Axis antes up Hard Rock Casino surveillance

Axis antes up Hard Rock Casino surveillance


From the twinkling LEDs on the slot machines to the strobes and spotlights in the concert halls to the dimly lit nightclub areas and neon signs in the bar, the ambience is designed to excite and entertain patrons looking for a good time. But the analog cameras at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa didn’t perform well in this constantly changing illumination. The surveillance team needed new network cameras that could compensate for variable lighting and meet the stringent regulations that govern all casino surveillance operations.


The Hard Rock Casino turned to a portfolio of network cameras optimized for high performance in a wide range of challenging lighting environments. The Surveillance Department engineers systematically replaced the casino’s legacy analog cameras and video management system (VMS) with an array of network fixed dome, pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) and 360° field of view cameras controlled by a Milestone Xprotect VMS. The casino also took advantage of embedded video analytics from Agent Vi designed to alert surveillance staff to unauthorized intrusions and to speed up forensic investigations.


The cameras, coupled with advanced analytics, give surveillance staff more time to spend on the casino floor protecting assets and assuring patron and staff safety. The new surveillance system plays a major role in auditing cashier stations, verifying supply deliveries, as well as helping the surveillance team apprehend identity frauds and other individuals attempting to cheat the casino.

"We have a number of issues to contend with,” said John Underwood, Surveillance Technology Manager for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “Some of the bars and nightclub areas are very dimly lit. The concert and entertainment areas use strobes and spotlights during shows. Some of the slot machines have LED lights that twinkle; some have really bright strobe lights on top. Our analog cameras kept focusing on the lights as the source of movement, not the patrons we wanted to watch.”

The overhead lighting in the cashier area was also problematic, washing out any visible details on bill denominations. In the parking lots, flashing emergency lights from first responders, vehicle headlights and exterior floodlights resulted in blurry video of little forensic value.

The Hard Rock Casino decided it was time to turn the tables on poor surveillance footage. The surveillance team began a secondary build out of network cameras capable of compensating for any lighting condition while delivering exceptionally high quality recordings of every casino activity. When the new system was completely installed, they simply turned off the live view of the old system and began running the new one.

The house outsmarts scammers with cameras

With so much money at stake, the Hard Rock Casino has had its fair share of scammers and schemers looking to make an easy buck. But thanks to the cameras, the venue is able to catch them in the act.

Network cameras in the cashier area deliver such clarity that it is easy to distinguish between bill denominations. In the parking lot, cameras help to provide evidentiary quality video even with ambulances and patrol cars flashing their lights. The auto-tracking and auto-touring options in many of the cameras provide added safety to staff and guests when the parking areas are less active.

Cameras have also been instrumental in helping the Surveillance Department apprehend scammers trying to dispose of counterfeit credit cards while eluding casino staff and local law enforcement. “We’re able to track the individual with the cameras, see whether he’s dropped the fake ID and counterfeit card in a trash receptacle or a drinking cup or whatever,” said Underwood. “When we retrieve this hard evidence we can use it to successfully prosecute the individual.”

Insight over the entire operation

The Hard Rock Casino has expanded its use of camera footage beyond safety and loss prevention. With the advent of video analytics such as heat mapping, the surveillance team is able to share valuable insights about prime real estate within the casino. “We can show the marketing department or the gaming department or the food service people where people are congregating most frequently, where foot traffic tends to bottleneck,” said Underwood.

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