Casinos Embracing IP Video

March 16, 2018
Best practices for selling and installing in one of the last markets to make the move to digital video surveillance

The casino and gaming industry continues to expand, which presents great opportunities for system integrators to increase their customer base with advanced IP-camera and VMS solutions. For a casino, the move to an IP surveillance solution is not without its challenges, but it presents a higher level of security and recording capabilities. With IP technology and advanced VMS solutions, casino and gaming facility surveillance systems can experience higher quality and more accurate images, store video for longer periods of time, comply with local and state regulations, integrate analytics and other features for a safe and secure facility, and more.

Casinos and gaming facilities face significant challenges to secure their locations, inside and out. There are large areas in casinos that need surveillance, including the gaming floor, parking lots, restaurants, peripheral areas and more. Often, separate surveillance systems and security teams are required, especially on the gaming floor, which legally requires surveillance at all times for a casino to comply with state gaming commission regulations.

One major transformation in casino surveillance and security operations is the transition from analog video to digital recording and IP cameras. Spurring the change is that some gaming commissions now insist on remote access to recorded or live video, which analog systems cannot deliver. With an analog video system, it is difficult to meet regulation guidelines for retention, in addition to generating compliant, quality video data. Digital megapixel cameras provide a high pixel count with fewer cameras, while IP security video cameras provide improved video compression, which reduces the cost of video and data storage and the number of cameras that are needed.

Customer Pain Points

Beyond touting the features, integrators selling an IP video solution to casinos should begin with conducting a needs and evaluation site survey with casino security staff. It is important to understand a casino’s surveillance and security objectives, as while every casino is required to meet compliance and gaming regulations for surveillance of gaming activities, additional objectives will vary from casino and casino, and will depend on where it is located, its clientele, its layout and more.

Scalability with an IP video solution may be a concern, and many casino security directors will not make an investment without understanding how easily more cameras can be added to its network to meet future growth needs. IP video surveillance systems provide more flexibility with scalability than analog systems, as IP solutions allow a camera cable to be placed to the nearest network switch, and a switch can be added if cameras are added.

Cost is also a primary concern of casinos, and IP cameras can help users to gradually upgrade as their resources allow. Casinos can keep some analog cameras and replace others with IP devices as needed. This approach enables them to plan ahead for new IP technology in each year’s operational budgets, while spreading out the costs over the long run to mitigate the impact on other areas of the business.

An additional way to address cost concerns and enable a slower transition to all IP cameras is for a casino to transfer images from analog cameras to digital images for recording. A video encoder accomplishes that by integrating analog cameras and positioning systems into an IP video surveillance system, while still delivering clear images.

Peripheral Features and Equipment

As most integrators know, a Video Management System (VMS) can centralize all casino security cameras into one system, run on the same servers, and be managed through a central location with multiple monitoring sub-sites as needed. This reduces the need for multiple servers, recorder workstations and other equipment redundancies that take up valuable casino floor and work spaces. VMS solutions also help a casino with regulations that require video to be retained and stored for a certain amount of time.

It is important to discuss how IP video surveillance also can incorporate analytics that can assist casino security to better identify persons of interest or those who are on watch lists. With analytics, high-priority persons of interest can be put on display as a digital slideshow next to a live surveillance feed.

An algorithm can also use a casino’s vast database of video to track patterns of behavior and movement, as well as watch for threats. Analytics can be specifically designed for casino applications, such as the gaming floor, and can identify minute details such as playing card faces, how money is handled, as well as small and suspicious objects left behind that could pose a security risk.

Facial recognition technology also can be used to identify persons on a watch list, such as those who have been banned from a casino, in addition to identifying the most popular card game or other casino attraction based on foot traffic analysis.

Installation Best Practices

Once the surveillance solution has been chosen, there are many steps to take to ensure that the installation and set-up is completed while keeping operational downtime at a minimum – all while ensuring that compliance with state and local regulations continues to be met. With that comes a requirement for systems integrators to be trained and properly licensed to compete in the casino security space.

Casinos obviously have high security needs, and the proper surveillance arrangement is extremely important. Any possible downtime should be evaluated, discussed and agreed upon with casino security and all other stakeholders.

Discussing and implementing a service and maintenance agreement before installation will confirm to the customer that your team is committed to doing a high-quality job – while at the same time creating RMR for the integrator and helping with long-term customer retention.

Integrators should carefully plan specific delivery instructions of the new equipment, including how and when it will be delivered and received at the casino, as the installation team may require specific credentials, and casino staff will need special and detailed instructions.

Additionally, installation and implementation of the new solution will need to include a specific schedule of when and how the transition will take place, including a backup plan for redundancy. An experienced installation team will need to be on site during the installation, training and testing processes, and plans should be made to check back with the casino security team to correct any issues with how the equipment is being used and how well it is functioning.

Miki Manjal is the Gaming Vertical Marketing Manager for Pelco by Schneider Electric. Request more info about the company at