How One Casino Helps Guests Feel They're at the Game

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How One Casino Helps Guests Feel They're at the Game

By Joe Ness, Executive Director of Entertainment, Electronics, and Media, Peppermill Resort Spa Center - 01/10/2019

A casino sportsbook may be the most exciting place to be during the first round of March Madness.

Students (21 years old and above, of course), alumni, bettors and casual fans gather in one place to watch 32 college basketball games over two days. With four games going on at once, the cacophony in the sportsbook is music to my ears.

I can’t wait for the 2019 NCAA Tournament because many guests at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno will experience the latest technological marvel in our sportsbook for the first time. We have a video screen that is 110-feet wide. That’s right. Our screen is longer than a NCAA basketball court (94 feet long). In audio-visual terms, our screen is about twice the width of the average screen in a movie theater.

The video wall is part of a $3.5 million upgrade of the Peppermill’s sportsbook. The Peppermill has a popular sportsbook -- attracting between 20,000 and 30,000 people a week -- but the owners wanted to up our game. While we couldn’t change the amount of space devoted to the sportsbook, we could add some "bling."

The existing A/V system was a collage of screens of different sizes mounted on feature walls, showing live games and horse racing from around the country. With the help of our technology partners, we created a one-of-a-kind, curved, fine pixel-pitch LED display that is visually stunning. Sports fans and non-sports fans can’t help but sit down in one of the plush chairs and stare at the wall. With all the visual and audio distractions in a casino, that’s saying something.

The video wall is more like a digital canvas, allowing the Peppermill to create viewing experiences like no other. The wall can be broken down into three 20-foot screens, which in turn can be divided into four smaller screens.

With the video wall being the centerpiece of the sportsbook, the Peppermill had to make sure the image quality was second to none. Lag time in the video or any other flaw would be magnified and easily noticed.

We ultimately chose Crestron’s DM NVX technology because we needed a solution that was not only secure and reliable but had zero latency and was powerful enough to support a video wall of this size. The Crestron devices feed 170 outputs and 40 inputs, giving us the ability to show 30 games simultaneously on 20-foot screens. We chose 4K, or ultra-high definition, resolution even though few sports events are currently broadcast in 4K. But that’s coming and the Peppermill wanted to be prepared for when it does become standard. Guests can watch a game with no lag, no interruptions and with the level of clarity that makes it feel like you’re at the live event. This was key to us in our technology overhaul: We wanted to make our guests forget they were in a casino and instead make them feel like they were really at the sporting event.

In addition to the video wall, Peppermill offers 60 “Box Seat” carrels that feature individual 24-inch touch screens and eight 10’x6’ screens located on the back wall. This space was designed for guests who prefer a more customized experience while visiting the sportsbook. With this technology upgrade, guests are in total control of their experience. They can select any horse race, game, or odds source from the touchscreen interface in their booth. From there, they can control the desk lamp lighting and headphones volume as well, all of which help tailor the experience to the preferences of each individual guest.

Our goal was to create a space unlike any casino in Reno and redefine our guests’ perceptions of what a sportsbook is.

Peppermill prides itself on being the most technologically advanced resort and casino in Reno. Prior to this renovation earlier this year, we were already using Crestron in other areas of the hotel and resort, including state-of-the-art guest rooms, entertainment venues, and boardrooms. By bringing Crestron to the Peppermill Reno Race & Sportsbook, we’ve been able to create a seamless guest experience throughout the resort.

Since the debut of the video wall in May of 2018, our guests have raved about the sportsbook and the experience it provides. Not only are they able to customize the experience at the touch of a button, they’re amazed by the picture clarity and “actually there” feeling it provides.