Native American Casinos Offer Unique Niche Market

Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, Ariz., includes more than 450 color cameras and more than 500 recorders. Casinos need high-resolution, color cameras to distinguish chips and currency.

Joseph Yost, director of electronic services for Gila River Gaming Enterprises, believes in the K.I.S.S. principle when designing a casino security system: Keep It Studpid, Simple.

“Our casino security systems are as basic as you can make them, even though they encompass a large amount of equipment,” concedes Yost. “The design is simple: Run the images from the camera to the recorder to the switcher and to the monitor.

“Perhaps that simplicity of design is what has enabled Yost and his crew to install what he claims is the largest security system ever installed by an in-house agency of a Native American casino. The Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, includes more than 300 color cameras and more than 500 recorders.

The installation is unique not only because of its size, but because Gila River Casinos performed the installation using its own crew. Dealer involvement was limited to providing the equipment, consulting and providing some technical advice. However, the dealer on the job, D&D Electronics in Fountain Hills, Ariz., specializes in casino jobs.

High-Resolution, Color Cameras Are Standard

It’s obvious why casinos need electronic security. The three-pronged risks of internal pilferage, customer theft and overall security of patrons dictates complete CCTV. And, of course, casinos are 24-hour-a-day operations.

The Wild Horse Pass casino, which is owned and operated by the Gila River Indian community, is due to open this summer. When completed, it will include 500 slot machines, including 24 video keno machines, six-station video craps and blackjack tables, and one five-station video roulette table. Also included are a 1,500-seat bingo hall, 50-table card lounge, 30-seat live keno room, a sports lounge, two delicatessens, a gift shop and a restaurant. The estimated weekly attendance is 50,000 for the casino and 5,500 for bingo. Ninety security guards and 12 emergency medical technicians are employed on-site.

“Ninety-five of the cameras we use are high-resolution color,” says Yost. These cameras are able to reproduce sharp images to allow surveillance personnel to distinguish chips and dollar bills, as well as clothing on suspicious characters. Yost says pan/tilt/zoom cameras are common.

In addition to the CCTV, the casino has a DSX Access Control Systems Inc. intrusion system with video badging. The access control limits access to key casino areas, such as the cash, counting and surveillance rooms. ASSI Security in Phoenix installed the system, which is inte-grated with the American Dynamics matrix switcher. Using the switcher, the surveillance staff can mobilize cameras to verify alarms reported by the access control system.

Case Study Review

System Installed in Case Study: A CCTV surveillance system at the Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, Ariz. The system includes 320 cameras and 512 recorders.

Installing Company: Gila River Casinos

Consulting Company: D&D Electronics

Years in Business: 9

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