One of the biggest challenges the security technology industry has faced over the years has been keeping up with enterprise expansion. That is, as businesses grow and evolve, so must the technologies that protect them.
The gaming industry is one of the best examples of this trend. The past two decades saw casino revenues climb and overall operations grow. And as activity grew at those casinos, more technology was needed to protect their people and assets.
Case in point: Manitoba Lotteries Corp. (MLC), which underwent expansion during the 1990s and today is a key player within the Canadian Province of Manitoba’s gaming industry.
What makes MLC’s story unique, though, is the foresight the Crown Corporation showed in the 90s to migrate its security system to an integrated platform. MLC accomplished this through an intense market research approach.
Part of that approach included an annual competitive bid process mandated for MLC vendor selections. The process involves extensive research and field-testing with experts to determine which vendors and products work best in MLC’s gaming environment to provide the most effective technology available at the most competitive price.
Overseen by MLC Corporate Security, the integrated security system — which protects MLC’s two casinos, corporate offices and warehouse/office facilities — is not only keeping visitors and employees safe, but is also helping MLC thrive.
“The primary responsibility of MLC Corporate Security is to protect MLC assets, guests and employees, so we always seek to offer the most comprehensive security measures available,” says Dan Sanscartier, associate vice president of Corporate Security and Surveillance. “We take a leading-edge approach to casino security, and this includes ensuring that our security division employs the most effective security measures and tools available.”
In addition to the province’s Video Lottery Terminal Network, MLC owns and operates the Club Regent and McPhillips Street Station Casinos in Winnipeg. MLC’s casinos, corporate offices and warehouses boast a fully integrated security and surveillance system.
MLC’s approach to integrated security can be traced back to 1993, when Club Regent and McPhillips Street Station first opened with non-table gaming, including slot machines, high-stakes bingo and touch-screen gaming. Also during that time, MLC’s Crystal Casino, Canada’s first year-round, government-operated casino, offered table games and slots, but closed when the two other locations expanded and reopened in 1999 with new table games — as well as a new set of security needs and requirements.
Spread across 182,000 square feet, the Caribbean-themed Club Regent Casino (CRC) grew to feature more than 800 slot machines, 324 bingo/slots and 32 table games, as well as a walk-through salt-water aquarium, exotic restaurant and lounges, premiere live entertainment and multi-purpose facilities.
The railroad station-themed McPhillips Street Station reopened as a 178,000 square-foot casino and now offers a similar amount of slot and bingo/slot machines as CRC and 28 table games. The McPhillips Casino features national and international musical acts, upscale dining and elegant banquet/event facilities.
Upgrading and standardizing the casinos’ security systems onto one integrated platform enabled MLC to take a more holistic and standardized approach to security. This approach also better accommodated the expansion and better prepared MLC for growth further down the line.
The first part of the project involved upgrading the casinos’ camera matrix system. Following a vendor-intensive competitive bid process in 2000, corporate security selected an analog-based VCR management system, which automated and standardized MLC’s recording processes. The system gave MLC the ability to more easily monitor and control VCRs to record key processes without losing valuable recording data.