Nothing is on a small scale when it comes to casino operations today. So when the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation decided to expand the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., they turned to a proven partner who could help them with their goal to build the safest resort possible—Red Hawk, part of the UTC Fire & Security family.
Slated to open this spring, the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino is a best-in-class operation and new $700 million development project that adds nearly two million square feet of space and features significantly increased hotel, entertainment, restaurants and gaming venues as well as enhanced corporate retreat, meeting and convention resources.
And while gaming security and asset management were of course integral to the renovation’s goals and overall operations, what came first and foremost, as always, was the safety of patrons. Some 40,000 to 70,000 guests visit Foxwoods each day and as many as 100,000 on weekends.
Foxwoods Resort Casino Executive Director of Security Amondo Sebastian and Director of Security Russ Adams have grown with and nurtured the world-class operation since it opened in 1992. They’ve also had a close working relationship with the local Connecticut-based Red Hawk (formerly ACP Engineering), beginning in 1994 with the installation of an access control system, followed by a systems expansion project six months later. In 1999 the security firm helped the casino install digital video recorders. Since then, Red Hawk has worked closely with Foxwoods on an ongoing series of projects, upgrades and expansions. As always, safety took precedence.
“Safety is our first priority and deeply embedded in the culture here,” said Richard E. Sebastian, Tribal Council Member and former director of security at Foxwoods.
“The Tribal Council supports whatever steps must be taken to ensure Foxwoods is the safest casino in the world and we embedded that philosophy into every phase of the new system design and expansion,” he said. He added that security is also about providing good customer service and a safe work environment for employees.
Headquartered in Denver, Red Hawk is a national company that designs, installs and services integrated electronic and physical security solutions across the U.S. As part of UTC Fire & Security, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, Red Hawk carries a strong focus on customer service and those qualities are crucial for customers such as the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Consulting and cooperating
According to Adams and Amondo Sebastian, Foxwoods sets the security standard in the casino industry and it often acts as a resource to other gaming and hospitality venues.
“There’s lots of idea sharing and collaboration among security professionals in the casino industry,” said Sebastian. “We work hard to maintain Foxwoods’ status as a best in class security provider and each system installation we undertake involves extensive research and close collaboration between the security department and the integrator.”
“We have to be open-minded about how we approach new technology and often have to think out of the box to get a solution,” Adams added. “It was a major team effort to bring the suppliers together and to get them to understand our vision for the system and how we wanted it to work. Each supplier had to prove their technology could meet the unique requirements specific to each area of the casino. We are constantly testing, pushing and evaluating technology,” he said.