The Las Vegas gaming and entertainment scene is constantly evolving, with new casinos joining the action and existing casinos stepping up their game to lure visitors with the latest on-site experiences. The Westgate Resort & Casino is home to the world’s largest sports book, the “Super Book,” featuring the gaming industry’s largest 4K video wall, measuring 260 feet wide by18.8 feet high. Earlier this year, taking coincidental advantage of the COVID-19 business lull, it underwent a full AV system upgrade to achieve next-generation “wow” performance.
Back in December 2019, Westgate vice president, Race and Sports Operations Jay Kornegay and video systems manager Kelly Hall met with their integrator partners from NMR Events, headquartered in Monroe Township, NJ and with offices in Las Vegas. In the meeting, NMR’s Doug Whelan, director of systems integration, and Mike Campbell, vice president, sales, learned about Westgate’s upgrade goals: a system truly worthy of Las Vegas scale. The casino wanted to outshine its own video wall with a fully new SDVoE AV-over-IP infrastructure, while enhancing the RF modulation system that feeds monitors throughout the cavernous venue and improving overall system control and back room maintenance.
Commencing in April 2020, the project was completed in just two and a half months—aided in part by the COVID-19 shut down that closed the venue to the public, so work could be expedited without interrupting the normal operations of the casino.
The massive video wall is comprised of 1,428 Daktronics LED tiles for a dazzling total of 26,000 x 2,200 pixels. To teach it some new tricks, the decision was made to transition from a traditional AV switching system to AV-over-IP signal distribution. The original backend was replaced by ZeeVee ZyPer4K SDVoE encoders and decoders, which run through Netgear M4500 switches to provide advanced routing, flexibility, and multi-matrix switching for a wide array of content.
As a result of the upgrade, NMR’s Whelan was able to engineer 175 different multiviews—equaling a dozen multiviews per screen—that displays a seemingly endless combination of images simultaneously. The SDVoE/AV-over-IP platform enabled this to be accomplished with fewer devices, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in multiview processing alone and taking up a significantly smaller footprint.
“We are very proud of the enhancements we made to the Super Book video wall in particular,” Whelan said. “It’s an awesome display that captivates viewers’ attention with more multiviews than any other project we know of in Vegas—or anywhere else, for that matter.”
Updated and Expanded
Overall, the system handles more than 100 video sources including DirecTV, Dish Network, and Contemporary Research ATSC receivers, as well as COX Cable TV tuners and additional PC feeds, via 142 inputs. In turn, it feeds 61 monitors throughout the sports book. The ZyPer4K AV-over-IP gear works in conjunction with ZeeVee HDbridge 3000 RF encoders and decoders that feed over a hundred TVs scattered at seats throughout the sports book, at the betting windows and in multiple locations throughout the casino floor.
Samsung and Dell monitors placed atop each of the racks in the control room enable Westgate’s IT team to see what content is being shown on the video wall and individual screens. System vulnerability is minimized since there’s no need to reboot the entire system to address a problem in one specific area. The advanced Netgear 10G network configuration that Whelan designed, with a high level of built-in flexibility and complete redundancy, further guards against system failure.
Another advantage of the AV-over-IP solution is that far fewer cables were used in the new system—three one-inch bundles of quarter-inch fiber cables versus the usual sea of 3-inch wide Cat-5 and audio cables (in the old system, cables occupied a third of the raised floor in the computer room). The decentralized design spreads the workload around so that the endpoints are the “glue” and do most of the heavy lifting.
“We are extremely happy with the outcome of this project on several fronts,” said Westgate’s Kornegay. “Our video wall’s eye-popping dynamic content is helping to draw in bettors. Add that to the user experience we offer at each Super Book kiosk and the improved control and maintenance capabilities. Combined, this upgrade helps keep us stand out among a field of fierce competitors in the number-one gaming market in the world.”