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Casino Rebuilds With Robust AV

Deftly staying afloat amid the aftermath of Katrina, a New Orleans systems integrator works quickly to build a sprawling surveillance system for a rebuilding casino.

In the end, the barge survived. But the casino didn't. And when Boomtown parent company Penn National Gaming decided to rebuild its Biloxi gambling joint on that very same barge, it turned to IES — which had recently opened up a branch office in nearby Jackson — to design and build new security camera and head-end monitoring systems.

“IES was available, they had the financial structure and insurance needed to get the job done, and they had the knowledge,” says Eric Rayborn, formerly the director of surveillance for the Boomtown Casino who hired IES for the project. “I didn't want to deal with a company in California or Nevada for a project this large. I wanted someone who could come and see me in an hour.”

For its part, the only specialty skill IES lacked was the ability to aim the 476 surveillance cameras spread around the Boomtown to catch all of the ne'er-do-wells who typically plague such a gaming facility — such as card counters, “rail robbers” (those who sneak away with an adjacent player's chips) and “slips and falls” (sore losers who try to recoup their gambling losses by feigning an accident).

But not just any systems integrator knows how to do this — one must know the gaming security business to know exactly where to point those cameras. “It's my job to make sure the cameras are pointed so they cover what they need to cover,” Rayborn says. “That's not why I hired IES.”

Besides location, what IES had that no casino-surveillance specialty outfit did was superior AV skills, Rayborn adds.

This is noticeable in the surveillance head-end room, which is housed in the two-story administrative building, located on the shoreline and tethered to the floating casino by 200 feet of umbilical wire — a design intended to reserve virtually all of the barge's limited square footage for gaming.

Here, IES highlighted its work with a one-by-three display wall made up of three 60-inch Mitsubishi VS-60XT20U-AG XGA-resolution DLP cubes and a Jupiter 980 display wall processor — a novel approach for casino surveillance control room environments that typically employ huge arrays of CRT or LCD monitors (see sidebar).

“Very few casinos utilize vide-owalls,” Francioni says. “The typical casino security contractor doesn't have good understanding of the display piece. Our AV background allowed us to put in a sophisticated display.”

Boomtown security staffers have the choice of observing the surveillance system using this display wall, or at one of three individual workstations, each equipped with three 19-inch Dell 1907FPT LCD monitors.

From these vantage points, security personnel can view images from 476 cameras spread around the Boomtown's interior and exterior —an array that includes 354 Pelco ICS090-CRV39A fixed dome cameras and 88 ceiling-mounted Pelco SD53C22-F0 Spectra 3 ceiling-mounted cameras with pan-tilt and 23X zoom capability.

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