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

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

Surveillance operators have access to all cameras, and a separate security department has access to cameras not monitoring the gaming floor. Security's responsibility is to patrol the entire property and the department uses the system to view cameras throughout the premises.

The resolution of the IP cameras is an improvement over analog, and Valley Forge is in the process of evaluating high-definition (HD) cameras to place strategically around the property. The first group of IP cameras was initially installed in the interest of keeping costs down. The network infrastructure could support as many as 1,000 cameras, although fewer will likely be needed as higher-resolution cameras are implemented. 

Video views of any gaming tables are retained for seven days; and video covering cash-related transactions and access points to the casino is held for 30 days. There is plenty of RAID 5 system storage to meet the gaming commission's requirement of a 25 percent buffer margin of additional video archiving.


Outdoor Surveillance

Outside the building, exterior cameras mounted at various levels of nearby rooftops keep watch on the parking lot areas that surround the property, providing views to ensure guest safety and deal with issues in the parking lot such as accidents, animals or children left in vehicles, etc. Cameras are mounted on the roof of the convention center, on an attached office building, and on the adjoining Radisson Hotel and Valley Forge Casino Tower.

The 22x optical zoom on the Spectra IV camera enables operators to zoom in for clear images of vehicle license plates and activities in the parking lot, which accommodates 2,800 vehicles and has free valet parking every day.  The cameras’ ability to “learn” a required position enables operators to direct the PTZ camera to an exact view he or she requires, and the camera can mimic the movement precisely, right down to the iris control and fine focus. Up to 99 camera positions can be stored as presets, and the operator can return to any of the positions by pressing two keys.

Endura's Linux-based software system offers unicast and multi-cast options to enable camera feeds to be multiplied for recording and live viewing on several components.


Systems Integration

NAV technicians and project leaders provided a deep understanding of the Pelco system during the installation, managing issues related to how the components communicate and interact with the network front-end. “The system has a workthrough for anything we want to do,” Silva says. “NAV's knowledge also helped to guide casino personnel during troubleshooting after the system was installed. In general, troubleshooting is easier with IP systems because software pathways enable one to check at any point on the network to see if a signal is passing through.” Silva adds that dealing with the integrator for ongoing service or equipment needs has been an “incredibly simple process.”

The Software House access control system covers all perimeter doors of the casino — about 20 in all — including those that usually remain closed. Integration provides camera views when access doors are opened, and alarms alert operators if a door is opened that should remain closed.

Access to the financial area (main cage and soft count area) involves a mantrap, so both doors cannot be opened at the same time. One door is controlled by surveillance; the other is controlled by an Aiphone video phone mounted on the wall to enable employees to grant access to any co-workers they recognize.


Integration with the E>Connect POS system transforms each line of point-of-sale transaction data into a hyperlink to related video of that exact second in time, which is “digitally married” to the POS system. If an operator clicks on the word “soda,” for example, the system goes immediately to video of that transaction.

Since state law requires all players to be guests of the resort (they may be staying there or simply have spent at least $10 in the resort), customer access to the casino floor is controlled. This is managed by 11 optical turnstiles/stantions that allow entry to the casino based on a required “daily access pass.” Inexpensive memberships for several months are available, which enables surveillance to identify any member who enters the casino, and a fixed camera provides a clear face shot as they walk through.