Security teams at casinos and gaming facilities are challenged daily to balance a welcoming and guest-focused attitude with a firm and capable presence to prevent and handle security issues, manage surveillance and security systems, and protect employees, guests, and assets. And all of this needs to be accomplished while complying with strict gaming regulations.

An experienced security systems integrator can assist you with many of those challenges, including the very important job of ensuring that the correct security technologies are integrated and installed correctly to avoid downtime and maintain regulatory compliance.

On the flip side, partnering with the wrong security integrator can be an expensive lesson with disastrous financial consequences due to system interruptions that can shut down gaming operations. However, selecting the right security systems integrator is not always an easy task.

To get the answers you need, you need to ask the right questions. Here’s a list of criteria to help get the search process started.

It’s vital to hire a systems integrator who has significant experience in the gaming and casino industry

1. Relevant and proven industry experience

This may be one of the most important factors for you to research. It’s vital to hire a systems integrator who has significant experience in the gaming and casino industry.

You wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your roof or a chef to repair your car, so why consider hiring an integrator without relevant work experience in your specific industry?

Does the integrator have experience working with security solutions for casinos and gaming facilities similar to your facility? Have they worked with gaming commissions in your state? Do they have the gaming certifications necessary to ensure your new system is in compliance?

And what specific projects have they done – with references you can contact? Even more, look for a systems integrator who has strong relationships with contractors, suppliers, unions and equipment suppliers, as they may need to call on them for assistance during the course of your installation.

2. Security systems knowledge

Security technologies are evolving at an unprecedented pace which presents obvious advantages and some hidden dangers. It’s important that you select a systems integrator who not only installs products well – but also works very closely with equipment and software manufacturers to develop new and innovative solutions for the most challenging installations.It’s also important to ask about their procedures and processes for after-hours emergency situations

Look for systems integrators that utilise integration and testing facilities to evaluate which system configuration and specific components meet your functionality needs, lighting challenges, resolution and frame rate requirements, and recording accuracy demands to ensure your system provides you with the highest levels of identification while maintaining regulatory compliance.

Since no two systems are ever alike, it’s also important to look for custom integration capabilities employing solutions from different manufacturers to ensure you are getting the best possible solution on an application by application basis.

3. Brand loyalty versus conflicts of interest

There’s no doubt that security professionals have their preferred brands. This can be based on prior experience, proven reliability, superior customer support, or even personal relationships. But it’s also no secret that price and sometimes spiffs can play a deciding role on which products a reseller recommends.

Be specific to ask questions about the systems integrator’s line card – which manufacturers’ products do they actually represent and why? And how do they select specific products for specific applications?

If the answers to these simple questions seem vague, there may be more at play than meets the eye. The more choices a system integrator has at their disposal, the higher the probability they are providing the best system products and configurations for your specific installation.

4. Accelerating resolutions

How is the integrator’s firm structured? How long have they been in business? Who will be your daily contact? How long have members of the integrator’s team been with the firm? What experience do they have?

It’s also important to ask about their procedures and processes for after-hours emergency situations, as you will likely need service after normal business hours. Find out if they offer on-demand remote system support to address problems immediately, and to accelerate resolutions if and when there is a failure.

It’s important to assure the system integrator’s organisational structure meshes well with your general requirements before starting a relationship
The more choices a system integrator has at their disposal, the higher the probability they are providing the best system products and configurations for your specific installation

Most importantly, verify that they have technicians who can get to your physical location quickly in the event problems need to be addressed physically in order to keep your property in compliance.

Even though it can be overlooked, it’s important to assure the system integrator’s organisational structure meshes well with your general requirements before starting a relationship.

5. Pricing structure

Of course, price is important, but while an integrator’s pricing should be competitive, it should be viewed as one of many selection criteria.An experienced systems integrator with casinos and gaming facilities will understand local, state, federal, and tribal regulations

A security systems integrator with a proven track record of successfully configuring, installing, and servicing projects like yours, on time and on budget, is worth more than the small amount of money you might save by going with a low-cost integrator.

6. Knowledge of gaming regulations

A systems integrator who has experience working with casinos and gaming facilities will understand local, state, federal, and tribal regulations, and will provide you with a gaming surveillance and security solution that minimises disruptions to your operations during its installation and after your new system has been implemented.

Along with the requirement standards of performance, quality and reliability, compliance is critical to ensure fluid gaming operations.

7. Adding value with industry references

Industry references are invaluable in determining your ideal choice. First, ask them to provide client contacts from their reference list, and contact those individuals. Questions to ask include:

  • Did the integrator clearly understand the reference’s requirements?
  • How did they contribute to the solution?
  • What challenges did they need to overcome?
  • Did the company deliver on time and on budget?
  • How has the system(s) been operating since implemented?
  • How has their support been?
  • Why would you recommend them?

A good security systems integrator will take extra steps to ensure your security solution is always working

8. Asking the right questions

There are very few security systems integrators who can address all of a casino’s or gaming facility’s needs, but they do exist, and you’ll find them if you do your homework. Look for an integrator that can add value and not just take direction.

A good security systems integrator will volunteer ideas to reduce maintenance costs, take extra steps to ensure your security solution is always working, and help save your casino money.

Their success will be determined by their initial ability to understand your challenges and deliver the best possible solution to resolve them. And it all starts with choosing the right partner by asking the right questions.

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Dan Scroggins Director of Sales and Marketing, North American Video, Inc.

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