The Copper Coulee Casino in Medicine Hat, Alberta was built in the spirit of adventure. As the casino owners tell the story: “We see our guests [as] fun, playful, modern, savvy and adventurous. We believe our guests will want to try something new and different.” This sentiment resonated with the casino’s security team, who realized in 2021 that the casino needed a security revamp. A legacy video surveillance system was not meeting their needs for crisp, high-resolution video and appropriate coverage, both necessities in an environment with a lot of movement and opportunity for fraud or theft. The casino’s storage solution needed more stability and backup support that would ensure uninterrupted data storage.
Situational awareness at the casino was a concern: the legacy video surveillance system provided poor image quality and the PTZs were hard to control. As the security manager of the casino, Dale Burman considered several issues when researching the system upgrade. He wanted to replace the entire system and address issues the security team had been having, such as needing more coverage but not being able to pull new wires. Drastic contrasts in lighting around the casino made it difficult to capture clear images. Constant recording was required, while the footages needed to be stored for more than 20 days. However, they had no server hardware redundancy, putting them at risk for losing precious footage if the recorder or server failed.
Burman turned to Dahua solutions to modernize the casino’s security system and prepare for a seamless expansion in the future. The casino required cameras with 30 fps functionality and high pixel density so that operators could zoom in to capture details in the recorded footage. “Basically, it makes all your cameras mini PTZs, which are very steady. Thus, we’re gaining high-quality pictures even at nighttime or in darker areas of the casino,” Burman said. More than 140 units of 4MP ePoE dome cameras (IPC-HDBW5442E-ZHE) were installed, with True Wide Dynamic Range, Smart IR, and Starlight+ ensuring updated and detailed images in the difficult backlighting and dim lighting conditions in the casino. Two 4x2MP cameras (IPC-PDBW5831-B360) provide 360-degree views of the casino floor and exterior lobby.
The casino also added 32 units of 4K Starlight PTZs with 40x optical zoom lenses (SD8A840WA-HNF). Cameras with pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality improved from the previous models were operational over existing cabling thanks to Dahua ePoE technology. The PTZs, part of Dahua WizMind series, also have advanced features and analytics including predictive focus analysis, electronic image stabilization, Intelligent Video System (IVS) with auto-tracking, etc. The cameras can send perimeter alerts about humans and vehicles, letting security know about problematic situations or giving cues to managers to send more staff or security when needed.
Operators can easily monitor the system and man the PTZs with Dahua Security Software (DSS) Pro Video Management System (VMS) client and NKB1000 controllers on local, existing PCs. Other users have permissions to connect with the client to access exterior and entryway cameras. DSS Pro embedded software has no licensing fees, reducing the overall cost of the security solution.
The casino invested heavily in boosting recording capabilities, with full recorder and server hardware redundancy. Two DSS VMS Servers (DSS7016DR-S2) and two 16 HDD Enterprise Video Storage (EVS) devices (EVS5016S-R) with RAID 5 arrays were installed in failover configuration. “We have 2 servers working together as master servers,” explained Denis Boulet, Dahua’s technical consultant for Canada. “If the first one fails, the second one – the ‘hot spare’ – will just take over fluidly.”
Customized playback firmware was another benefit Dahua provided. “Casino security wanted to play back multiple channels of video at various speeds at the same time in order to follow a subject between [the] cameras’ fields of view. Dahua went the extra mile and customized our playback software for that use. It can play back up to 64x forward or backward,” Boulet remarked.
Today, the Copper Coulee Casino has a complete security system that includes best-in-class, low-light cameras with good backlight compensation. “We’re very happy with the cameras,” Burman reported. “Image quality is outstanding.” The fully redundant storage solution enables the casino to capture activity for forensic purposes.
Shortly after the new Dahua components were in place, their forensic capabilities were put to test. A guest misplaced his car key. Someone found it, took it to the parking lot, and was able to identify the car it belonged to. The culprit then ransacked the car and stole items from it. Thanks to ease of playback and high-resolution footage from the Dahua system, the casino was able to quickly provide valuable data to law enforcement. The case was resolved within 24 hours.
“Before, we wouldn’t have had as much detail in the video,” Burman commented. “Now, it’s perfect for identifying people and keeping the images the police need to do their part and get the results they require. Being able to work with an outside agency so effortlessly lets us know we can continue to protect people and staff inside the casino.”
Copper Coulee was relieved knowing that when it’s time to expand, the security team can easily add additional cameras and access control on the same platform. “Everything works together as one,” said Burman. “It definitely outperforms what we had before.”