Casinos banking on IP CCTV

July 2008 Surveillance

Casino operators worldwide are catching on fast to the business benefits that IP-CCTV surveillance systems provide.

The sophisticated analytic software that drives these systems can be programmed to trigger alarms by particular activities caught on camera and the ability to bring up specific footage within seconds means that disputes can be resolved within minutes.

"Many casinos are now finding that their existing analogue/VCR CCTV systems cannot cope with the demands of the complex surveillance environment associated with modern casino operations. Long-term storage and fast retrieval of video from a VCR-based system is a big problem," comments John Loftus, managing director of Norbain, IndigoVision's partner in Africa.

He adds, "IndigoVision's superior software has recently led to 15 completed contracts from casinos around the globe who have upgraded to IndigoVision's integrated IP-based surveillance solutions."

The most recent casino group to switch to IndigoVision's solutions is the Enjoy Group, which owns and operates nine casinos in Chile.

Loftus adds, "IndigoVision was chosen following a rigorous competitive analysis by the casino. This involved the installation of a 30-camera test system that allowed the casino to compare systems from different vendors side-by-side." The final systems will be installed and operated in full compliance with the Chilean Gaming Board.

The first 500-camera system has been completed at the casino complex in Coquimbo, which will shortly be extended to cover a new hotel and convention centre. Once complete the entire project will have upgraded over 2500 cameras to digital IP CCTV surveillance.

Each of the CCTV cameras will be connected to an IndigoVision 8000 transmitter/receiver that converts the analogue feed to DVD-quality, 4SIF, 30 fps digital video for transmission over the IP network. This is achieved without any frames being dropped, whatever the level of motion and activity in the camera scene. This is a fundamental requirement of Gaming Boards and casino operators. Any dropped frames within a video clip could hide fraudulent or criminal activity and make any customer disputes more difficult to resolve.

Another important feature of the IP-CCTV solution is the ability to remotely view recorded video on any 'control centre' workstation wherever they are located on the network. Loftus explains: "This is impossible with the existing analogue/VCR system.

"The flexibility of IndigoVision's IP video solution will in many cases enable the existing casinos to remain operational while the upgrade takes place and also allow the existing CCTV cameras to be re-used."

When all of the casinos upgrades are complete, Enjoy Group plans to build a central investigation and monitoring centre that will allow live and recorded video to be viewed and analysed from all of the group's casinos.

Manuel Abella, Enjoy Group's projects and systems director comments, "The system performed very well during our testing of competing systems. We were particularly impressed with the video quality, the video search and analysis features and the efficient use of network bandwidth and storage."

According to Loftus, "control centre is licence-free software allowing the casino to deploy as many workstations as required for no more than the cost of the PCs. Savings can also be made by utilising standard PC servers to store the footage recorded by IndigoVision's Windows network video recorder (NVR) software." Four servers with 36 Terabytes of RAID redundant disk will be installed at Enjoy Group's Coquimbo casino.

Loftus concludes, "This project demonstrates that IP video is a field-proven solution for the demanding CCTV requirements of casino operations, which need high-quality video images and fast retrieval of recorded footage. IP video provides significant benefits compared with traditional analogue CCTV systems, such as scalability, realtime camera-based analytics and fault tolerant configurations."


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