The casino camera systems improving the odds 


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Casino resorts are taking advantage of the latest video technology to prevent fraud, ensure fair play and provide better customer service, writes Koray Ozyildirim, Country Manager, IDIS Turkey.

Casinos have long been among the most innovative users of video surveillance technology – and for good reason.

With subdued lighting and sometimes smoky conditions, chips and cards changing hands rapidly and crowds gathering at tables, gaming areas have always been obvious targets.  

Countering this, pit bosses rely on continual monitoring by ‘eye in the sky’ surveillance teams to spot suspicious activity early, to prevent cheating and avoid stoppage which can impact the gaming experience of bona fide customers and, in turn, profits.

Casino operators have had appetite for advanced surveillance solutions ever since the days when cameras replaced elevated walkways, one-way glass and staff with binoculars as the primary solution to the problems of fraud and cheating.  

And now, more opportunities are opening up for systems integrators and vendors.

The sector is rebounding strongly from the difficult COVID-19 years and casino resorts are a tourism growth sector as significant new investment is ploughed into luxury hotel-casino developments.  

Over the last two years, end to end IDIS video solutions have been installed at major casino sites across Europe including several in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Cyprus – most notably, the Merit Royal Hotel and Casino in Northern Cyprus which boasted the world’s largest roulette table – and Europe’s largest casino development, the five star GoldenEye resort close to the Bulgaria-Turkey border. 

Typically, these projects involve around 300 cameras, including 2MP and 5MP domes and mini PTZs, managed and operated from the IDIS Solution Suite VMS platform with full failover protection.

The GoldenEye system, detailed below, is even larger in scale. It’s a trend that we expect to continue. 

Government support 

The European casino gambling market generated a revenue of US$115.39b last year and is expected to register a CAGR of over 5% by 2029, according to Statista.

The UK market leads this growth, followed by Italy, Germany, France and Spain. Other parts of Europe are not far behind and are continuing to liberalise gambling regulations, which promises further growth. 

Europe also tops the table when it comes to the number of gambling properties worldwide.

Countries like Romania and Bulgaria are seeing substantial investments in physical casino infrastructure as they reap the benefits of favourable regulations and growing tourism.  

Growth is not just being driven by consumer demand: Governments know that successful casino resorts can bring major economic benefits to local communities.

Casinos, especially high end resorts, generate employment opportunities, contribute to tax revenues and stimulate related industries including hospitality and tourism, which in turn, support a wider ecosystem of suppliers.  

The prospect of wider economic benefits, for example, has seen the UAE moving towards establishing its first casino, marking a shift in its traditionally conservative stance on gambling. I

n September 2023, the government announced the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Gaming and Racing Authority (GCGRA), a federal body which will oversee and regulate the gambling industry.  

Details continue to emerge, but the first casino could be opened as early as 2027 as part of a larger resort development on Al Marjan Island.

Hospitality giants already present in the region with experience in the sector and cruise lines have expressed interest.

Liners could dock at existing and planned ports close to some of the most popular tourist hotspots along the Emirates’ coastline. 

More opportunities for security suppliers 

All this points to opportunities for systems integrators as operators look to maintain consumer confidence that resorts are safe, well-run destinations where customers will be treated fairly and criminals deterred.

Casinos are prime targets for theft and fraud, both from external criminals and dishonest insiders.

Risk factors include large amounts of cash, high visitor traffic, open environments with multiple entry and exit points and the presence of high value assets throughout the premises.  

Criminal activity ranges from petty theft to sophisticated scams involving collusion between employees and patrons.

Employees with access to sensitive areas and operational information pose a significant risk whether they are conspiring with outsiders or acting on their own.  

These insider threats need to be monitored.

Cheating at gaming tables is a constant concern, whether it’s card counting, using electronic devices or more traditional methods such as card marking.

To maintain the integrity of their games, it’s imperative that casinos are constantly vigilant. 

Security and hospitality services 

Where casinos are part of larger resort developments video systems also play a wider role ensuring the security and safety of guests and, increasingly, optimising the efficiency of hospitality services, both front and back of house. 

For example, the GoldenEye resort is a purpose built 61,000 square metre luxury complex that includes a 600+ room hotel, a vast 4,500 square metre casino floor, VIP gaming rooms, a spa centre and pool, high end restaurants and a retail mall.

Thanks to its strategic location, by the coast and close to the Turkish border, it has quickly become a landmark attraction for international visitors – casino enthusiasts, tourists, spa and wellness customers and business professionals. 

The video system installed at the resort reflects the scale of the development: The initial phase comprises more than 600 cameras; seven 64-ch NVR recorders; IDIS Solution Suite enterprise-class VMS including failover against a range of fault conditions and redundant power to ensure continuous recording and access to video; and all network accessories. 

Advanced camera combination 

The GoldenEye chose a combination of IDIS 12MP Super Fisheyes, 8MP IR dome cameras and 5MP IR domes with Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) allowing broad scene surveillance of all internal areas, without blind spots, plus targeted coverage of priority locations including gaming tables, slot machines and cashier stations.

IDIS Fisheye technology is particularly useful in allowing comprehensive UHD scene coverage without the need for costly, multiple cameras.  

External areas at the GoldenEye, including parking bays and entrances, are covered using IDIS 5MP bullet cameras and 2MP IR PTZs.

Operated using IDIS Solution Suite VMS, it allows 24/7 multi-task monitoring by six operators and two supervisors, using a control room video wall, with live viewing and simultaneous playback.

The solution is NDAA compliant, with cybersecurity protection; it is GDPR compliant, with dynamic privacy masking allowing footage to be easily exported without privacy infringement. 

Casino operators are also elevating their video surveillance systems with new AI capabilities that improve security, enhance operational efficiency and ensure a better guest experience – taking advantage of the latest AI-powered analytics options from edge cameras, AI box devices and deep learning analysis software to improve security and public safety with features including object, intrusion, loitering and face detection and line crossing.  

Not just security 

And, video surveillance is no longer just about security.

Deep learning analytics give casino operators actionable insights into every aspect of their facilities as well as guest behaviour.

Managers can decide how to place and utilise staff depending on people counting, dwell time or queues for specific gaming tables or bars. 

Heat maps and flow patterns distinguish where casino guests spend most of their time and how they move through the casino, allowing designers to optimise floor layouts for guest engagement and positive experiences.

The GoldenEye is one of those taking advantage of the capability futureproofing that IDIS tech ensures and is now testing IDIS people counting, heat maps and occupancy monitoring, with analytics targeted at the casino entrances. 

These will make it easier to manage peaks and troughs in activity and automatically alert duty managers if additional staff need to be brought on duty.

And, as in the retail sector, it will provide operators with additional at a glance intelligence around seasonal footfall trends, allowing visitor numbers to be analysed more easily against turnover. 

In addition, video system integration with the casino’s wider ERP software is also being introduced, by overlying transaction data on recorded video for more efficient incident investigation and wider organisational benefits. 

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