Play By Play: Quality video at the Caesars Palace race and sports bookfacility plays an integral part in involving the viewers in the action.
Jan 1, 1998 12:00 PM, Bill Scott
Located at the center of Las Vegas' famous strip,Caesars Palace capturesthe glamour, luxury and excitementthat are synonymous with America'spre-eminent gambling city. Caesars, an architectural marvel even amongresorts renowned for originality, outshines its neighbors with spectacularfountains, majestic cypress trees, gleaming marble reproductions of classicstatuary, exquisite landscaping and deluxe gaming facilities andaccommodations. The resort successfully combines extravagance and palatialcomfort for the guests in its 1,351 sumptuous rooms and for the 17 millionvisitors who arrive every year.
Beyond Caesars' Greek and Roman decor lies the resort's race and sportsbook facility. Caesars pioneered the radical modernization of race books.Race and sports book (R&SB) is a form of gaming where the players bet onthe outcome of an event. Patrons have a wide range of choices, from horseraces to almost any publicized sporting event occurring anywhere in theworld.
Caesars introduced the gaming industry to the sophisticated sound and videotechnology that radically changed R&SB betting. Following Caesars lead, thecasinos that have adopted R&SB betting install sound and video systems tosupport this exciting gaming form. Entire walls of giant video screens andcolorful light-emitting diode (LED) panels have replaced Caesars'pre-existing facilities, which had hand-lettered wagering information. Nowwith screens up to 32 feet (9.8 m) wide and 26 feet (7.2 m) high, Caesars'R&SB facility presents sports and racing events Vegas style - larger thanlife. Horses gallop through the room, racing in the prestigious Breeders'Cup and the Kentucky Derby. Around the corner in the sports book, gameenthusiasts watch anxiously as a player drops a key pass in the Super Bowl.And ardent bettors sitting in 650 chairs pray for a favorable outcome.
The R&SB offers opulent seating with the excitement of live sports actionin the most luxurious and sophisticated facility of its kind in the world.Part of a 33,000 ft squared (3,066 meter squared) facility, the R&SBestablished computer-generated wagering information as the industrystandard. The L-shaped facility separates audio broadcasts of simultaneousrace and sports events into two distinct sports and race viewing areas.This setup allows the R&SB to combine its video presentations toaccommodate customer demand. For example, while the race book is showcasingthe Kentucky Derby, the sports book can be broadcasting a hotly contestedbaseball game with no audio overlaps.
Behind the scenes, elaborate video reception and switching systems managethe information sources in a nearby control room. The reception,originating from public and private feeds, can be selected and sent tomultiple viewing areas. The display format is video NTSC with theoccasional use of VGA graphics.
Computer-generated information brings up-to-the-minute data to Caesars'guests. Latest scratches, odds changes and the like are communicated inless than one-half second via computer to video screens and LED displaysthroughout the casino. The R&SB satellite equipment has the capability topick up virtually any broadcast sporting event. Downlink to the satellitehead end can be via satellite, fiber optics, cable, local television andcomputer sources.
A unique environmentIn a city of lights and glitter, it comes as no surprise that brightdisplays are key to race and sports book environments. The atmosphere ofrace and sports books should generate a bright, energetic commotion, and adark book is not conducive to excitement. In renovating their books,Caesars Palace installed seven high-brightness video/data/graphicsprojection systems from Electrohome in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. ForCaesars, the projectors provide an exceptionally bright display.Electro-home's high-brightness projectors are known for accurate colorreproduction, seamless imagery, digital accuracy, color and brightnessuniformity, and scaleability to higher resolutions. The various projectorsin Caesars' books offer brightness outputs ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 ANSIlumens to complement the high ambient lighting conditions. The architectureof these projection systems complements a high ambient lighting conditionand is supported by intuitive, menu-driven control software, compatibilitywith a variety of signal sources fast, easy setup.
Casinos are demanding projection that can endure hostile environments,especially during construction projects, which generate high heat and lotsof dust, and the long hours of use. Caesars' projector installation,running 20 to 24 hours a day, is able to withstand the test with minimalmaintenance time. These systems are ceiling-mounted and inverted. Routinemaintenance by Caesars' technical staff involves little more than replacinga single arch lamp whenever necessary. A graphical user interface thatcombines a hand-held remote and computer interface with easy-to-followon-screen menus and slide bar graphics allows technicians to adjust avariety of image characteristics, including brightness, tint, contrast andcolor saturation.-Controlling and keeping the projectors up and running arecritical to the smooth delivery of real-time audio and video feeds that thecasino's gaming enthusiasts expect and enjoy.
Large projection screens located in the race book measure 15 feet (4.6 m)by 11 feet (3.4 m). The rest of the screens vary in size from 12 feet (3.6m) by 9 feet (2.7 m) to the 60 25 inch (635 mm) monitors above the OlympicLounge bar. All afford an excellent view of the action from any of the 650chairs, and from the peripheral seating in the nearby Palatium Buffet andthe Olympic Lounge.
Horse racing and sports information from computer generation can bedisplayed via video to projectors and monitors as well as via large LEDreader board displays. The colorful display panels include trackconditions, horse and jockey names, identification numbers and much more.
A new way to gambleCaesars pioneered casino horse racing simulcasts for the Nevada gamingindustry starting in February 1983. As popularity grew, many casinosfollowed suit, building or expanding their race and sports bettingfacilities. Revenues from the Nevada casinos revitalized racetracks andhelped spur expansion and renovation. The proliferation of sports eventsbroadcast live by satellite and accompanying technological improvementscontributed to the explosive growth in race and sports betting in Nevadaover the five-year period that followed
In a constant state of change, Caesars enlarged its R&SB in August 1985,which underwent further expansion in April 1989. In total, the expansioncost $20 million and added 16,000 ft squared (1,486 meter squared) of spaceto the now 33,000 ft squared (3,066 meter squared) facility. As always,Caesars wanted its new installation to match the opulence and servicecommon elsewhere in the resort. From the several award-winning restaurantsto its new 4.6 acre (1.8 hectares) Garden of the Gods pool and gardencomplex, every addition to Caesars is top quality and fascinating.
In part because of the heavy investment in technology, the R&SB has beenable to promote and conduct creative and fast-growing kinds of wagers. Theresort's proposition wagers allow bettors to choose any number of aspectson which to wager. For example, on Super Bowl Sunday, there could be 50different wagers including bets on the number of quarterback sacks or totalfield goals completed. Pari-mutuel wagering, spearheaded by Caesars withthe cooperation of other Las Vegas casino representatives, allows thecasinos to pool casino horse wagers with those of major U.S. tracks. Thesystem brings enormous payoffs to thoroughbred fans. One lucky Caesar'splayer held two of eight winning tickets for a 1991 Santa Anita race, whichpaid more than $5 million.
For customer convenience, bettor windows and a special cashier's stationare staffed with knowledgeable personnel to assist experienced and novicesports fans alike. Caesars is forever researching new technologies andinvestigating methods to provide its guests and sports patrons with moreexcitement and is planning additional advancements to bring theserenovations forward.
It behooves major casinos to offer all the variety and excitement they canin order to keep in front of a fierce, competitive onslaught.-Only sevendeluxe mega-casinos in North America offer race and sport books, Caesarsbeing one of the most prominent.-According to Electrohome's marketresearch, the mega-casinos lead the pack in implementing new games,technologies and methods.-Projection systems like the ones Electrohomeinstalled at Caesars Palace create the brightness, color and excitementneeded to keep the gamers enthralled.
The casino industry is in an extremely competitive situation.-Although LasVegas still rules the North American gaming world, it has strongcompetition from other Nevada cities, such as Reno and Laughlin.-ThoughNevada is the only state offering legal sports wagering, it still must viefor the travel/entertainment and gaming dollars sought by local resorts inNew Jersey's Atlantic City.-New, local casinos are popping up across theUnited States and Canada, such as the enormously successful Foxwood ResortHotel Casino in staid Connecticut. First Nations of native Americans arequickly building gaming empires.-And where allowed by law, floating gameparlors have taken root in major U.S. rivers and coastal waters.
To add to the competition, many states now run their own lotteries andvideo gaming terminals to raise state moneys. An exciting visionimplemented with satellites, computers and lots and lots of lumens makes itpossible for Caesars and other casinos to keep their clientele coming infor top-quality, exciting race and sport book experiences.