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

“We’re catching a substantial number of incidents on live monitoring, but we always want to see more,” Brutsche says. “A lot of our time is spent on evaluation of our players, looking for the ‘advantage players,’ the shot-takers, and for any illegal devices being employed at the gaming tables.

“We’re always trying to stay one step ahead,” he continues. “When we converted to a ticket-in/ticket-out system, we eliminated 90 percent of the cheating on the slots. That’s great, but now we have to be on guard for actions to compromise the ticketing system. To stay on top of this, video surveillance is crucial.”

Theft is Theft

“Due to the nature of our work, I can’t go into details on most events,” Brutsche explains, “but finding the best equipment to catch these things is only half the equation. With the field of security/surveillance exponentially expanding across the nation, we are fortunate to have assembled a dedicated operations team and an experienced technical team. I look for team members that take their job seriously, are dedicated to the end-result, and follow my philosophy of ‘Stealing from the company I work for, is stealing from me.’ Doesn’t matter if it is $1 or $1,000 — theft is theft.”

The Beauty of IP

As with all casinos, space is money, so square footage can be at a premium. Initially the team had sufficient space when they had only a few hundred cameras, but as the resort grew, they had nowhere to expand.

“With an IP digital system, because it takes up a smaller footprint, we could double and then triple our number of cameras and the monitoring equipment to manage them,” Brutsche says. “Our former system was limited to 512 inputs — if I wanted to expand I needed double the space. Now, we can scale within the existing footprint. We only need to add more servers and storage (provided by Dell), and we have that rack space.”

In addition to scalability and flexibility, the Atlantis IP video management system provides multiple operational benefits. In a recent incident, Brutsche was on the phone with his counterpart in security: “We were talking about a particular incident that happened on the floor a few days ago, and rather than giving him a drawn-out explanation of what happened, I dragged and dropped the video sequence from my computer onto his monitor, and even though he is two floors away and on the opposite side of the building, we could both watch the video and discuss the outcome simultaneously.”

The Future for Atlantis Casino

The Atlantis casino and resort complex continues to expand, and that means it continues to add cameras in order to monitor gaming operations, but also to provide a safe environment for all. “Most people think video monitoring is there just so the establishment can catch the bad guy,” Brutsche says. “We also want to make sure we are monitoring all areas of the casino, hotel, parking lots and back of the house to assist with the safety and comfort of our guests and our team members.

“It’s amazing really,” Brutsche reflects. “The Atlantis started out as a coffee shop and a motor lodge — now we are one of the biggest and best operations in town. We have nine restaurants, three hotel towers and gaming around the clock. Our property is continually expanding, and we are always adding cameras and improving coverage, every week.”

As Brutsche and the Atlantis team look to constantly improve their video surveillance and video management to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, they are evaluating the integration of additional systems. “By migrating to a digital platform, we now have the ability to expand our POS interface,” Brutsche says. “We want to be able to quickly search specific transactions. Let’s say we’re getting a lot of ‘No Sale’ (cash drawer open) events at a particular terminal, I want to clearly see what is happening each time that drawer is open.”

With constant expansion, Brutsche is looking to reduce the variety of cameras he employs. Atlantis purchases “the best image quality for the best price,” when making new camera decisions. “One of the great things about DVTel is they have their own camera line with lots of options,” Brutsche says.