French Lick, IN—April 2020… French Lick became nationally recognized as the hometown of legendary basketball superstar Larry Bird. Casinos have long been an attraction in this central Indiana town of about 1,800 residents. In the early 20th century, celebrities such as heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, composer Irving Berlin, and notorious gangster Al Capone came to play at French Lick. While you won’t see Al Capone at today’s French Lick Resort Casino, you can enjoy the casino’s 24-hour action, with 1,000 slot machines, 37 live-dealer table games, and a brand new 3,000-square-foot sportsbook.
Designing and installing an AV network for the new sportsbook was no small task, so the casino brought in long-time partner Force Technology Solutions. Force Tech delivered a solution based on a Visionary Solutions video network with Dante audio. “At Force Tech, we focus mostly on production environments, including corporate, house of worship, large concert systems, and so on, ranging from a small theater to an entire campus,” states Force Technology Solutions Sales Engineer Brady Davis. “We use Visionary Solutions products when we need to distribute AV quickly and cost-effectively, while maintaining agility and looking toward future scalability.”
For the new sportsbook, the French Lick Resort Casino primarily needs to quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively distribute multiple channels of sports programming to multiple destination display types and sizes. Low latency was extremely crucial for this project. “People placing bets need to be able to get up-to-date stats at a moment’s notice,” Davis confirms. “They watch games and make their decisions off of this network, so low latency is key. That’s one reason we chose Visionary Solutions.”
Force Tech installed a relatively large Visionary Solutions system with an innovative user experience. “We had around 30 Visionary Solutions Duet encoders to handle the sports content feeds,” details Davis. “We used a total of 40 Duet decoders to drive all the displays, along with an Analog Way Aquilon processor that drives two large LED video walls. The French Lick Casino sportsbook is one of the first Analog Way Aquilon installations in the USA. The Dante audio from the Duet decoders ties into a QSC Q-SYS Core 510i processor so audio can be separately routed from video.” Although current sports content is primarily broadcast in 720P/1080i, Force Tech maintained a 4K workflow throughout the system to take advantage of future broadcast formats.
A Crestron PRO3 control system and multiple touch screens around the facility provide user control for the system. “We’ve designed an extremely simple and intuitive interface so that the casino staff can quickly change anything they need, whether it’s changing the channel, video routing, or the LED wall layout,” notes Davis. “The integration between Crestron and Visionary Solutions was seamless. Our team has become very well versed with Visionary Solutions, and this was the third system at the French Lick Resort where we’ve utilized the Duet system, so our systems engineers and the client’s staff have a lot of confidence in the product. The Visionary Solutions support staff has also been a phenomenal asset when any issues arise.”
With the casino sportsbook up and running, Force Tech brought similar functionality to a sports bar in the French Lick Resort’s new hotel. “We’re doing a lot of the same things in the hotel sports bar,” reports Davis. “There are no large LED walls but it’s approximately the same number of sports content feeds getting distributed using Visionary Solutions Duets. One unusual thing in the sports bar is that we have consumer inputs in multiple rooms, which allow those rooms to be used as meeting spaces, so a patron’s computer can also be distributed to the displays for people who rent the space for events.”
The French Lick Resort Casino sportsbook is merely the latest of many Force Tech projects that include a Visionary Solutions network. “We started using Visionary Solutions around three years ago for a project in Westfield, Indiana,” Davis recalls. “That project developed into a great relationship with Visionary Solutions, and we have now used their products multiple times on many projects. It is an excellent solution for us and our clients. We appreciate the Visionary Solutions team’s openness to conversations and ideas; we bring our thoughts back to them after a project, and they listen, which has created a strong partnership. The French Lick Resort Casino system was among the first sportsbooks to go live in Indiana, and we had one shot to do it right. We felt extremely confident using Visionary Solutions for such a high visibility project.”