The Smart Approach to Protecting Casinos

Step out of your comfort zone and provide customized data beyond hardware

Dallmann sees a need for convergence between the casino's IT and surveillance departments. "Surveillance and IT have to work hand in hand," he said. "IT governs the origin of the POS information."

Part of the problem is the regulatory road bumps. In many jurisdictions it is the law that the surveillance network has to be kept separate from POS or other corporate data. Many vendors are trying to present the big picture and gain approval at least for unidirectional merging of the corporate data with the surveillance data.

Hoke said he has been lucky that Louisiana's regulators are receptive to the upgrades he wants to make.

"The key is education," he said. "In some areas regulatory agencies are nervous but not here. Once we explained the plan, they were on board."

4Tec's ProgWare uses digital programming to take place the hardware.

"We zone out all of the buildings on our system," said Miller. "Internally, there is no software loaded. We program each site to do the job required."

This allows customized addition of filters, microphones and the likes to meet a customer's needs. 4TEC partners with Crestron Electronics for controls and custom programming interfaces between systems.

Not easy, but doable

It should be an easy sale. At one large casino, the surveillance chief realized that someone had come up with a scam to overstate the amount of play at some tables. Scammers were heavily 'comped' on liquor and dinners. Eventually, security realized that any single player whose buy-in was less than three percent per hour was a potential problem. A back check discovered that applying this data formula to comp deals and linking it to video would have caught 95 percent of the cases to the tune of $480,000 a year.

Marketing software and systems to catch that kind of abuse-and short payback-should be an easy sell for integrators. However, integrators have to realize they are dealing with a new product category. They must take multiple third-party system data and normalize it to a common language.

"Your clients have to see the big picture. You have to get them out of their silo and the area that is immediately under their control," Katnic said.

"Tomorrow, the successful integrator will be a data integrator," he predicted. "Selling it requires education. It is not a turnkey product. Each site has to be customized. Most important, the sale probably has to come from the top down."