Black Oak Casino

100-2,499 Employees
Networking

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With our Avaya network, I feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I no longer go to bed at night worried about a possible violation or a phone call at 2 am.

– Edewaa Foster, Gaming Commissioner, Tuolumne Me-Wuk TGA

Benefits

Network Scalability

BLACK OAK CASINO RESORT HITS THE JACKPOT WITH VIDEO SURVEILLANCE ON AVAYA

California Gaming Organization Expands Viewing Capabilities, Eliminates Network Stability Problems

Protecting casino assets isn’t just good business for the Black Oak Casino Resort; it’s also mandated by law. The casino, located on tribal land owned by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians in Tuolumne, CA, spans 164,000 square feet of just gaming and entertainment operations. Black Oak Casino has over 700 surveillance cameras on the gaming area, not only to ensure guest safety and casino security, but also to comply with state and Federal regulations. The sheer number of cameras means that the casino requires a reliable network in order to keep the cameras online.
 
Policies, procedures, and regulations state that we have to monitor cash drops and financial transfers via video, as well as have 24/7 surveillance on the tables, and record possible liabilities like slip and falls,” said Edewaa Foster, Gaming Commissioner.
 
The initial solution that Black Oak Casino Resort chose proved to be a bad bet right out of the box. The only thing consistent about the network was that it failed, like clockwork, about every seven days.
 
In between,” stated Dave Menendez, IS Coordinator at Black Oak, “we had a lot of video loss, recording loss, and slow camera response — and everything cycled down from there… We had to constantly reboot switches because of crashes.
 
The solution was failing and not allowing Black Oak Casino Resort to protect tribal assets. “We even had to have our surveillance agents go down on the floor to monitor tables, and it really risked us being in noncompliance with regulatory standards,” Foster recalled. “It put me on the edge of my seat.
 

“The reliability and performance difference between the two networks was like night and day.”

Edewaa Foster, Gaming Commissioner, Tuolumne Me-Wuk TGA

Black Oak Casino

Because video surveillance is a critical piece of the casino’s regulatory compliance program, the team was desperate for a solution. Black Oak Casino Resort’s system integrator was just as frustrated with the current switches and asked if the organization would consider another manufacturer. That led to to the installation of two Avaya Virtual Server Platforms (VSPs) 7024s and 28 Ethernet Routing Switches (ERS) 4850s. In addition, a slightly different network architecture was configured, one that was more of a “spider web” concept to optimize the flow of video surveillance network traffic.
 
Results
With a new network structure mapped and new switches installed, Black Oak Casino Resort braced itself for the cutover. However, switching to the new infrastructure proved to be remarkably pain-free. “Cutover was a lot more smooth than we thought it would be,” Foster said. After a few small tweaks, the system was running smoothly on the Avaya switches. Out of the gate, the Black Oak Casino Resort team was very pleased with the new equipment and network.
 
The reliability and performance difference between the two networks was like night and day,” Foster recalls. “We went from a system that sent us in the zone to fear the worst to something that is not only stable but surpassed my expectations. The way the network performs is amazing.
 
The responsiveness of our cameras is remarkable,” states Menendez. “When you move a joystick, it actually moves the camera — instantly.
 
Essentially, the 700-plus cameras feed data via the switches through a core. That allows for recording and surveillance of casino activities.

“The responsiveness of our cameras is remarkable. When you move a joystick, it actually moves the camera — instantly.”

Dave Menendez, Information Systems Coordinator, Black Oak Casino Resort

Black Oak Casino

Troubleshooting video surveillance problems has become much easier. Black Oak Casino Resort’s team can quickly pinpoint whether any problem is related to a switch or a camera, and even remotely access the camera for maintenance purposes.
 
Foster pegged the stability of the new system to be near 100 percent — a substantial improvement over the generously-estimated 50 percent stability of the old switches. It’s also much more responsive, allowing the surveillance team to move cameras and pan quickly to areas of note using joysticks in the control room. “I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” Foster said. “I no longer went to bed at night worried about a possible violation or a phone call at 2 a.m.
 
Expansion Plans
The Avaya solutions have served Black Oak Casino Resort so well that the team plans to add more cameras to the video surveillance mix. The hotel’s 88 cameras have already gone online on the system, with the gas station on the property being added as Phase II of the upgrade. And plans are in motion now to centralize all the cameras at Black Oak Casino Resort.
 
Additionally, the tribal commission has plans to add an RV park to the resort. That area will also be secured with video surveillance. Foster is confident that the Avaya switches can handle anything else added to the video surveillance network. That’s why they’re also considering adding the property’s west side surveillance to the hub.

“We’re happy to showcase it and share with other casinos the experience that we’ve had, and demonstrate where we’re at today.”

Edewaa Foster, Gaming Commissioner, Tuolumne Me-Wuk TGA

Going into it, we let Avaya and our partner know that we needed a robust system, as we would potentially be adding cameras,” Foster said. “As we add more cameras to the system, I’m confident that the infrastructure is solid and is going to work.

Showcase for Other Casinos

The Pelco Endura system running over Avaya switches has worked so well that Foster and his team host other casino commissioners who wish to witness their video surveillance and backbone in action. Any time another casino expresses interest in upgrading their network, Black Oak Casino Resort happily provides tours to show off how well its system works now that it uses Avaya.

We’re happy to showcase it and share with other casinos the experience that we’ve had, and demonstrate where we’re at today,” Foster said.

For Black Oak Casino Resort, choosing Avaya meant more than being able to meet compliance standards and secure tribal assets. It meant extreme peace of mind — a winning hand that will keep paying out for years to come.

 

 

CUSTOMER PROFILE
Black Oak Casino
  • Headquarters:

  • United States

  • # Employees:

  • 1200

Black Oak Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, is located in Tuolumne, California in the Sierra Foothills, eight miles east of Sonora.

What our Customers are saying
“The reliability and performance difference between the two networks was like night and day…. The way the Avaya network performs is amazing.”

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  • Edewaa Foster, Gaming Commissioner, Tuolumne Me-Wuk TGA

  • Black Oak Casino