COVID-19 has dramatically impacted many industries and gaming is no exception. Periods of enforced closure followed by capacity limitations and movement restrictions have taken a tremendous toll, and a full recovery may still take quite some time.

As casinos around the world continue to reopen, they need to do so efficiently to safeguard customers and employees, while managing ever-changing operational regulations linked to virus management.

Surveillance technology is an integral part of the plan – particularly given its existing ‘must-have’ status in gaming. The right integrations and the right command and control software help casinos turn a security essential into a mechanism for making the new norm simpler without a significant investment in additional resources.

Capacity management

Regulations regarding the number of patrons permitted within a facility pose a unique challenge to gaming resorts. With multiple entrances and exits often connecting the casino to hotel elevator lobbies, hospitality spaces and wider leisure facilities, enforcing more structured access protocols can be tricky.

Positioning staff at various locations and maintaining manual counts of people entering and exiting a gaming floor inevitably invites the risk of human error. However, utilising integrated people counting technology allows control room operators to accurately track the number of people entering and exiting a property – regardless of how many entrance and exit points exist. This functionality provides auditable real-time capacity data to comply with local authorities as necessary.

Latest surveillance technology offers a workflow engine enabling casinos to automate standard operating procedures ensuring operators adhere to predefined protocols.

Coupled with people-counting technologies, custom workflows can be automated as occupancy limits are reached. The workflow then issues commands to appropriate staff via text, phone or radio comms regarding the necessary temporary access restrictions.

Heat mapping for improved sanitisation

Video analytics with heat mapping capabilities augment casino staff by providing more timely notifications to housekeeping on high-traffic public areas that warrant more frequent cleaning. An increased presence of cleaning staff in busier areas of the property reassures patrons their health and well-being are of the utmost priority.

In essence, a casino can leverage its investment in video cameras to effectively act as a second set of eyes improving the efficiencies of cleaning and hygiene programs.

Alerts can be automated as a part of a workflow, with communications being routed directly to the cleaning staff.

Protecting employees using contact tracing

No matter how many buildings, campus sites, or halls of residence are being monitored, security teams need to have complete situational awareness of live events as they unfold.

While protecting patrons is always top of mind for any casino property, the health and safety of employees is equally important. Much has been discussed about contact tracing of guests; however, maintaining a healthy workforce is critical as businesses reopen and transitioning staff from one department to another is not always straightforward.

Many properties will already be familiar with facial recognition integrations – commonly used for identifying high rollers or potential troublemakers. This type of technology can also be deployed for contact tracing.

Upon a report of an employee or guest testing positive for COVID-19, operators have the ability to rapidly filter video footage, locate the individual, and automate their search to review where the person has been and whom they may have had contact with while on the property.

Hours of review are completed in minutes, making it possible to minimise risks to other patrons or employees and make appropriate alerts to safeguard all individuals.

Surveillance – the hidden protector

Surveillance has traditionally been a touchy subject for casinos to discuss openly with customers. Rarely promoted, it is a regulatory necessity for the gaming industry to operate and a tool for tackling theft, fraud, and overall site security. Demonstrating protocol compliance has always been something casinos have had to do, but usually to please a gaming regulator or to meet specific local authority legislation.

Expanding the remit of surveillance to protect visitors' health, safety and security in the wake of COVID-19, demonstrating protocol enforcement and process compliance might also be a way to build trust and confidence in customers. Creating a positive approach to the evolving situation and a way to entice business back through the door.