The Franklin Hotel, built in 1903 in Deadwood, S.D., is undergoing a renovation to its original condition.

Deadwood, S.D., may be trading in on the notoriety of its founding through the recent HBO series “Deadwood,” but the South Dakota Gaming Commission ensures that the days of the Wild West are over in the casinos it oversees, like the new one at the recently remodeled Franklin Hotel in Deadwood.

Opened June 4, 1903, the historic hotel offered guests amenities that were rare at the time, such as telephones, running water, radiant heat and electricity in each room. Past guests include President Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Pearl Buck and John Wayne. More recent guests include members of the Kennedy family, Mary Hart and country singers Willie Nelson and Big & Rich.

Off the hotel lobby is a new casino that is safeguarded by a video system from i3DVR International, Scarborough, Ontario.

Restoring the hotel, which has been the center of the town’s cultural and social life, was the goal of the first phase of the restoration. To date, the lower and street levels of the hotel have been renovated. This included installing a state-of-the-art casino complex with eight gaming tables and 180 gaming devices, of which 172 are slot machines.

Helping to bring law and order to the casino is a security system that includes the extensive video surveillance required by the state’s gaming commission. The security company chosen for the project was 5 Star Audio/Video Systems, Sturgis, S.D.

5 Star has been providing security to casinos and other properties in the area, such as ski resorts, since the company was founded by Dennis Roberts in the mid-1980s.

The first phase of the restoration included 80 video surveillance cameras that are divided among five servers to provide the required 30 frames-per-second (fps), real-time video coverage of the tables and guests entering and exiting the facility.

Thomas Rensch, general manager of the Franklin Hotel and Silverado casinos, inspects multiple views of the hotel’s casino in the security control room.

“They had to have it back to exactly what it looked like when it first opened,” Roberts says of the casino. “They will be doing each floor and going up to the top and redoing each room, but to get it open so they could start gambling, they had to have those five servers in place and everything covered and OK’d by the South Dakota Gaming Commission.”

Cat 5e cable with five extra lines was run to each room. The cable also was run up the elevator shaft to each floor and outside to the front and rear for the perimeter of the property.

The DVR used in this casino was requested by the customer because it uses the product at other properties, including The Silverado Casino located across the street from the Franklin Hotel. Both the Franklin Hotel and the Silverado use digital video recording equipment from i3DVR International, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

Fixed cameras are used for the floor, slot machines, bar or anything that the customer or the gaming commission wants covered, Roberts notes. PTZs and high-resolution cameras are used for detail on the card tables.

Dome cameras are stationed strategically throughout the casino.

“There’s a certain resolution that has to be used, a certain type of lens, and we put those into a can and have a dome on it,” he relates. “Depending on the situation, I use different types of cameras. In some situations I have to use a different type because of quality. In certain gaming or medical situations, you have to step up into a very expensive, three-chip camera or something where the picture quality is just exceptional.

“We can run 30 fps to meet gaming standards,” Roberts relates. “Everything is running at real time.”

The system can grab photo printouts from the video and archive it at any time, he says.

 “Anybody who comes into the casino, we’re taking pictures of them,” Roberts reveals. “Once you come through, we have a nice head shot if we ever need it. We’ve used that many times for the police departments.”

High picture quality can be obtained from freeze-framing the video, Roberts maintains.  “It’s just like a photo, even better than the actual shot you see on the screen, because you can manipulate and lighten and darken it, and get rid of the backlight,” he explains.

Video can be loaded onto an external hard drive. “If police are brought in, we ask them exactly what they need and supply it for them, so they can use it in a court of law, and the recordings are watermarked,” he explains.

Everything is networked in a switching system that the owners can access from their other casino across the street.

“You can pull it up at the manager’s office,” Roberts explains. “It’s all in-house; it’s very secure. As far as the casino goes, I need to have a system that’s very, very secure. We never connect to the Internet because there are regulations. They don’t permit that.”

One thing people sometimes forget is the importance of lighting to video picture quality. “I always like to get together with the people doing the lighting,” Roberts asserts. “It’s like a movie – it’s 50 percent lighting and 50 percent video. If the lighting is not done right, you’ll get glare and hot spots. You can have the best camera in the world, but if it’s fighting the lighting, I’m not going to guarantee my video.”

Action at the blackjack tables can be examined in detail with this camera view

As a casino project nears completion, the last thing that is done is the video. “We get all our cabling in, and when everything else is done, we go in and set up,” Roberts says. “Sometimes it’s a rush, because we have to cut all the holes and get the tables in place, and then they always want to open at a certain date.”

But opening is dependent upon successfully passing inspection of the video and facility by the gaming commission.

“They can spend all that money, but if the gaming inspection does not pass, they can’t open the doors,” Roberts notes. “We want everybody to do their thing, but at the end, we know it’s going to be a push, a real push. It’s always the same because we’re the last ones in.”

Sidebar: On the Job

From i3DVR International, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada (
  • 5 servers: SRX-48016A RM SRX E Class i3 series 2.5 TB, RAID box 16 channels rack mount with audio (4), 480 fps RAID 5 array
  • 78 fixed cameras: DEC 188 3-axis camera 520 TVL with a 2.9mm - 10mm varifocal lens 0.05 Lux, AWC, AGC on/off, BLC on/off, 100mm smoke dome
  • 2 PTZ cameras: PQB220 6-in. high- performance dome, smoked ceiling mount, motorized 22X zoom (digital 10X) 470 pixel, 80 presets
  • 8 high-resolution cameras: Z2208 22X optical zoom color camera, built-in auto-focus and auto iris, highly sensitive, 1/4-inch CCD, 480 TVL, UTP
  • 5 power supplies: i3-24A12-P18, 18 channels, 24 VAC 12A

Sidebar: PROJECTS in the News

SkyTrain pulls into a station located on the Millennium Line in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. The 880-camera analog matrix/ VCR CCTV system on SkyTrain, the world’s largest automated light rapid transit system, will be upgraded byIndigo Vision, Hoboken, N.J., to an IP video CCTV system designed by Indigo Vision’s local partner, Intercon Security Limited, which will coordinate the installation in partnership with SkyTrain’s own technical team. All of the original 880 cameras will be reused together with the existing matrix switching hardware. At each of the 33 stations, the cameras will be connected to transmitter/receiver units that will convert the analog camera signal to MPEG-4 digital video for transmission over the local IP network at each station. Stand-alone NVRs will be installed in each station to provide advanced recording facilities for each camera stream.

Yeshiva University recently chose Idesco Corp, a security system integrator based in New York City, to install the exacqVision Pro hybrid network digital video recorder system fromExacq Technologies, Indianapolis. The system will provide analog and IP video surveillance for Yeshiva’s Stern College for Women facility in downtown Manhattan. Exacq Technologies is a manufacturer of IP and hybrid network digital video recording systems and OEM products for the security industry.

Sidebar: PROJECTS in the News

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The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has awardedJohnson Controls Inc., Milwaukee, a $55 million contract to serve as the technology contractor for the construction of its $575 million, multi-building Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Johnson Controls will be the single point of contact for the installation, integration and commissioning of all low-voltage network and building systems. The company will work directly with the hospital and design team to oversee the project from concept through construction and the commissioning of more than 20 systems on the campus. Technology systems include a building management system, fire and security, network, telecom, and data systems. A wireless infrastructure will be installed  to allow the hospital to operate multiple technologies on a single system.