Phased-In Black Oak Casino Resort Project Set on Stunning Video Surveillance

Find out how Surveillance Systems Integration helped upgrade the video system at Black Oak Casino Resort.

In beautiful Tuolumne, Calif., set in the scenic foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, sits the Black Oak Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians. Greeting guests with the traditional native welcome of “M-Chucksus!”, the Black Oak Casino Resort provides 164,000+ square feet of gaming and entertainment options. This includes a conference event center, reel and video slot machines, table games, poker, nine restaurants and bars, a bowling center, players club, gift shop, and a kids’ arcade. In addition, the Willow Creek Lounge hosts live entertainment three nights a week and the casino features the state’s largest smoke-free gaming area. “We aim to offer our guests a re-sort destination for the whole family,” says Edewaa Ti Foster, commissioner and vice chair of the Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribal Gaming Agency.

Providing an environment where there are activities for all age levels, protecting the physical safety of its patrons, employees and others in the gaming facility as well safeguarding assets that are associated with the facility is not an easy task. Therefore, the type of video surveillance security employed at the Black Oak Casino Resort, which was established in 2001, becomes a top priority. The casino’s stakeholders recently decided it was time to upgrade its existing surveillance system to keep up with the changing needs of its facilities.

“With a property as large as the Black Oak Casino Resort and with so many various activities, keeping an eye on assets and balancing that with creating a safe environment is definitely a challenge,” says Surveillance Systems Integration President Todd Flowers. The Roseville, Calif.-based integrator specializes in providing such solutions to the gaming industry and was subsequently selected to update Black Oak’s surveillance security.

“The surveillance system we had just felt dated, and we kept hearing about newer technologies, like full virtual matrix systems that could handle the volume of network traffic that is usually associated with such high-resolution images that the latest security surveillance cameras provide,” says Foster. “We selected Surveillance Systems Integration because we knew we needed a partner that could help guide us through the new technology, make recommendations, and work on our project in phases to avoid causing any disruptions in the services.”

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“Working with the Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribal Gaming Agency, we could immediately see how the property could benefit from an upgrade,” says Flowers. “That would include a new video management system as well as cameras, servers and a new control center to be more efficient in covering the onsite casino hotel and gaming floor, and eventually expanding to the exterior sites, such as the parking lots.”

400+ HD Cameras, Virtual Video Matrix Deployed

The primary goals for the Black Oak Casino Resort were to switch to high-definition cameras, enhance the virtual matrix capability, and implement a migration strategy and the equipment to upgrade to a full IP-based system. And the transition needed to occur in a way that would be easy for the security staff to adopt. The initial project was to be done in phases over a period of 15 months.

“We started with replacing the existing standard-definition analog cameras with over 400 new high-definition [HD] fixed cameras, along with HD, 1080p p/t/z [pan/tilt/zoom] dome cameras,” says Flowers. He says the specific models deployed were Pelco’s Spectra HD and Sarix Surevision 3.1-megapixel cameras.

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The HD cameras offer security surveillance employees and law enforcement officers superior access and use of video surveillance, with more detail and wider coverage, especially helpful for video review and identification purposes. Although HD images are larger and would naturally take more bandwidth, and possibly clog up the IT infrastructure, there have been advancements in the handling of IP-based data streams. Unique data routing protocols and advanced codecs, like H.264, are able to compress the video and audio for transmission with significantly less bandwidth burden.

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