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Casino Prevents Security Violations Via Beacon Solution

Thanks to a system provided by Barcoding Inc. and Visybl, Mount Airy Casino Resort is alerted if an employee begins to remove a key from its facility, enabling it to prevent regulatory infractions.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 20, 2016

Pennsylvania's Mount Airy Casino Resort is employing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to ensure that it automatically knows if any of its keys leave the premises, thereby enabling it to meet regulatory standards by never allowing a single key to venture away from the casino. The system—sold by Baltimore technology company Barcoding Inc. and built and installed by enterprise beacon start-up Visybl—consists of AssetBeacons attached to keys, a single CloudNode beacon reader mounted above the employee exit, light stacks (installed at the door and in the security communications office) and a cloud service to prompt an alert and the dissemination of messages to management in the event it determines that a key might be about to leave the premises.

The system does more than identify keys that might be going out the door, however. When Lianne Asbury, Mount Airy Casino Resort's director of security, uses the Visybl app on her iPhone, she can also view the proximity of any nearby keys inside the casino.

Visybl installed a single CloudNode beacon reader (shown here, along with two AssetBeacons) above the employee exit at Mount Airy Casino Resort.
Mount Airy Casino Resort, like all other casinos in the commonwealth state, must follow stringent rules dictated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, one of which is that keys for the casino's security, slot machines, table games and main cage departments never leave the premises. The casino could be subject to fines of $5,000 or more for each incident of an employee inadvertently taking a key out of the building. "Key security is critical to us," Asbury states.

To help prevent such an infraction, the casino utilizes a Traka key-management system. Every key is attached to a key ring fitted with a Traka iFob, which contains a contact (non-RFID) memory chip encoded with a unique 48-bit ID number. The key rings are stored within locked cabinets, with each ring's iFob plugged into a jack, thus enabling the system to read the ID encoded to its memory. To unlock the cabinet, an employee swipes his or her ID card and inputs the ID number of the key ring he or she is taking. If that individual is authorized to remove that key ring, the system sets a curfew—typically, eight hours from the time that the ring and its key (or keys) are removed. If that person is not authorized to do so, however, the system will sound an alert if the worker attempts to remove those keys from the cabinet. If the ring key has not been returned by the start of the curfew, an e-mail message is sent to the casino's management.

However, Asbury notes, the shortcoming to this system is that by the time the curfew has been reached, the key could be long gone from the facility. As the casino has been hiring more employees, who carry keys around the building for the four departments, it has become increasingly common for a key to be inadvertently removed (for instance, if an employee brings it to the parking lot during a cigarette break).

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