How to Successfully Complete a Multiphase Casino Surveillance Project

Learn from integrator Surveillance Systems Inc.’s extensive solution how to reap rewards in the high-stakes gaming vertical.

How to Successfully Complete a Multiphase Casino Surveillance Project

Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino was the first of three Seneca gaming facilities that Surveillance Systems Inc. upgraded.

Planning, Market Experience Pay Dividends

SSI project manager Corey Shugart is supervising all three projects. He temporarily relocated to upstate New York for more than half of a year, Flowers notes, so he could deploy each of the three systems in order.

“Having the same experienced PM deploying all three systems results in the highest possible level of communication and coordination with the client,” Flowers says. On the customer side, SSI’s main contact for all three projects is the Chad Jemison, IT director for Seneca Nation.

SSI coordinated for months with Jemison and his technical team on the projects to ensure onsite deployment was flawless, Flowers says.

The Mirasys system dramatically reduced the rack footprint and consolidated the entire system, including core network, in two racks. The project includes migrating 1,000+ cameras.

“Having worked with Chad and his team for many years, including on their large Buffalo casino system upgrade, we knew what was important to the customer and how the SSI installation team needed to approach the project,” he adds.

That experience paid off in all facets of this project, for which SSI needed to meet a slew of codes and requirements, not to mention endure less-than-ideal working conditions as the casinos either 24/7 or closed only in the wee morning hours.

“Most of the work is done in back-of-house areas, but many hours are spent installing cameras on an operating and open gaming floor surrounded by patrons,” Flowers says. “Not only do we need to limit disruptions to daily operations, but techs must maintain a high level of professionalism and decorum while in front of casino patrons.”

Hundreds of hours of design and pre-installation planning was conducted that enabled the SSI team to hit the ground running, Flowers adds. It’s a vital part of the process when working in this demanding industry.

The casino market is one of the most regulated industries, Flowers says. Casinos must adhere to strict guidelines that include video coverage, proper retention of video, and quality video for forensic analysis purposes. The extensive surveillance keeps watch on several areas of the properties, from gaming floors to financial areas to back-of-house areas, Coble says.

“The casino’s existing security system must continue to operate in its full capacity while we install the new system. We’re not able to bring the existing system offline until the new system is approved and functioning 100%,” Flowers explains. “Keep in mind that the casino is operational during this several-week period. If the existing system goes down during the ‘cutover’ process then the casino must close, which would result in potential losses of hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars.”

According to Coble, the new surveillance system had to meet all requirements laid out in the New York State Gaming Compact with Seneca Nation and National Indian Gaming Commission’s tribal and minimum internal control standards.

Video Quality, System Features Lauded

As the multiphase project continues into the third stage this year, Seneca Nation gets to reap more benefits from its new surveillance setup. Both customer and integrator praise the sophisticated but easy-to-use VMS, whose advantages go beyond video.

“The new Mirasys/DDN system has a minimal footprint in our MDF allowing for better airflow and cooler temperatures,” Coble says. “It has also proven to be very user friendly when any work is required. The installation was the cleanest install I can ever remember seeing.”

Coble says the Mirasys system features help deliver quicker video reviews to help operators in their efforts to catch thieves or assist law enforcement and the casino in keeping certain guests away from the facility.

(left to right) SSI’s Austin Flowers and Seneca Gaming Authority’s Ryan Coble appreciate the mutual benefits of a trusting integrator-client relationship in demanding markets such as the casino and gaming industry.

That list of unwanteds includes known cheaters and problem gamblers. New York State requires casinos to maintain a “self-exclusion” list for addicted gamblers, Flowers explains. If an individual comes into the property, the casino is required by law to escort the individual off property immediately.

“Without sufficient video quality, the identification wouldn’t be possible,” he says. “Operators are required to create case reports for any and all incidents on the property. This includes exporting sensitive video to be retained for regularity and legal purposes. The exporting process was much more time-intensive with their old system. Mirasys significantly speeds up video exports and allows operators to create ‘storyboard exports,’ a feature that Mirasys specifically wrote for their system at the request of casino clients.”

Flowers adds that minor software issues that have arisen following the installations have been immediately addressed by SSI technicians and Mirasys. The close attention SSI has maintained with the customer, plus the market knowledge and project professionalism displayed, has impressed Seneca Nation. Chances seem good for the integrator to parlay these winnings into another casino upgrade in upstate New York.

“SSI has been an asset to our operations. They bring a value that is backed up by knowledgeable staff, customer support that puts the customer first, and an inviting, friendly, and no-pressure atmosphere,” says Jemison. “They may be based across the country, but it feels like they’re local, which is a testament to them keeping that credo. That kind of relationship is rare.”

About the Author

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Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines.

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