5-Star Audio Video Systems, Sturgis, S.D., installs security at the Silverado Casino in South Dakota. Photo Courtesy of 5-Star Audio Video Systems

Dennis Roberts’ interest in digital video started with $25,000 worth of equipment, capable of recording a maximum of about 20 minutes of video. The money and his efforts were spent on making documentary films and commercials. “That’s when I first got involved in digital video,” Roberts said.

In 1988, Roberts, owner of 5-Star Audio Video Systems, Sturgis, S.D., started out installing mostly audio and video systems, along with small security systems. About 15 years ago, said Roberts, the gaming industry in South Dakota “kicked back in,” and that’s when his business evolved even further.

“Gaming started and it didn’t have any video requirements in South Dakota,” Roberts recalled, referring to South Dakota Commission on Gaming rules at the time. “It started out very simple and now we have full-fledged gaming.”

Roberts’ company is responsible for many of the casino’s security systems in the Deadwood, S.D.-area. This year, 5-Star will set up all the sound, surveillance systems and perimeter security for three new casinos already under construction in the area.

Dennis Roberts, owner 5-Star Audio Video Systems, Sturgis, S.D., continues to work with the South Dakota Commission on Gaming to adopt new technologies in video and surveillance. Photo Courtesy of 5-Star Audio Video Systems
And Roberts plans on installing only the best equipment. About four or five years ago, Roberts was walking the long, gigantic isles of ISC West, Las Vegas. At the time, he said, he was looking for digital video equipment, and the few that had it, were very expensive. “I knew I couldn’t get anything too expensive, because my clients would have laughed at me,” he said.

Then Roberts said, he ran into a company called i3DVR, Toronto, talked to the three people manning the booth and went home with some newly purchased digital video recording equipment. Roberts saw digital video recording as a great opportunity for his customers and his business. His next step? Approach the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

At the time, the state’s gaming commission did not have digital video recording incorporated into its regulations. The challenge was not in getting the gaming commission to accept the newer technology, but to get them to include digital video installations in its regulations.

“We had to get it started and we started as early as possible,” Roberts said, who met with the commission and worked on figuring out the steps he needed to take to be able to use digital video recording in the gaming industry. “We got the rules written up so we could get out of the dinosaur age,” he laughed.

From then on, Roberts began receiving calls through word of mouth about 5-Star and his digital video installations. Audio, video and security companies have entered the South Dakota area steadily. “There are many, many security companies in the area,” Roberts said. “It took a lot of time and effort with the gaming commission, and it has allowed other companies the opportunity to come in – all for the good of competition.”

But Roberts isn’t done yet. A technology fanatic, he continues to look for better technology to provide his customers. Currently, Roberts is testing motion-sensor-based recording at two sites, and is working with the Commission on Gaming to get this accepted and written into gaming codes for the future. “It just keeps getting better and better,” he said.