Basler Cameras Ensure Fair Play at Las Vegas Casino

Basler Cameras Ensure Fair Play at Las Vegas Casino

With its vibrant casino atmosphere, dazzling shows, and top-name sporting events, Las Vegas is one of the prime tourist attractions in the United States. For almost every tourist, visiting a casino is an essential part of their trip to Las Vegas. However, most visitors aren't aware of the security measures casino owners must take to ensure fair play – be it security personnel or a surveillance system. And cheating players are not the only security risk. Given the large amounts of money present in a casino at any time, even employees might be tempted to dip their hands into the till. In addition, the risk reduction resulting from improved security measures helps casinos obtain better insurance coverage.

In 2010, Jeremy Stamis, Executive Manager at Jerry's Nugget Casino, decided that it was time for a security camera technology update and that 220 existing analog cameras would be replaced by state-of-the-art network cameras. The existing analog installation couldn't deliver images that allowed identification of small details and the face of a card on the gaming tables.

The majority of cameras at Jerry's Nugget Casino were needed in the slot machine and gaming table areas to detect potential foul play. Cameras were also needed in the casino's “cage”. The cage is an area that serves as the financial center of any casino, where chips and tokens can be bought or exchanged for cash and where the money is counted.

When looking for new security cameras, some of the prime requirements for Jeremy Stamis were the speed and resolution of the cameras. If someone is cheating during a table game, their movements are so fast that they can't be seen by the human eye. In the case of suspected cheating, video recorded by a security camera can later be viewed frame-by- frame to detect whether there has been fraudulent action. The same applies to the cage area where it is even easier to palm something when someone turns their back on other employees or security personnel. With high resolution, it is also possible to zoom in on parts of the image and clearly see every detail.

Mr. Stamis decided to use Basler IP Cameras. Basler's BIP2-1300c-dn IP Camera delivers real-time video data at 30 frames per second (fps) with any type of compression (MJPEG, MPEG-4, or H.264). These cameras are used in the slot machine area and at the gaming tables to thwart any attempted cheating. With their megapixel resolution CCD sensors, they make it possible for a security operator to identify even the smallest image details such as the face of a playing card on a large gaming table. In this environment, the low light capabilities of Basler's IP Cameras come into play. Even at a luminosity of only about 15 lux, Basler BIP2-1300c-dn IP Cameras can deliver crystal-clear images while meeting the required frame rate and needing a maximum exposure time of only 1/30th of a second.

A number of even faster BIP2-640c-dn IP cameras secure the cage, where they record any activities at 100 fps – a rate that is unique in the security surveillance market. With this frame rate, the cameras can detect any irregularities that are too fast for the human eye to see. Given the number of IP cameras installed in the cage, all its important areas can be viewed, such as the machines used for counting money and tokens as well as customers' and employees' faces.

At Jerry's Nugget, all video data is stored for a period of at least four months. In case of suspicious behavior by a player or an employee, the recorded video data is viewed at a very low speed by one of five surveillance agents in the casino's security control room. By looking at each individual image in the context of a specific situation, the security agents can now scrutinize the entire scene, evaluate the situation, and if necessary, inform one of the casino's 30 security guards to step in.

To secure the best possible image quality, all images recorded by Basler's IP Cameras are compressed with the MJPEG format and stored on TimeSight servers. MJPEG compression delivers the best image quality but also generates alarge amount of data, so MJPEG video streams require alarge amount of storage space. To reduce the overall cost of storage, all image data delivered by the Basler IP Cameras at Jerry's Nugget is transferred to the TimeSight servers and managed by TimeSight's unique Video Lifecycle Management (VLM) process. The data is stored for a period of seven days – a time period that is critical for casino security – before it is compressed further. After 30 days, the stored images are compressed again, but still exhibit better image quality than the video recorded by analog cameras.

The Jerry's Nugget casino is certified by the Nevada State Gaming Commission, and whenever an existing security camera installation at the casino is modified, it needs recertification. One of the main requirements that must be met in the certification process is a frame rate of at least 30 fps. Because Basler's BIP2 1300c dn IP Camera delivers 30 fps and because the BIP2-640c-dn can even provide images at 100 fps, certification was no problem for the cameras. They were among the first network cameras ever to be certified by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Jeremy Stamis is delighted with his new security camera installation. “We had a number of objectives in mind when refreshing our surveillance system. Our key goals included true forensic-quality video as well as extended retention to protect our business against all types of loss, including regulatory fines, liability, shrinkage, and other types of crime,” said Stamis. “With Basler's IP Cameras and TimeSight's video life cycle management, we now get both an amazingly high level of detail and still save on storage costs.”

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