Video Supplement: IP Surveillance 'Forges' ahead for Pa. Casino

Video technology — including standards-compliant equipment — helps the monitoring effort at Valley Forge Resort


It took just 22 minutes for the new IP video surveillance system at Valley Forge Casino Resort to demonstrate its value. The casino had just opened in March 2012 when an attentive surveillance operator identified a group of roulette cheaters — several agents working in tandem — from the clear images captured by the casino's IP surveillance system. A message from a nearby casino had alerted Valley Forge Casino to be on the lookout for the cheaters, and the employee spotted them on video less than half an hour after the casino opened. He had trained for eight weeks but had never worked in surveillance before.

Since that day, the video system — installed by North American Video (NAV) — has continued to provide value both on the gaming floor and throughout the facility located near the city of Philadelphia. “There is a human factor involved in creating a safe environment, and the tools and technology NAV has brought in give us a fantastic ability to protect our guests.,“ says Jesse Silva, Valley Forge’s Director of Surveillance. “We minimize every threat we can think of by using our video surveillance system to the fullest. It has provided the situational awareness we need to ensure a very low number of incidents in the first few months, and no major incidents so far related to guest safety.”

 

Standards-Based Surveillance Integrated with Access, POS

Valley Forge was constructed on the existing site of the Valley Forge (Pa.) Convention Center, with the convention center's top level now used as the casino. The $132.5 million resort features 600 slot machines and 50 table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette and others. The resort also includes live entertainment, eight restaurants, shopping and nightlife. In all, there are more than 100,000 square feet of meeting, convention and exhibit space. The adjacent Casino Tower and Radisson Hotel has 486 hotel rooms and suites.

The IP video system uses a redundant HP network with PoE and ONVIF-compliant equipment provided by Pelco, including the Endura recording system, Sarix fixed cameras and Spectra IV pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras — a total of 418 cameras in all when the casino opened. Additional cameras have been added since the opening to bring the total number to nearly 500. The system is integrated with a Software House access control system and a point-of-sale (POS) system from E>Connect. NAV was chosen to supply the system based on a competitive bid.

“The network designed at Valley Forge Casino is extremely sophisticated and robust, which in turn will allow them room for future IP growth and expansion,” says NAV’s Laurie Jackson, Vice President of Gaming Sales. “By integrating the access control, POS and video surveillance systems into an easy-to-manage overall system, casino management has a more complete picture.”

 

Inside the Surveillance Operation

The casino surveillance department's 20 operators watch table game action, cage transactions, ingress and egress of patrons, food and beverage locations, point-of-sale transactions, and general movement of employees in the back of the house. There are six surveillance workstations in all — two workstations in the security department, one in the administrative office, one in dispatch — each with a supervisor, and a separate on-site workstation used by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Indoors, PTZ cameras can zoom in far enough to be able to read the serial numbers on a dollar bill or the time on someone's watch. Each blackjack table has a fixed overhead camera, and a PTZ camera is located between each pair of blackjack tables to cover both as needed. The other gaming tables are each monitored by multiple cameras. In the slots areas, cameras watch general movement and hone in on anything out of the ordinary.

Video keeps watch over gaming action on the casino floor as well as all back-of-the-house areas, including connecting hallways for the casino and cash handing areas. All gaming cameras are set at 30 frames-per-second (fps), while some non-regulated back-of-the-house applications, such as hallways or door views, use 15 fps.

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