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18th September 2019 Issue no. 475
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Security tech firms hit jackpot in Asia casino boom
Asia's new mega-casinos are driving sales and innovation in advanced surveillance technology, from chips with built-in radio transmitters to high-definition, multi-lens, digital cameras that can scan huge gaming floors and catch the deftest sleight of hand.
Tens of thousands of security cameras, including some of the most advanced commercially available, have been installed in the southern Chinese territory of Macau alone in the past five years, and many thousands more are on order for the multi-billion-dollar hotel-casino resorts still in the pipeline.
Security solution providers such as German-Australian joint venture Dallmeier International, California-based Pelco, a unit of Schneider Electric PA, and Samsung Techwin Co Ltd, are among those reaping the benefits of Asia's casino building boom.
"It's big business. The camera market here has started to get very big ... It's probably the most demanding environment for a video surveillance system anywhere in the world," said Craig Graham, Dallmeier International general manager for Asia.
"Some of these guys (casino operators) have 700 tables and up to 1,000 slot machines, all of which have to be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week."Graham said Dallmeier had about 20 percent of the video surveillance market in Macau's gaming industry, where its clients include Sands China Ltd, a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp and one of six casino firms licensed to operate in the only place in China where casinos are legal.
There are around 100,000 cameras installed in Macau's casinos, according to industry estimates, with room potentially for another 50,000 over the next five years. Companies declined to say how much the industry was worth.
"It's allowed firms such as ours who deal with cutting-edge surveillance technology and video analytics to gain a good loyal customer base in Macau," Graham said Bob Ruggles, Pelco's Asia-Pacific business development manager based in Macau, said Asian demand had "allowed us to push our products to the limit" of innovation. In contrast, he said casinos in Las Vegas had been slow to adapt to advances in digital technology, and some were still using VCR tape, in part because of the costs associated with replacing old analogue systems.
"No one (in Macau) uses analogue anymore. Those days are gone," he said.
18th September 2013