The 5-star Atlantic Palace Hotel in Agadir, Morocco, features a 24-hour casino that offers slot machines, roulette and many forms of poker including tournament play. The casino is Morocco's premier gambling venue with an international restaurant overlooking the games rooms. Gamblers are attracted to the progressive jackpots of the machines and the country’s only bingo hall. The casino is fully integrated into the surrounding hotel which is 200 metres from the Atlantic Ocean.
Gaming venues require video surveillance that can supply instant playback at high resolution in order to resolve disputes promptly and so protect the company’s revenue. Casinos must assess visitor behavior, guarding against card-counters, sleight of hand, substitution of dice and theft of chips. The casino required cameras throughout the venue, providing image quality that would allow video analytics software to report on visitor movement from table to table, footfall and frequency of machine usage in the event of abnormal payouts.
The system was implemented by leading Moroccan integrator CST Centre Sécurité et Traitement. CST realized that their customer needed the image quality provided by leading megapixel cameras and appreciated that managers at the casino required advanced vari-focal functionality.
The integrator specified Hikvision network megapixel cameras which offer a high-resolution video preview of 1600 x 1200 pixels (DS-2CD752MF-FB) or 1280 x 720 pixels (DS-2CD762MF-FB).
The cameras support dual compression streaming, network intercom functions, sensor alarm input and motion detection. These units are operating at the casino alongside Hikvision's DS-2DF1-617H IP-addressable speed dome cameras. The domes benefit from a vandal-resistant housing whose compact dimensions contribute to covert surveillance that will not distract visitors. The need to cover every gaming table at high frame rates throughout 24-hour operation produces enormous RAID demands and the dome units optimize storage requirements by employing Hikvision's H.264 dual stream real-time compression.
A platform that can support multi-screen preview and playback as a high-definition preview is crucial in gaming environments where pit bosses must settle disputes running to thousands of dollars according to the denomination or color of a single card or the positioning of chips. An IP network that could function with minimal transmission delay using IP keyboards was high on the client's requirements together with smooth pan/tilt/zoom functionality that was also free of any time lag. Like any company operating a gambling venue, management at the Casino Agadir Atlantic Palace must detect subtle behavior from would-be fraudsters such as the programming of slot machines using hand-held devices, the palming of chips and switching of cards. Movement associated with this activity can be barely discernible to the human eye, and delay or degradation of image through limitations in the performance of cameras, telemetry or NVR is not acceptable.
An initial challenge was to integrate the Hikvision IP domes and megapixel cameras with Aimetis Symphony video management and analytics software. Facilities managers also needed to ensure the installation could receive data from legacy third-party analog cameras, a task that was achieved using Hikvision's DS-4016HCI compression boards which exploit H.264 and variable bitrate coding to provide high compression ratios while still preserving image quality. Security staff at the casino have already commented on longer recording times, system reliability and reduced maintenance costs since optimizing RAID usage.
Aimetis Symphony is being used with a dual-redundant hot swap server that has been custom built by installers CST. BenBrahim Wassima of CST said: "This is a best-of-breed solution based on vari-focal functionality in the Hikvision cameras and the efficiency of the company's compression algorithms. The end-user demanded full frame rate since a single skipped frame can determine the outcome of a claim against the casino or expose fraudulent activity. But bandwidth remained at a premium since there is extensive CCTV surveillance elsewhere in the hotel complex for general logistic and safety purposes. Reducing data storage demands and associated costs were also considerations."
Comments from pit bosses at the Casino Agadir Atlantic Palace when settling disputes and operational difficulties with the new system suggest that return on investment (ROI) has been almost immediate. It should be remembered that a table is usually shut down while management reviews disputes, so the disruption associated with examining footage must be minimized with search, playback and analysis being streamlined.
CST Centre Sécurité et Traitement is the leading CCTV integrator in Morocco, employing 150 staff at offices in the country’s principal cities. Major contracts include CCTV surveillance at Total petroleum stations and storage facilities, electricity generation grids and production plants owned by the American-based multinational Proctor & Gamble Co.
Mr Polo Cai, Vice President of Hikvision, said: "In view of their need to detect fraud and theft as well as minimizing table downtime and ensuring the safety of patrons, casinos are among the most discerning users of CCTV and associated technology such as video analytics. Image degradation in a sector where cash and gambling chips are being handled is unacceptable and Hikvision is delighted that the integrity of footage produced by its cameras is being endorsed in this manner."