The Tohono O’odham Nation’s three Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment locations feature gaming amenities, technological advances and entertainment options unsurpassed in Arizona. For the Nation, reinvesting in their properties is key to ensuring that they remain competitive. Their investments also encompass back-of-house operations, including a pending upgrade of their Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control and management system to the new KeyWatcher Touch system.
Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment have been using Morse Watchmans key control systems since 2001, when the Casinos transitioned from a manual key control system to an automated electronic system. According to Jim Boudreau, Access Control Manager for Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, the Morse Watchmans system was the only one to fully meet their criteria.
“At the time, we looked at two or three similar electronic key systems but each was missing key components needed for the system to be in compliance with required standards,” said Mr. Boudreau. “The Morse Watchmans system was fully compliant and, in fact, we still have the original two KeyWatchers we purchased back in 2001, operating well and as expected.”
To meet State and tribal gaming commission regulations for key control and management, both then and now, all transactions must be recorded including time, date and authorized user. The KeyWatcher system automatically records all transactions and provides a “notes” feature for users to indicate why unscheduled drops may have occurred. Usage reports can be generated as needed or per the schedule. The KeyWatcher cabinet will not open until the system verifies that the user has permission for the specific key or group requested. And to meet gaming regulations that require the three man rule to access sensitive or restricted key sets, the Morse Watchmans system is programmable to recognize these keys or key sets and only open the cabinet door and release them once the three required logins are complete and the credentials verified.
In addition to complying with gaming regulations, Boudreau states that other features of the KeyWatcher system are ideal for a casino environment.
He added, “Because of its compatibility, we have been able to utilise the same employee proximity ID badge on the KeyWatcher system as we do with our access control system. The KeyWatcher software has also made it easy to input ID badge numbers. This is particularly essential for a casino that operates 24/7 because we can keep administrative access to the database limited to as few employees as necessary.”
Boudreau goes on to say that the time zone feature is also particularly helpful for keeping tighter control on sensitive keys because it can be set to notify security when a key is overdue.
The new KeyWatcher Touch systems that are scheduled to be deployed will provide additional benefits for the casinos. Boudreau’s department is responsible for the access control requirements for all Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment properties and the new KeyWatcher Touch systems will enable synchronization of the same information across all of the key control cabinets. This will simplify updating user key access or enrolling information. Profiles can be created and assigned to each user and any changes to the profile are cascaded down to the users assigned to it. The move to a common user database helps ensure system integrity and even allows for auditing transactions and history after an employee’s departure.
Because the upgraded system will be integrated with the casinos’ business/communication network, email and SMS texts can be sent automatically to authorized individuals. Locating keys or determining when a key is scheduled to be returned will also be faster and easier with new features of KeyWatcher Touch.
“The quality of the product and customer service provided by Morse Watchmans has been outstanding in our 12 years of doing business with them,” said Boudreau. “It was a very easy decision to move forward with the new systems.”
The Tohono O’odham Nation is one of the largest tribes in Arizona, with more than 31,000 enrolled members. It owns and operates three Desert Diamond Casinos in Tucson, Sahuarita and Why, Arizona, with plans to open a fourth facility near Glendale, Arizona. The Tucson property was the first casino and hotel facility in Southern Arizona.
The first KeyWatcher systems used at Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment were configured and installed by Genesis Resource, Inc. a leading provider of electronic key control systems in the casino industry.