Casinos are a great place for distraction – bright lights, loud gaming machines, people cheering over a lucky game of craps – but security officials in these casinos can’t afford distractions during surveillance of these activities. Securing these facilities, which can be thousands of square feet in size, requires a wealth of personnel, alarm systems, access control solutions and video surveillance – all of which come together to form a solution that helps officials pinpoint problems, address incidents quickly and speed up investigations.
For large-scale casinos, such as those owned by MGM Resorts International, 360-degree camera technology has started to replace pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, which are fixed in a single direction. For general area surveillance and the ability to retrospectively see the whole picture, a 360-degree camera can replace costly PTZ cameras, ultimately resulting in lower cost per camera to cover the same area and eliminating blind spots.
“A 360-degree field-of-view allows casino staff and security to spot incidents from across the gaming floor at one vantage point, and then track a specific person to a choke point or narrow pathway,” said Ted Whiting, Vice President of Corporate Surveillance, MGM Resorts International. Whiting boasts one of the Las Vegas Strip’s best track records at catching cheats and thieves, and he and his staff are constantly on the lookout for new methods used by criminals to trump the gaming system.
At Aria, a MGM property, more than 1,100 cameras are used in the 150,000 square feet of gaming space. The surveillance network includes 35 choke point cameras – focused on entrances, exits and other areas – and 50 Oncam 360-degree fisheye cameras. The surveillance department at Aria also is responsible for 4,004 guest rooms.
“The 360-degree cameras are the best forensic tool ever, and have become an integral part of the MGM Aria’s surveillance operations,” Whiting said.
Casino security must anticipate several threats that are unique to the casino environment, including thieves and cheats. Understanding the behavior of these individuals is essential, and video surveillance is becoming smarter to help in this regard, monitoring card counters who exhibit specific behavior patterns and utilizing facial recognition to follow their every move throughout the gaming floor. Once the security team is alerted to specific variances and nuances in behavior, cameras can probe further to track and verify, which means delving into previous behavior in early camera shots to confirm or challenge the findings of the cameras using analytics.
As more and more casinos adopt IP video surveillance and 360-degree fisheye cameras, security officials can rest assured that the gaming floor is being monitored by some of the best technology in the marketplace.