Near the Oklahoma-Texas state line you’ll find the WinStar World Casino and Resort, owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. It’s considered the largest casino in the U.S. and one of the largest globally based on gaming floor space: 600,000 sq. feet with nine gaming plazas and over 8,500 electronic games. The casino also features 100 table games, a 55-table poker room, Racers Off-Track betting parlor, Bingo and high-stakes rooms.
Guests also find retail shops, restaurants and event centers throughout the resort. Other facilities at WinStar include a 3-tower hotel with 1,400 rooms, the 65,000-sq. ft. convention center, and a golf academy with two championship 18-hole courses.
“WinStar Casino used to have three different video systems, and it was difficult to coordinate actions or follow events around the large property. We needed to make a change,” said Kenny Mayfield, director of surveillance for the Chickasaw Nation. “We standardized on one video platform and camera solution for the entire casino and resort – we now have about 4,400 cameras.”
Freedom to Choose Component Brands
In expanding and standardizing the WinStar video system, flexibility was a crucial factor. Open platform video management software (VMS) from Milestone Systems allowed the IT team to select an appropriate server and storage system for the facility.
“Our IT department is like our internal integrator, and they have vetted the servers they like to use,” Mayfield said. “We determine the camera layout and models we need, and we decide on the required retention times. Our IT team takes that information and designs a storage solution. The open platform VMS allows them to select from a wide range of providers for a perfect fit, regardless of the brand.”
Currently Mayfield considers their system to be semi-centralized, able to view most of their sites remotely via the Milestone web client. The team has several casinos that are linked together and can monitor one another, and some of the dedicated casino staff monitor multiple casino properties.
License Plate Recognition
In 2020 Mayfield and his team have been deploying Milestone License Plate Recognition. They have the system at several sites, and it is working well. They can see that it will help improve efficiencies.
“Our primary use case so far has been assisting with Amber Alerts, searching properties for license plate matches,” Mayfield said. “The cameras and the LPR system save a lot of valuable time, and we can help locate a child or save someone from harm. It’s a powerful tool.”
The team also uses the LPR system to search for reported stolen cars and identify abandoned vehicles.
“The integrated LPR is nice as an extra tab in the VMS, super easy for our staff to click, type in a tag, and take a quick look at everything in the parking lot,” said Nicholas Burger, the senior IT administrator for the nation. “Anything like that where we can stay in the same system is what we strive for, to keep it simple for the frontline users.”
The nation’s options for add-ons and third-party integrations are now almost limitless. Deploying access control integration is a next step, and they’ve been looking into people-counting analytics and direct point-of-sale integration software.
“We’re testing third-party applications to find solutions that can provide more real-time information,” Burger said. “It’s all about keeping our operators working in a single system with easy access to the information they need to make good decisions and take action appropriately.”
This article is excerpted from the original version by Ralph C. Jensen, editor in chief at Security Today magazine.