With more than 2,000 cameras installed at the Borgata by North American Video, casino security personnel can closely monitor activity in the casino and all around the complex. Through the strategic placement of cameras, the Borgata’s video security & surveillance system achieves almost 100 percent coverage of the facility, allowing personnel to track an individual in and around the property without ever losing visual contact.
Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., is the first casino hotel to be built in Atlantic City in 13 years – and it appears to have been well worth the wait. The $1.1 billion joint venture between Boyd Gaming Corp. and MGM MIRAGE, which opened its doors on July 3, 2003, features a 125,000 square-foot casino, 11 restaurants, 11 retail shops, a 50,000-square-foot spa, 70,000 square feet of event space, a 1,000-seat theater, and parking for 7,100 cars. The gaming space includes 145 gaming tables, 3,640 slot machines, Keno and a race book.

Borgata’s security and surveillance personnel keep watch over the massive facility with a highly sophisticated video surveillance and security system designed and implemented by North American Video, Brick, N.J. The system features more than 2,000 video cameras strategically located throughout the facility and parking areas. The cameras are controlled by two Pelco CM9760 matrix switching systems.

In essence, there are two video systems deployed at Borgata. A 1312 x 64 matrix system is located in the surveillance department’s control room and a 896 x 16 matrix system is installed in the security department’s control room. The surveillance system employs the majority of the 2,000 cameras installed at Borgata to monitor and record all activities in the gaming areas and locations where cash is handled. The security video system is deployed to monitor the hotel and spa facilities, shopping and dining areas, back of the house areas, building perimeter and parking facilities.

Above, Greg Schaaf, surveillance director at the Borgata, stands in front of one of the VCR racks installed by North American Video. The Borgata records all activity from more than 2,000 cameras installed throughout the facility.
Cameras are connected to the two control rooms via coax and unshielded twisted pair (UTP) Category 5 (CAT5). Cameras connected on the coax system use 20-gauge RG59 Plenum, which runs from each camera location to one of a few dozen IDF closets located throughout the Borgata, where the cameras’ power supplies are also located. Here, the video and data signals are processed through data distribution units and run through patch panels that connect to the control rooms.

Cameras connected with CAT5 are generally longer camera runs ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 feet. These cameras are connected using Nitek Active Hubs, which allow the transmission of real-time monochrome and/or color video over UTP telephone wire. The interference rejection ability of the Nitek Active Hubs allow video signals to co-exist in the same wire bundle as telephone, data or low-voltage power circuits.

Joe Gyurics, national director of technical services at North American Video, has been on-site at the Borgata for more than two years supervising every phase of installation and activation of the facility’s sophisticated video security and surveillance system.

The Designers & the Design

The massive video surveillance and security system was designed by North American Video’s engineering staff in conjunction with Richard Billington, surveillance equipment manager for Boyd Gaming, and Greg Schaaf, surveillance director at Borgata.

“We approached this project in a unique manner – with me being located in Las Vegas and Greg Schaaf on-site at Borgata in Atlantic City,” Billington says. “We had been working on a general spec with consulting engineers about a year before a security systems integrator was selected. After reviewing several integrators, we selected North American Video because we felt they were best qualified to be our eyes and ears on this massive installation. This was a management consideration as much as equipment purchase decision. From our initial discussions, it was clear that we were all on the same page.

“I started working with Rich Billington approximately three years ago on the initial camera layout and system design,” Schaaf says. “When construction started, we worked very closely with the contractors and construction crews, but most of this was coordinated by North American Video. Their team put together the actual system layouts from the architectural plans and generated the CAD drawings for the matrix systems well before we were on-site.

“Things really started to kick in from September 2002 through July 2003 when we entered the installation phase. There are about 4 million feet of cable in the video system alone, which is just phenomenal. And even with the changes, North American Video was great – they handled the pressure extremely well and met all our expectations. With that kind of team behind you, it helps make life a lot easier,” Schaaf says. The hundreds of miles of cable required to connect all the cameras were installed by Petrocelli/ Palmieri Electric, who worked closely with North American Video throughout the project.

Diane Petrone, fire command center manager, and Michael Schultz, security manager at the Borgata keep close tabs on all activities outside the gaming areas using the high-performance video security system installed by North American Video.
“One of the unique aspects about the design of Borgata is that there are no catwalks in the ceilings. This is the first casino in Atlantic City that was not required to have catwalks. Instead, there is this elaborate ceiling which required us to have cameras placed in the ceiling before anything was placed on the casino floor. As a result, we had to be very exact in positioning cameras since it would be very difficult to physically change camera locations once they were installed,” Schaaf explains.

“The biggest challenge with the security and surveillance installation at Borgata evolved around the size of the system and camera placements,” Schaaf says. “On paper everything looks good, but then you have to deal with the reality of getting camera signals from point A to point B, while making sure all the cameras are located in the best positions and the lengths of the cable runs don’t exceed performance requirements.

“I can’t emphasize the importance of planning when working on a video security and surveillance system for a new facility of this magnitude. We were fortunate in the sense that we did not make significant changes. The installation went pretty much as planned by North American Video. In fact, they were finished with the installation well ahead of schedule, so we had ample time to get the system up and running smoothly,” Schaaf states.

Greg Schaaf, surveillance director at the Borgata, and Ron Freschi, director of large systems sales at North American Video in the facility’s fire command control center, which houses the video security system as well as all life safety monitoring equipment.

Overseeing Functionality

Michael Schultz, director of security at Borgata joined the staff in June 2002 to assemble and manage the facility’s security and fire command staff.

“In addition to our security operations, fire command is responsible for the life safety systems at Borgata, which assures the well-being of every patron and employee that enters our facility,” Schultz says. “In addition to the video system in our control center, we monitor all of the system equipment for the elevators, escalators and fire alarm systems. It entails monitoring basically everything throughout the building and its perimeter.”

Diane Petrone is fire command center manager at Borgata, responsible for the daily operations of all the department’s systems. The fire command center is the central monitoring point for all the non-gaming areas and all the life safety systems in the building. The center houses more than 140 VCRs that continuously tape images 24/7/365 from every camera in the video security system. The staff changes tapes every 8 hours, which amounts to approximately 3,150 tapes per week.

Courtney Wilson monitors activity in and around the Borgata in the facility’s fire command center. The system is monitored 24/7/365 by the Borgata’s security staff.
“From the command center we’re able to control and adjust the pan, tilt, zoom and iris settings of the cameras. We have two people working here at all times – one on the life safety, one on the security end – and they’re constantly switching cameras and reviewing,” Petrone says.

In addition to command center’s video capabilities, Petrone and her staff monitor sensors on Borgata’s 45 elevators and nine escalators. “We also we have excellent camera coverage in our garage, and cameras monitor the electric gate that we can control from the command center,” Petrone adds.

“Our people have been on the site every day for almost the past two years while installing the system, through training and now in a continued support role,” says Ron Freschi, director of large systems sales at North American Video.

Given the high volume of traffic at Borgata, there has been little time to rest for the facility’s surveillance and security staff, but Schaaf and his staff are assured that North American Video is on hand to help assist them with every aspect of their video surveillance and security systems needs.