IP High Roller

Michael “Mack” Brutsche, Director of Surveillance at Reno’s Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, has deployed IP video to increase security and surveillance staff effectiveness


The 1000-room Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nev., recently completed an impressive $75 million expansion. The renovations and additions included a new poker room, race and sports book, sports bar, Manhattan Deli, new ballroom and meeting rooms. A new skybridge now connects the complex to the Reno/Sparks Convention Center and the resort offers an all-new spa experience.

The expanded Atlantis boasts a 61,000-square-foot casino, open 24 hours a day, with 1,452 slot machines and 42 table games. The newly outfitted casino and resort needed an upgraded, comprehensive surveillance system to match its status as one of Reno’s top gambling and entertainment destinations.

Converting Existing Security onto One IP Surveillance Platform

The casino’s previous video system was an unwieldy combination of VCRs and DVRs that burdened staff with a large equipment footprint. “With our former mix of technologies, it was time-consuming to do video reviews. We had to have greater efficiency and system expandability,” says Michael “Mack” Brutsche, the casino’s Director of Surveillance. “We also wanted both the Surveillance (gaming areas) and Security (non-gaming areas) video monitoring systems combined onto a single platform, but securely partitioned apart from each other.”

Prior to taking on his role of Director of Surveillance, Brutsche spent two years in surveillance operations at the Atlantis and seven years in surveillance operations in the Mid-South of the country. He and his staff are in charge of analyzing and acting on all video output. “This is a 24/7 operation, so every hour of every day ‘live eyes’ are our priority,” Brutsche says. “Table games, point-of-sale transactions, cash and chip counting — we need to be watching all of them, all the time.”

Maximizing “Live Eyes” on the Job

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa has standardized on the DVTel intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) to provide video surveillance management throughout the entire entertainment and hotel complex. Alliance System Group, a highly experienced integrator in the casino market, performed the system upgrade and all the installation work.

At present, the iSOC manages data from more than 700 analog cameras — and that number is constantly growing. The casino’s analog cameras are connected to their network using DVTel encoders. The cameras are a mix of Pelco, Vicon, Panasonic and Sanyo models. Most of the cameras are fixed, but PTZ models are deployed in certain strategic locations. Areas under surveillance include gaming tables, money counting cages, public areas, parking lots, hotel areas and administrative offices.

Atlantis does both live monitoring of key areas in the casino and recording of all cameras. Video is recorded at the required 4 CIF and 30 frames-per-second (fps) and other secondary areas are captured at 2 CIF and 15 fps.

Previously, all camera data was viewed from only one location. With the upgraded system, Brutsche now maintains multiple monitoring workstations, and he can add workstations anywhere else he needs them for security personnel or senior staff to review casino action.

“The user interface is great, and we can quickly research more incidents than ever before,” Brutsche says. “Our ability to more efficiently complete incident reviews means more of our staff time is devoted to live monitoring and catching people doing what they shouldn’t be doing. With this new system, now everything is right there at our fingertips, and we can delegate camera and monitoring management exactly where we want it.”

The World of Casino Surveillance

With all those cameras at work — more than six million video hours every year — what are Brutsche and team looking for? He says that for both live and recorded video, they monitor for guest and team member accidents, slip-and-falls, trips on stairs, and all incidents involving guests. Recently, a staff member doing live monitoring saw someone take a guest’s jacket, and the staff member contacted security on the floor and the jacket was quickly returned.

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