From slot machines to live concerts, casinos have a varied and unique set of audiovisual needs. As a result, AV technology must be implemented in a flexible, customizable way. Casino AV systems also need to support engaging and interactive experiences in large, fast-paced environments.
Because of these many demands, AV integrators often struggle to work with casinos. They wind up losing out on clients because they don’t understand the many needs and demands of these establishments. In turn, casinos often get frustrated with the process of trying to find the right integrators.
The good news is that there is a solution: integrators can start pitching networked AV, also known as AV over IP.
AV over IP is a flexible, high-quality solution that is able to meet a wide range of needs while still being cost effective. Here’s why AV over IP is perfect for the unique applications of audiovisual equipment in casinos.
Why Casinos Need AV
AV equipment is more than just a nice thing for casinos to have. The right AV equipment can play an active part in keeping people engaged with the setting.
Mariya Cherkasova, a postdoctoral research fellow, found in a study that people respond favorably to audiovisual cues in these settings. In other words, AV plays a major role in how casinos stay in business.
Keeping customers engaged isn’t where AV equipment stops being useful. Take a look at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, for example. This establishment has assigned a dedicated AV team for people who are hosting events at one of the Hard Rock’s many venues. This makes the hotel and casino a more attractive option for people hosting events, because presenters know they can have their AV needs catered too.
The applications for AV equipment in casinos are endless. It can be used for wayfinding purposes, digital signage or advertisements. It can even be used to power both live and pre-recorded entertainment.
But casinos won’t want a bunch of different systems to keep track of and manage. That isn’t practical for a facility that needs to be fast-paced and, in many places, fully operational for 24 hours a day. Instead, they need one kind of equipment that can do it all — and do it well.
This is where many traditional AV systems often fall flat, and what many integrators fail to realize.
An Effective, On-Brand Approach
Traditional AV systems simply can’t handle the needs of the average casino, pro audio copywriter Greg Mabry points out.
“The traditional approach involves a series of high-powered amplifiers driving a chain of 60 to 70 speakers, with the goal of providing even audio coverage across the entire gaming floor.”
Although such a design is smart for retailers and restaurants, it doesn’t make sense for casinos. This is because casinos have many different sources of light and sound, so covering an entire floor with the same sounds isn’t the end goal.
Mabry’s observations make one thing clear: when pitching to casinos, AV integrators cannot take a typical approach. Thinking of a casino in the same way they’d think of a retail space or something similar is only going to cause frustration on both ends.
So what exactly should integrators know about pro AV in casinos? Commercial-grade display solutions are one of the top requirements, audiovisual provider CCS Presentation Systems notes. In addition to operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, AV solutions for casinos must “offer full HD resolution; emit less heat, and preferably be ultra-thin bezel monitors for areas that needed multiple display units.”
In addition to the critical operations discussed, high-quality equipment can improve the experiences of hotel and casino guests, and make for a more memorable stay.
The right AV equipment can also improve brand awareness, even with all of the distractions present in a typical casino. “With all those diversions, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent brand while integrating various media and delivering pertinent messages to the right audiences. Casino digital signage can solve these issues with a variety of applications throughout the property,” audiovisual provider McCann Systems says.
So in order for an AV solution to truly be successful, it needs to be scalable and high-quality. This is where AV over IP comes in.
The Benefits of AV Over IP for Casinos
AV over IP is a stronger choice than traditional AV for a number of key reasons, Matrox Graphics explains. Scalable switching is one of the biggest benefits, because having more ports makes it easier to add just what you need. AV over IP also has improved ratio of inputs to outputs and convergence with data and communications — two things that greatly improve the audiovisual experience.
Another benefit of AV over IP for casinos is that it can introduce dynamically changing content, Keith Kazmer of Black Box Network Services notes. Specifically, AV over IP supports full HD capabilities with near-zero latency.
Scalability is one of the biggest benefits to casinos in particular because casinos are always adapting to changing customer demands. In the past, traditional AV would need to be replaced frequently in order to meet new demands. But AV over IP can easily flex to fit the needs of casinos as consumer demands change.
“Compared to traditional coax video distribution, an IP-based solution offers significantly more flexibility, including reduced cost,” EMCORE Corporation states.
It also flexes to accommodate larger systems with higher bandwidth, trade distributor CIE Group notes. He adds that for this reason, AV over IP is the best solution for companies looking to adapt to future needs.
Lastly, AV over IP simply improves the user experience. End-users benefit from “the opening up of new applications such as wireless transmission, the ability to reach much longer distances, the ability to hybridise between data types and the ability to sustain a much larger audience of concurrent consumption of AV,” says Matrox media relations manager Myles Carter.
These capabilities make AV over IP the perfect option for casinos, which need dynamic and fast-paced solutions to keep up with the demands of the industry.
Systems Integrators and The Future of AV Over IP
AV over IP is not just hypothetical in casinos — it’s already a reality. Dakota Magic Casino recently upgraded to AV over IP successfully, for example.
The integrators at Dakota Magic Casino faced a number of challenges during this upgrade — including long cable distances and existing wiring restrictions. The AV over IP system flexed to meet the needs of the casino, however, and these roadblocks were easily overcome.
Today, multiple televisions and digital signage screens across the facility are controlled by just three iPads. This greatly simplifies the complex and outdated control panels that existed previously.
This is just one example of the promise of AV over IP. In the past few years especially, networked AV has been a favorite among AV professionals. “Straightforward, versatile and secure transmission of AV signals is an advantage worth pursuing,” Alford Media states.
With more and more companies releasing their own line of networked AV products, the quality of the market has grown exponentially. But casinos can’t implement an AV over IP solution on their own. They need a strong integrator to help them.
“A system integrator’s goal is to find what blend of products works best for your space and needs with a custom-designed set of audiovisual equipment that’s high quality, easy to use and sets you up for success,” AV technology company Texadia notes.
Once an AV over IP system is implemented, integrators usually find that its easier to manage and scale, AV Network’s Michael Crisci notes. In particular, AV over IP provides management companies in charge of their AV applications the ability to manage all of their resources from a single point.”
As more integrators become skilled in AV over IP, more casinos will be seeking these skilled integrators. Having the knowledge and education to cater to casinos can open up a wide avenue for business.