Why Gamble with Your Casino Video Surveillance?


For a casino, constant threats of theft, hacking, and fraud from guests and employees are simply table stakes. The combination of high-volume visitor traffic and significant amounts of cash can create potential security nightmares, with the cards often stacked against the house.

These are only a few reasons why the gaming industry – already one of the largest users of video surveillance technology – continues to double down on security by investing in the latest technologies to protect facilities, employees, and guests.

A reliable security camera system gives gaming environments better odds of remaining profitable by deterring criminal activity and tracking activity patterns. Recent breakthroughs in digital imaging surveillance technology including facial recognition, artificial intelligence (AI) and audio/video analytics are adding even more tools to a casino’s security arsenal.

Video surveillance technology has changed dramatically since gaming was permitted in Nevada to entertain workers on the Hoover Dam project nearly a century ago. The gaming industry was among the first to adopt CCTV technology in the 1960s and 1970s, and casinos began mounting analog CCTV cameras to cover the gaming floor and surrounding areas such as restaurants, lounges, and lobbies – anyplace where criminal activity might occur.

On-site security personnel regularly noticed common behavioral patterns among offenders, cheaters, and fraudulent employees. However, before intelligent video solutions came along, taking action against such behaviors was more reactive than proactive.

Smart Video Surveillance – Creates Smarter Casinos

Casino security has progressed from pit bosses watching over the games with their own eyes to surveillance solutions using on-board analytics for enhanced monitoring – and for turning surveillance footage into actionable business intelligence.

Smart video surveillance involves integrating analytics effectively into an organization’s surveillance camera architecture, giving operators deeper insight into every aspect of their facility. Managers can decide where to place staff depending on visitor traffic patterns. Heat maps and flow patterns have the potential to distinguish where casino guests spend most of their time and how they move through the casino, allowing casino designers to optimize floor layouts for maximum guest engagement.

The role of on-board analytics will continue to expand as the gaming industry combines edge computing and AI with deep learning algorithms to achieve enhanced situational monitoring and search efficiency. The result is a range of smart surveillance applications, including object detection and the collection of attributes in the form of metadata.

A modern, well-designed AI video surveillance architecture consists of five main components: camera, recorder, network, monitoring, and analytics.

Most casinos today incorporate these five items to mitigate risk and enhance operational readiness. For example, with slot machines, one huge challenge is ensuring coverage of every machine on the casino floor. Working with an expert security consultant is crucial when it comes to deciding where to place the cameras and the type of cameras to install.

Casinos should look for cameras with enough flexibility to cover large areas with great detail and at high resolution, selecting capabilities such as 4K resolution or Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology for challenging lighting conditions.

Today, when you walk in most casinos you will see dozens, if not hundreds, of cameras overlooking the gaming floor. Not all cameras are necessarily up above. They can be strategically placed facing the slot machines or inserted in poker tables. Security departments are tasked with monitoring for any suspicious activity captured by the camera network. Fortunately, advancements in security technologies are making their job much easier.

Newer digital imaging technologies have AI capabilities that not only assist with table monitoring but can also detect blacklisted individuals through facial recognition or suspicious vehicles through license plate recognition. Facial recognition data on potential cheaters can also be shared with other gambling establishments and some technologies can even identify underage visitors, with staff notified to check the player’s ID. These advanced video analytics can be used as investigative tools in the event of a security incident.

Camera maintenance is essential to the 24/7 operation of a casino. If even one camera goes down over a game table, the casino is forced to shut down that table. If several cameras go down, they must close the entire floor, potentially losing thousands of dollars in revenue.

Casinos are regulated at either the state-level or by a tribal gaming authority. In many places where gaming is common, security cameras are now required by law to always track gaming tables and dealers. Consequently, casinos must keep a record of any incidents or violations recorded on video.

As one example of state-specific regulations, in the event of a complete power failure in a Colorado casino, all table games must be shut down until power is restored unless the establishment is equipped with a backup generator. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines. In addition, Colorado is requiring that all casinos have digital cameras in place by January 1, 2024. Analog cameras will no longer be allowed for all gaming activities.

The gambling capital of the United States – Las Vegas – is setting the pace, as the state of Nevada has set strict regulations on security operations for gaming facilities. For example, surveillance systems in casinos with annual gross gaming revenues of $15 million or more are required to be maintained and operated from a surveillance room.

This would not be possible without a Video Management System (VMS) that can integrate with hundreds of cameras simultaneously. Another Nevada regulation states that all Digital Video Recorder (DVR) equipment must be capable of recording at a minimum of 30 images per second, full screen, in real time; and the footage must be stored for at least seven days.

Using In-camera Analytics to Save On Video Storage

Every casino has to comply with strict retention requirements in part because forensic examination and maintaining a clear chain of custody are extremely important. For example, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Arizona has a one-week minimum retention rate with some cameras keeping video for 30 days. With more than 800 Hanwha Techwin cameras installed, the casino is required to store massive amounts of data. Currently, they have 500 terabytes (TB) of redundant ZFS-based network storage.

To reduce the amount needed for video surveillance footage, they use motion-based high/low recording to maximize storage. If no motion is detected in a frame, the camera is set up to record at lower quality and lower frame rates. If the camera detects motion, then the recording automatically shifts to high-quality mode.

All casinos want to create a carefree environment where guests can enjoy gambling in a safe environment. Smart casinos know that smart video surveillance technology is an important investment that will pay off significantly over time by reducing thefts, increasing traffic and, ultimately, increasing their revenues.

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About Hanwha Vision

Hanwha Vision (formerly Hanwha Techwin) has been leading the global video surveillance industry with world-class optical design, image processing and cybersecurity technologies for more than 30 years. As it broadens its business to become a global vision solution provider, Hanwha Vision will deliver more valuable and meaningful insights to customers by collecting key information and providing big data analytics utilizing AI and cloud technologies.

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