Casino Admiral – Mendrisio, Switzerland
The Admiral Casino in Mendrisio is Switzerland’s number one gaming location regarding turnover levels. In 2006, the casino was able to book record revenues of almost 133mn Swiss francs. Wherever such large amounts of money change hands surveillance needs to be first-class. German CCTV manufacturer Dallmeier once again seized the opportunity to demonstrate the company’s many years of experience.
The Admiral Casino, which is part of the Novomatic Group of Companies, is located in the southernmost part of Switzerland, close to the border with Italy. Its huge success is mainly due to its favourable geographic position, as it is directly located at the motorway slip road to Mendrisio. It has sufficient parking spaces and Italy is just a 5 minute car drive away. Gaming is a commodity, and at the Admiral Casino it is being offered as a customer-oriented service, which is embedded in an entertainment concept that interactively combines culture, entertainment, and dining as well as shopping and gaming. The Foxtown shopping canter, which accommodates the casino, further promotes the attractiveness of the location. The weekends alone draw in more than 10,000 visitors on average to the shopping mall, many of whom let the day fade away at the casino after an exhaustive shopping tour.
When you enter the casino you are immediately fascinated by its glamorous atmosphere.
Magnificent columns decorate the entrance, and once you are inside the casino you inevitably feel like you are walking into the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The ceiling looks like a star-spangled sky with thousands of small lights sparkling like stars, illuminating the casino in a unique way.
In the front area the Admiral Casino offers 150 high-tech slot machines of many different versions, which make the gambler’s heart leap for joy. All gambling machines in the former entertainment hall – by the way the largest in Switzerland at the time – are arranged in a way that prevents the congestion and ensures clarity.
The 31 gambling tables are also arranged in a target-oriented and customer friendly manner. And, the permanence boards are visible from any direction, which allows the guest to simultaneously participate in more than one game at different tables. There are three types of table games: American Roulette, Black Jack, and Punto Banco.
High-tech and user-friendliness in video surveillance
Obviously, the casino wanted the surveillance system to represent the same amount of high-tech and user-friendliness it offered the customers. The casino's management had a clear goal: a complete video system incorporating redundancy with minimal downtime, 24h permanent recording with enough storage capacity to meet the 28 days of storage required by Swiss law. Additionally, the management demanded the integration of the existing PTZ dome cameras. Needless to say, high picture quality, easy operation, and flexible expandability were taken for granted.
Regensburg based CCTV/IP specialist Dallmeier eventually won the bid for the development and implementation of the surveillance system. Urs-Holger Spiecker, general manager at the Admiral Casino, explains: “Dallmeier’s approach to a solution convinced us. All our requirements were met and we have also received valuable tips – when you are working with Dallmeier you notice their wide experience in that area. Also, right from the beginning, we knew that we were in good hands and that our wishes would be taken seriously.", Spiecker says.
In order to be able to offer the customer an ideal video surveillance system the project was divided into several stages.
In the first stage of the project, the Dallmeier Casino Project Team made an on-site visit. Important issues were clarified ahead of the development and implementation of a customised surveillance system for the casino.
The Dallmeier approach to solving a problem is always based on the so-called HSCES. This abbreviation stands for High Secure Central Encoding Storage, which means high-availability storage directly at the encoder. Recording is network-independent, therefore it remains intact even in the case of disturbances or a complete network failure. This allows Dallmeier to guarantee the highest availability of its comprehensive solution because there is no single-point-of-failure, which means that the failure of an individual component would not cause a breakdown of the entire system.
At the Admiral Casino in Mendrisio, all cameras record for 28 days on Dallmeier DIS-2/M recorders with two 400GB hard disks and a frame rate of 12.5fps. In addition, individual cameras record on a DIS-2/M with a 250GB hard disk for seven days, at a frame rate of 25fps.
The DIS-2/M is a modular recording and transmission device in a 19" rack slide-in design. Its flexible layout makes it the ideal solution for the surveillance of critical casino areas, which demand high-quality recording and real-time transmission (broadcast quality). The system comprises up to 10 modules based on the Linux security operating system that records directly onto the integrated memory. In this way the availability of the data can be guaranteed even in the event of a network failure. In order to further increase failure safety the system enables redundant recording on the spot wherein hard disks of different capacities can be operated within one system (mixed operation of capacities). Additionally, redundant power supply units ensure uninterrupted voltage supply in the recorder.
However, if a disruption occurs, the defective components can be replaced channel by channel. Owing to the hot-plug-functionality, the modules and power supply units can be exchanged during operation, thus the downtime is reduced to a minimum.
In the unlikely event that both hard disks of a DIS-2/M should fail at the same time, the recording of the data would still be secured. The operator and overview monitors are connected to a Dallmeier DIS-1/S which takes over the recording of the image data.
Work stations and analogue monitor walls with several monitors were installed for the operation of the system. The system can be controlled via keypad, jog-shuttle, and customized graphical user interfaces.
Furthermore, Dallmeier provided the appropriate management system.
SeMSy®, the Security Management System by Dallmeier, enables easy operation and administration of several media data streams and provides live-rendering and recording of video and audio data at any point in a networked system. Open interfaces allowed the integration of the existing PTZ dome cameras into the system. The Admiral Casino Mendrisio is already well-equipped for future requirements today since additional network components can be integrated into the network at later points in time without limitations.
The major advantage of SeMSy® is that it can easily be customized in order to fulfil the individual requirements of the client. Therefore, it was not only possible to personalize the graphical user interface but to also add new functions which provided the Swiss casino with the precise software solution they required.
Through SeMSy®, the entire system can be configured centrally from one location. Once a workstation has been configured, those settings can easily be transmitted to individual DVRs or workstations.
Before the system was handed over to the customer it was set up and thoroughly tested in Dallmeier's state-of-the-art FAT Centre (Factory Acceptance Test) at the manufacturing facility in Regensburg.
During the next stage of the project the entire system was installed and commissioned at the customer's premises through the local system integrator Vitcom SA in cooperation with our authorized branch office Divinet GmbH. After successful testing the video signals were switched outside the casino's operating hours, which interrupted recording for only about 15 seconds.
Both systems were operated simultaneously for one month before the existing system was finally switched off. That time was used to give the security personnel comprehensive training. Moreover, the flexible system architecture allowed further improvements to be made prior to the actual delivery and to take into account additional customer requests regarding the GUI. “We were very glad that Dallmeier fulfilled our requirement to have both systems run simultaneously for a month without any problems. The requirements of the Swiss Casino Commission are very strict and the time was used to make sure we complied with them."
High investment protection
All Dallmeier systems are of modular design - an approach that makes expansion simple and straightforward. Whether it is hard or software components, it does not matter: The modular design keeps the system open to new technologies and possibilities at any time. In case of an expansion it is not necessary to change the existing hardware because add-on modules can easily be installed.
With the Dallmeier solution, the Admiral Casino Mendrisio now has an innovative and future-ready management system, which can be customized to meet the casino's individual needs and offers flexibility and scalability in order to fulfil future requirements.
Mr. Spiecker is convinced: “We are perfectly satisfied with the system. Dallmeier has definitely been the right choice!"