Gaming Security
Gaming Security

Mar 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Access Control & Security Systems Integration

Out with the tube cameras and in with a whole new system - including new cameras, fewer VCRs and a multiplexer to tieit all together.Thousands of visitors each day flood through the doors of Resorts Casino Hotel - the oldest casino in Atlantic City, N.J., and one of the largest hotel and gaming operations in the eastern United States. It has 3,200 employees, a 70,000-square-foot casino floor space, more than 662 hotel rooms, restaurants, a theater, a nine-level self-park facility as well as other parking and outdoor areas. In the past, Resorts Casino relied on an aging CCTV system comprising 68 tube cameras connected to 13 video cassette recorders in a satellite control room nine floors above the main command center. The system suffered two major shortcomings: the lack of quality playback and the inconvenience of having to send security staff up nine stories to change tapes and check the system. An expansion made Resorts Casino executives realize the need to improve the security system. In May 1998, a system upgrade was begun by senior CCTV technician Brad Strouse. "We set out to design and install a state-of-the art system that could enable us to record all 192 of our cameras in limited space, without compromising video quality, especially on the playback side," Strouse says. The department also wanted to place all head-end recording equipment in the main operations center.Purchased through North American Video in Brick, N.J., the equipment includes 68 Sony SPTM-314 cameras; an Emcor Console with 10 Sony SSM-175 17-inch color monitors; a Sony video printer; and six Vision Factory Montage MTG-MD32 multiplexers. System design and installation was done in-house by Strouse and technician John Alvarez.Strouse says he chose Vision Factory's Montage Plus multiplexer because of playback quality and its ability to multiplex 32 cameras on one unit, giving it the ability to record 32 cameras on one VCR.Strouse says playback quality is key: "Minimizing loss in resolution and quality is important because it increases our chances of making positive identifications for crimes we don't witness firsthand."Resorts keeps the two 32-channel multiplexers in a satellite room upstairs and feeds the video to the main security center downstairs without adding cabling. "That was a great cost saver for us in terms of labor and it really worked out well," Strouse says. "I now have all our recording in the main security center, and we were able to pare down the number of VCRs. Additionally, each camera can be programmed as a motion detection alarm. Movement in restricted or closed areas is detected by the camera, which triggers an external alarm that tells the camera to come on and switch to a monitor in front of the system operator. Simultaneously, the multiplexer increases the VCR's recording rate- securing the best possible video record of the event, Strouse says. Resort Casino's security staff benefits from the mulitplexer system's flexible approach to screen configurations. Users may select any of the 32 cameras recording on a single VCR, monitor them live or review them later- in virtually any grouping - simultaneously on the same monitor. Strouse explains: "Each hotel floor has five cameras. The operator can select all five of those cameras and review them all at the same time on one (monitor) picture. In this way, logical groupings of camera views, say all elevators or external entrances, can be configured to enable operators to focus on locations that will give security personnel the most advanced notice and support. The multiplexers enable Resorts Casino Hotel to configure up to 12 logical groupings per 32-camera unit."Montage multiplexers can operate with a second multi-screen control monitor called a Superspot, which enables a second operator to use the system from another location. Resorts Casino has taken the Superspot outputs and run them into a quad unit and a dedicated alarm monitor. Each Superspot output has been programmed to act as the call-up monitor for incoming alarms. Motion alarms received by the Montage are reported to a dedicated alarm monitor. "As an operator sitting at the console, if there is a motion alarm that goes off, it's automatically called up in front of them on their alarm monitor," says Strouse.The Sony video printer is rack-mounted in the Emcor console, within reach of the security operators, so that anything that is seen on the monitor can be captured as a color "snapshot" print at the touch of a button. Snapshots can be taken either at the time of an incident, or can be stored in memory and printed out if necessary. The new system has boosted the morale and confidence of the staff, Strouse says. Improved picture quality helps operators interpret situations faster and more accurately, and they feel more secure when taking action because they know strong re-corded evidence is behind them.Strouse hopes to see more integration of surveillance systems that rely on technology to monitor large areas and put less demand on security staff. He also plans to replace VHS recorders with digital recording systems as they become more affordable.

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