The Tulsa Creek Nation Casino is one of Oklahoma's premier gaming destinations. The casino, open around the clock and seven days a week, offers a unique brand of entertainment with an array of over 1400 casino games, including blackjack, poker, slot machines, and many others. With the completion of a $4.6 million expansion project in December 2005, the casino increased to a total size of 81,000 square feet. Creek Nation Casino has 650 employees, and over 300,000 visitors from 49 states pass through it doors each year.
The casino's outdated system of VCRs did not provide adequate search capabilities and video image quality was poor. The Creek Nation Gaming Board decided to upgrade to digital technology to meet state gaming authority recording and storage requirements. Casino management also wanted improved surveillance capabilities to better ensure customer safety and to have clear video evidence to solve gaming table disputes and potential liability claims. The gaming industry faces two major challenges not usually seen in other vertical market security installations: every square foot of space used for security is lost revenue, and each hour the casino is closed is money lost while customers visit competing casinos.
John Pritchard, then with the Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise (MNBE) Technology Services Group, led the team charged with researching and overseeing installation of a new, comprehensive digital video system upgrade.
For one year, the team evaluated more than 25 different systems before choosing the DVTel intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC). Creek Nation Casino chose the DVTel iSOC for three main reasons: superior network architecture, ease of installation, and a minimal system footprint. Pritchard commented, "With DVRs, we would have to reconstruct the entire surveillance room, the footprint would be too large, and installation was going to be very complicated and time consuming. With DVTel, the installation was very clean-we staged and pre-configured the system before taking it to the site. This was critical to saving time and money."
Installers offering competing systems proposed various lengths of time for casino shut down in order to accommodate installation. Casino management faced shutting their doors for up to seven days and they were not pleased at the prospect of so much lost business. Only DVTel proposed a solution that required not a minute of lost revenue and no customers experiencing competing casinos.
Because the DVTel iSOC could be installed while the casino continued to function around the clock, the Creek Nation Casino saved up $4.5 million in revenue. In addition to these savings, the casino was able to utilize existing analog equipment and the casino can replace these cameras and monitors as time and budget allow.
Initially, the network video management system comprised 420 cameras, covering the entire gaming area, all money-handling areas, ingress and egress points, and parking lots. Upon completion of the expansion project, the number of cameras increased to 550 and the casino was able to purchase licensing, storage, and archiving as needed.
To connect new and old cameras to both the current surveillance room and a back-up surveillance room, competing systems required 100 to 400 different cables-with DVTel it took one piece of fiber.
The iSOC's ease of use and superior functionality has improved operator productivity and overall casino security and responsiveness. Staff can find events quickly and review crisp, clear video for problem resolution. When needed, security personnel can copy images to CDs or other media and control the chain of custody. Video surveillance is used effectively to provide enhanced control at special events like boxing matches and concerts. Video is also used to monitor and train staff.
DVTel offered the scalability and flexibility the casino demanded: security can control each camera individually, varying CIF rates, frame rates, storage rates and the like. Pritchard again, "Unlike the competition, DVTel delivered exactly what they said they would."
The system offers live monitoring to client stations and incorporated legacy hardware with DVTel decoders to about 20 analog monitors. The iSOC incorporated keyboards from multiple manufacturers, so system operators and management could have the equipment each preferred, and no legacy equipment investment was lost.
For a casino operating 24/7 with large amounts of cash on hand at all times, system and network reliability are major concerns. Pritchard and team did not want to have 60-70 DVRs to maintain and risk part of the system going down. With DVTel network video recording, parts are kept in stock instead of having extra DVRs. Should an encoder go down, they need only replace that encoder which controls no more than eight cameras. To greatly minimize the chance of lost video, the casino maintains a fail-over operations centre with back-up servers that can pick up monitoring if the primary centre fails.