missing, a forklift crashes – it records those types of incidents.
But as technology evolves, your casino surveillance system may not now be providing the level of security cover you need in a modern-day casino environment. Jeff Swanson continues:
In the operation of surveillance for a casino, that footage needs to be live – and without latency. It needs to be a solution that’s very purpose built for that type of environment.
- Can your current product and manufacturer guarantee regulatory compliance?
- Is it an efficient, easy-to-use and purpose-built solution for your sector?
- Do you have 24/7 pro-active operation of your surveillance system?
Enable your live footage to be viewed in real time to improve reaction times
Does your casino security system have the horsepower and the speed to react fast to situations as they happen in your environment? If you know your casino surveillance cameras run through a server, you will experience lag when you view live video. When incidents occur, how fast can you make decisions about physical deployment or track a perpetrator through your casino? Jeff Swanson explains that:
Security needs to be dispatched to deal with an incident. So having a single camera surveillance system that can be multitasked into different requirements – such as the physical security department interfacing with cameras, and evidence to support the physical response of an incident – is the level of cover casinos need.
If you’re an operator who has control of the surveillance tools – whether that’s in a central control room or on the move – you need to be able to work in tandem with the security team being dispatched to the crisis area. The cameras and software you’re using need to have fast, real-time functionality.
- Does your system generate the video over a network or through a server?
- Are you able to coordinate a synchronized process when responding to incidents?
- Is time ever wasted during the decision-making process when an incident occurs?
Choose a system which serves both control room and roaming security teams
Do you have the option to view live footage via a network, allowing you to watch cameras ‘on the go’ from any location, and any device? Or can you only access video from a fixed position, such as a control room? In our modern, mobile world, working from a single location – especially when covering a large and busy area such as a casino – isn’t a practical solution.
Casino surveillance operators don’t want to be confined to one location, but have the freedom and flexibility to roam your environment with full access to multiple cameras, as well as enjoy the security of a control center. Jeff Swanson explains the common format casinos follow in their security teams:
You have a physical surveillance layer – who are in a control room with access to all of the video feeds across the casino resort. Then you have a physical security team, who are the traditional security personnel roaming and guarding certain environments – they have more ability to respond to the guests and customers.
- Does your solution serve both your physical casino surveillance layer and a roaming security team?
- How well can these teams work together with your existing solution?
- Do you have the flexibility to give both teams access to live footage?
Monitor every angle of your casino, from the tables to the back of house
Casinos are a huge area to monitor – not only do the slot machines, gaming tables and front of house transactions need surveillance, but the back-end cash handling needs coverage, too. Can you monitor the environment of the cashiers that deal with cash, transactions of chips to cash, and cashed chips? Do you also have cover in the locations where staff count money and make accounting efforts good? Jeff Swanson says:
You need to be able to look at how you take the money out of the different types of gambling slot machines, versus how to take the money out of the boxes that you store them in when a customer cashes money, and possibly at the actual physical table of play.
Because so much cash handling and exchange occurs in casinos, it makes them vulnerable places for misdemeanors and errors to happen. Whether through genuine intent or accidental mishandling, you need to feel confident that your cameras are able to capture the most subtle of actions. You also want to be able to learn and adapt processes as a result of the footage you gather, so it needs to be of high quality.
- Can you adapt internal processes, such as money handling, according to your casino’s personal needs?
- Can you see through crowds to individual tables?
- Are your casino surveillance cameras able to run at 1fps when nothing is happening then jump to 30fps when something does occur?
Find video evidence for police use quickly
How easily are you able to pinpoint a specific piece of footage at speed for in-house use, or to help authorities, such as the police? With traditional, analog systems, trawling through hours of footage to find a specific piece of evidence can be one of the more gruelling and frustrating sides of working in casino surveillance.
A newer solution can export up to eight hours of video at two megapixels, 30 frames per second, within two minutes. How does that compare to your existing speed? How fast are you currently able to help authorities build a picture of what happened when an incident occurs? Jeff Swanson says:
If you look at how many times the operator or the casino organization needs to use or reproduce the evidence that is being stored digitally on their network video recorder, the frequency is very high. This is a major operation inside the surveillance room – exporting the physical media that will form a case situation or claim.
If this is a repeatable process which is costing your business – and an investigation – time and money, it might be time to think about the surveillance changes you could make at your casino.
- Can you afford to be using outdated methods that cause delays?
- Are authorities able to rely on you as a source of high-quality, speedy evidence?
- Can you store the volume of footage you need to on your network video recorder?
If your casino security system doesn’t help you do all of these things, you might be due for an update. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but you might want to consider the quickest, and most affordable options to start with, which will make a big impact. Your obligation as a casino surveillance operator is to keep guests and the business safe – are you doing that to the highest of your ability with your existing solution?