Fond-du-Luth Casino

Case Study

Fond-du-Luth Casino

This Minnesota casino migrates to a high definition all-IP physical security solution with victor video management system, VideoEdge NVRs and Illustra IP cameras

The gaming industry in Minnesota generates $2.75 billion in revenue and draws 24.5 billion visitors each year. The 18 casinos in Minnesota owned and operated by Native American tribes play an important role. The casinos support 41,000 jobs statewide and provide 73 percent of the jobs in the state’s rural communities. One of these casinos, the Fond-du-Luth Casino is owned and operated by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa of Minnesota.

Fond-du-Luth Casino

In 2015, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa began a construction project that included a $6.2 million renovation of the Fond-du-Luth Casino, housed in a former Sears & Roebuck department store building in the heart of downtown Duluth. The project included a complete overhaul of the casino’s two floors, a total of 20,000 square feet, plus the casino’s video surveillance and access control systems. It was important to the casino to remain open during the renovation and maintain the 24-hour availability of its 700 slot machines, four gaming tables and six casino cages to visitors.

Working with its long-time systems integrator partner North American Video (NAV), Fond-du-Luth determined that an all IP, full-integrated solution was the best fit for the casino because the construction project provided the opportunity to install a new surveillance system without concerns for existing legacy equipment. The casino also needed a competitively priced solution that wouldn’t exceed the budget for the project.

One of the major challenges of the Fond-du-Luth project was its abbreviated timeline. The surveillance system installation needed to be scheduled in conjunction with the architectural redesign and reconstruction of the casino over a three-month period. Fond-du-Luth Casino also required that the new surveillance command center fit within a small location and footprint, which meant that hardware had to be compact in size. Fond-du-Luth wanted a video wall in the command center as well, one that surveillance operators could use to monitor multiple cameras simultaneously.

In addition, Fond-du-Luth had to consider ease of use and the amount of training time required for operators on the new integrated solution’s user interface. The casino’s surveillance staff needed to be able to learn how to use the system quickly, so an intuitive solution that required minimum training was ideal.

Prior to selecting a new solution, the casino performed video surveillance shootouts between their top three choices. Using multiple workstations simultaneously, they compared key system metrics such as ease of operation, saving views, and searching. Fond-du-Luth Casino sought an intuitive video management system with a single user interface that would make everyday tasks easier, giving surveillance operators the capability to perform single and multiple camera reviews. The new security solution needed to streamline this and other review processes so that surveillance operators could spend more time on active surveillance.

The casino wanted to take advantage of current imaging technology and replace all of the cameras in its facilities with new IP cameras. Prior to the 2015 renovation, the casino’s facilities used analog PTZ cameras, which couldn’t be quickly and easily positioned to follow suspicious incidents, a capability needed by the casino’s surveillance division. The casino wanted not only the high quality of analog imaging, but also wanted the flexibility to allow surveillance operators to zoom in to view and capture details when monitoring casino activities.

For its access control system, Fond-du-Luth Casino’s vision was future-focused. The casino sought an integrated access control and video solution that could expand with the casino’s growth. While replacement of its 30-year-old analog access system wasn’t part of the 2015 project, the casino intends to eventually migrate its entire analog access control system to IP access control.

The Solution
After extensive testing, Fond-du-Luth Casino chose a Tyco Security Products security solution consisting of American Dynamics’ victor video management system to manage its 400 new Illustra Pro IP PTZ and 5 megapixel mini-dome cameras and 25 VideoEdge network video recorders NVRs. The new solution prepares Fond-du-Luth for future expansion and integration of IP-based Kantech access control in the future, while providing the highly accurate camera positioning, high resolution imaging and the fast, intuitive video review process needed for their operations.

Illustra 5MP Fisheye camera
Fond-du-Luth’s surveillance staff drastically decreased searching time, enabling them to increase their time spent on active surveillance. Timeline control facilitates quick playback and victor’s Clip Builder and Image Editor let the casino’s surveillance operators edit, clip and export videos, a function that was high atop Fond-du-Luth’s wish list. Operators can also search video history in a matter of seconds and search across multiple recorders simultaneously.

FAD2089 Full System Matrix Keyboard

Fond-du-Luth’s surveillance operators use American Dynamics’ 2089 matrix keyboards with tactile full-travel keys, giving them virtual hands-on control of cameras and views. All system activities can be controlled directly from the keyboard and each keyboard is customizable for its user with up to 1,000 user-defined macros, so that operators can program simple keystrokes to perform many system tasks, improving efficiency and overall usability. The casino’s surveillance operators were accustomed to using keyboard commands on their previous analog video surveillance system, so training time on the new matrix keyboards was minimal, meeting another goal on Fond-du-Luth’s list.

“The amount of time that our staff is able to perform active surveillance is greatly increased, and we spend much less time physically reviewing the recorded video,” said Bryan Kowalik, Surveillance Technical Manager for Fond-du-Luth Casino. “Surveillance operators only need one keyboard to pull up video and they can quickly search the footage without moving to another computer. It’s made our operators’ jobs easier.”

Replacing existing analog cameras with Illustra Pro PTZ cameras in locations such as elevators and deploying Illustra Pro 5 MP mini-dome cameras in low light areas like the bar lounge and cages gives the casino the versatility of views needed to monitor live and recorded activity. The new Illustra IP cameras cover double the space than the previous cameras, saving them a significant portion of their budget by reducing the number of cameras required to cover the same area. Illustra IP cameras also provide H.264 compression to reduce bandwidth consumption, and lower network traffic and storage costs.

Fond du Luth - Security Team

The Illustra Pro 5 MP mini-domes capture better images of guests on the casino floor, enabling easier identification of the presence of high rollers and faster response to individuals not allowed on the gaming floor. Additionally, the Illustra mini-dome cameras deliver the clarity necessary for operators to clearly view serial numbers on bills or individual numbers on Keno tickets at each machine. Illustra Pro PTZ high-resolution cameras with 512° per second positioning provide low latency for the efficient tracking of suspicious behavior in the casino cage areas.

“Fond-du-Luth was the result of a great partnership between Tyco Security Products, North American Video and the casino,” said Rich Branda, NAV’s System Sales Executive. “The casino’s surveillance team understood the complexity of putting these systems together, which helped us to finish our portion of the work on time.”

Fond du Luth - Security Team

The surveillance room utilizes a four by two monitor video wall with eight 55-inch monitors for convenient 24/7 surveillance monitoring. Security staff can view a total of 32 monitors in a Virtual Matrix configuration on the video wall and the surveillance room includes five workstations and three operator desks. Using the new video wall, staff can examine procedural errors and monitor both employee and patron activity while simultaneously watching live surveillance feeds from the casino’s 400 cameras. Using victor’s Command Center, operators also can share and communicate information with other operators, pushing live and recorded video from one monitor to another to ensure rapid response to critical events.

According to Dennis McCauley, Fond-du-Lac’s Lead Surveillance Technician, Fond-du-Luth’s surveillance operators have found the victor platform and VideoEdge easy to use and understand, citing their simple programming and layout as intuitive and user friendly. From adding cameras to the system to navigating guard views, training costs on the victor VMS software for surveillance operators have been minimal and the hardware required for the new video platform has a small footprint.

Fond du Luth - Security Team

Fond-du-Luth Casino also sought advanced technical training on the new victor-based solution so that its surveillance staff could take ownership of the system’s ongoing service and maintenance. The advanced training showed its value to the casino very quickly, where a potential issue was resolved without requiring a service call.

The Future
Fond-du-Luth Casino found the security solution it was looking for with victor video management, Illustra IP cameras and VideoEdge system designed by NAV. With the new system, the casino has the higher quality images, an intuitive, user-friendly interface and options for expansion that it was seeking.

“We can anticipate our future needs and are set up for expansion from the get-go to easily add cameras, integrate Kantech access control and even expand our security to cover other locations,” said McCauley. “The scalable victor platform, VideoEdge and Illustra cameras will take us 10 years down the road, with very little upkeep required.”

Fond-du-Luth Casino continues working with NAV to add more cameras to the victor / Video Edge system, which is scalable to 500 cameras as currently configured. Looking ahead, the casino plans to migrate to all-IP access control and to manage its access control and video surveillance together using victor. Whatever the future holds, Fond-du-Luth is well-prepared with its new state-of-the-art, all-IP video surveillance system and knows that NAV and Tyco Security Products have their back – they will be there to help when Fond-du-Luth needs it, offering technical support, advice and guidance all along the way.

The Customer – Fond-du-Luth Casino:
Fond-du-Luth Casino in Duluth, Minn., opened in 1986 and is owned and operated by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. It is one of two casinos in the state operated by the Fond du Lac Band, with its sister casino, the Black Bear Casino, located in nearby Carlton, Minn. The casino currently includes two gaming floors, 700 slot machines, 4 blackjack tables and two bar lounges and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fond-du-Luth Casino’s total gaming space is 20,000 and is one of 18 casinos in the state, which together welcome 24.5 billion visitors each year.

The Integrator – North American Video
NAV delivers integrated security solutions to industry leaders in these markets and more: gaming, education, corporate campuses, transportation, critical infrastructure, government, healthcare, financial, retail, commercial, airports/ports, nuclear generation plants and homeland security. From analysis, system design and implementation through training and project management, NAV services clients at every stage of the process, specializing in customer support that continues after the sale, with preventive maintenance, software support and more. NAV's core principles are: to provide excellent care and superior service, offer technology-driven and scalable solutions, and to provide expert, in-house technical knowledge to its customers.

The Solutions Provider – Tyco Security Products
Tyco Security Products is a unified group of the most comprehensive world-leading premium access control, video, location-based tracking and intrusion solutions in the security industry. Tyco Security Products conducts business in over 177 countries around the world, in multiple languages and employs over 2,800 employees globally, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, sales, service and logistics teams in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Our products, built by developers from all product disciplines, consistently allow customers to see more, do more, and save more across multiple industries and segments including healthcare, government, transportation, finance, retail, commercial and residential. Worldwide, Tyco Security Products helps protect 42% of Fortune 500 companies, transportation systems on five continents, 37% of the world’s top 100 retailers, over two million commercial enterprises, thousands of students in more than 900 educational facilities, and over five million private residences.

Case Summary


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