- Department heads must approve all key requests for their area.
- If a department requests a key from another area, that department head must approve it.
- The general manager and the chief of security must approve keys to sensitive areas such as money counting rooms or gaming controlled areas.
- Outside vendors (contractors, etc.) will sign out/in keys daily from the Security Podium (which is staffed 24/7). They may not take keys home.
- Employees may present all parts of a damaged key for replacement. (This helps to prevent keys being thrown away)
- When keys cannot be accounted for, the department head of the affected area along with the Chief of Security will determine the course of action (issue replacement keys, rekey, etc.).
We have a large 7-pin SFIC system (Best) for the back of the house. When we rekeyed about five years ago, I was able to set up the entire system from scratch. After working with the previous system for over 10 years, I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I was able to drastically cut back on the number of keys that employees carried plus institute a paperless office. Previously, everyone had to sign for every key. With employees working 24/7, this was almost impossible to accomplish. Asking a graveyard employee to come in during the day to sign for keys is like asking a day shift employee to come in at midnight. Now, we enter them into the computer and give the keys to their supervisor.
We use Best's Keystone software. This correlates to their old index card system. Most of the bittings had to be put in by hand, so it was time-consuming to set up, but it has saved a lot of time and frustration since then. I can write notes such as the amount of locks, locations, and finishes on the door card. If there are any special keying needs, I can write down an explanation so that I can remember why I did something two years later. We also use it to track hotel room master keys, Marlok keys, etc. The great thing about SFIC is the amount of different locks that can be used. They even have a very high quality cam lock that fits into a standard cam lock prep and uses full size pins and keys. We currently have about 300 of these cam locks in use.
We are using more access control products all the time. Originally we used the old standby, Ilco Unican 1000s. Because they are limited to the amount of different codes they can use, we have been replacing them with Securitron SABLs. These locks have 10 numbers and many programming options. They are based on the Securitron DK26 platform. We also use the DK26s. Securitron's products have held up very well for us. They carry a lifetime replacement warranty and the factory is located less than 10 miles away. We have a few other brands also, such as Essex and Trilogy. Our Otis elevators have software built in that allows the normal floor buttons to be used as access control. I am responsible for changing the codes on these as well.
We use a variety of high security cam locks in our Gaming areas. The table games use Duo, Abloy, and Medeco locks. While we provide labor, we are not allowed to provide keys or locks. These are strictly controlled. Spare keys are kept in a Safe Deposit box at the main cage. It requires four people to replace a key: a cage supervisor, security supervisor, gaming supervisor, and accounting supervisor. Both the locks and keys are destroyed when they wear out. The slot machines use these same types of locks and are separately controlled by the Slot Department. We rarely work on these locks.
Our counting rooms have high security locks and a lot of video surveillance. The people who work there are checked out with metal detectors and have rules governing their movements when they are inside. For example, they have to show empty hands to the camera if they put their hands in their pockets. Many years ago when I dealt Craps and Roulette, we had the same rules. It gets to be a habit. More than once, I "cleared" my hands before reaching for my wallet at the store. Yes, that is a little embarrassing.
Now it is time for lunch. Each employee is allowed a free hot meal in our employee dining room. In fact, I have never seen a cash register in there. We use the same readers as our time and attendance system, which are wired to a heavy duty Perey turnstile to control access into the hot food area. These turnstiles are very well made. They have a huge solenoid that requires at least a 5-amp power supply. Magnetic locks are used on the Handicap Access gates, which are wired into one of these readers also. Designing and installing this system was both fun and challenging. Our EDR is known as the Basement Bistro. The employee who won the naming contest won $200. Unfortunately I had to share it with another employee who helped me come up with the name. (Thanks, Fred!)
A typical workday in the life of Dan Howard, locksmith for Circus Circus Casino & Hotel in Reno, NV.
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