N.Y. gaming facility utilizes Morse Watchmans’ security solutions

May 28, 2008
Saratoga Gaming & Raceway implements guard tour, access control systems at 156 acre facility

Located in the scenic and historic town of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the Saratoga Gaming & Raceway facility is an entertainment destination for the Northeast. Its attractions include over 1700 video gaming machines, live harness racing, several restaurants and a recently opened nightclub. Known as a "racino" (combined racetrack and video gaming casino), the entertainment and gaming facility is served by an in-house security team that safeguards the 50-plus buildings with the aid of a Morse Watchmans PowerCheck Guard Tour System and KeyWatcher Key Control System.

According to Bruce Cogan, director of security at Saratoga Gaming & Raceway, security and surveillance on the 156 acre property is continuous, per the rules and regulations established by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. "Policies and procedures regarding security are no different at a racino than they are at a casino," he said. "The difference lies more in the make-up of the facility because in addition to the gaming and entertainment areas of the complex we also have a race track and horse stables under our domain and all of the buildings have to be physically inspected on a daily basis."

Adherence to mandated procedures such as the daily fire watch and building checks can become routine and potentially careless unless there is a method in place to ensure the tasks are being completed. For this, Saratoga Gaming & Raceway relies on the Morse Watchmans PowerCheck Guard Tour System. With its multiple tour capabilities, integrated functions and reporting options, the PowerCheck Guard Tour System delivers a convenient and cost-effective solution that has successfully served this purpose for over 10 years at Saratoga Gaming & Raceway.

Using the Guard Tour System, building checks are automatically recorded to help make certain that the security department maintains a constant vigil on the properties. As Cogan explains, on making their rounds, the guards simply punch in at each check point station to record the visit. This information can be downloaded to the supervisor to verify that the punches on these tours are being completed in a timely manner and that the areas where the punches are located were physically checked.

"The PowerCheck Guard Tour System definitely contributes to the protection of the property," adds Cogan. "Our security guards are better able to perform their duties while making their rounds, and management can more effectively monitor the security officer’s performance and follow up with additional training when required."

Saratoga Gaming & Raceway also utilizes the Morse Watchmans DataPro Data Sorting Software to convert the tour information into printable reports. The Windows based software can be customized by time, day, week and month and for added value and convenience, this same software can be used to program the data recorder and manage the files.

Managing the keys for the 50-plus buildings is another application for which Cogan and the security department have come to rely on Morse Watchmans for the solution. By only releasing assigned keys to users with the proper authorization code, the KeyWatcher Key Control System from Morse Watchmans helps guard against stolen or misplaced keys. Simple and elegant in design, the wall-mounted key storage cabinet eliminates outdated lock boxes, unreliable manual logs and messy key identification tags. KeyWatcher records the access history of each key, including user, date and time of checkout/return.

Constructed of rugged stainless steel and featuring illuminated key slots, the KeyWatcher is wired to alarm against tampering and can be easily programmed to allow access only to those who have clearance. Keys are tracked while in use, including times and user names, and should the key not be returned or returned late, management is notified and can take the appropriate action.

"The KeyWatcher system has elevated key management to a more sophisticated and intelligent level, in keeping with the security policies and procedures established by the racino," said Cogan. "In an environment where large amounts of cash are stored, the KeyWatcher system helps to reduce the risk and the temptation."

For more information, contact Morse Watchmans at 1-800-423-8256, or visit the website at www.morsewatchmans.com.