Experience in gaming fuels CIP Reporting’s workflow platform

April 19, 2023 3:00 PM

Experience in gaming fuels CIP Reporting’s workflow platform

Photo: CIP
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
April 19, 2023 3:00 PM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

CIP Reporting has deep roots in gaming, although few players would recognize its name or know what it does.

“We started in surveillance, but today we do surveillance and security, compliance, inspections, and audits. And the list goes on and on,” said Jason Riffel, co-founder, CEO, and chief technology officer at the Massachusetts-based firm. “We’ve grown to a comprehensive documentation and workflow platform, with a specialty in all things casino gaming.”

The ability to document each step of such behind-the-scenes operations is crucial in the heavily regulated casino industry, he said. “Often, compliance drives you apart,” because regulations bar sharing of some information among departments.

The CIP workflow platform provides each department “a land of their own” to meet compliance standards, while connecting them for other functions to increase efficiency and visibility. Using each client’s internal procedures, the platform streamlines and automates such tasks as background investigations, licensing, compliance actions, and incident reporting.

Riffel, who began his gaming career working in casino surveillance for a facial-recognition firm, said he started CIP in 2006 after seeing that a “cookie-cutter” approach to the software required workarounds to accommodate each customer’s compliance and reporting procedures. “That drove us to create a platform instead of a product and the platform that has developed over the last 17 years has grown into pretty much all aspects of casino gaming.”

With the CIP platform, each installation is unique, with customizations such as which positions in a department can access which types of information. It automatically creates an electronic trail for numerous tasks, from assigning a technician to work on a balky slot machine to tracking who goes into and out of a count room. One client said that while the number of incident reports had more than doubled over six years, the CIP platform has allowed them to be handled by a consistent number of employees.

CIP also allows for the secure sharing of video clips or other evidentiary data with law enforcement, regulators, or the casino’s compliance department. Instead of relying on outdated methods such as transferring images to DVDs or using sign-out sheets, surveillance managers can release a digital file, while maintaining control over who has access. The platform also offers mobile applications and cloud-based servers.

CIP has more than 350 gaming-industry clients. Several other types of operators, including law enforcement, health care, and utilities, use the CIP platform, but Riffel said gaming is the most strictly regulated because of the money it generates for the state or governing body.

“The largest book in the universe on policy and procedures exists in casino gaming, to the degree where they tell how (dealers) can move their fingers,” he said. Casinos are responsible for proving they follow the rules, correcting errors they find, and documenting those efforts.

“In many ways, surveillance is the audit engine of a casino operation,” Riffel said. “They’re observing everything,” including random employee monitoring to document accepted and unaccepted procedures. “It’s a gigantic audit and compliance platform to make sure that the defined policies and procedures are being followed.”

The tailor-built platform also analyzes data that player tracking cannot provide, such as which manufacturer’s slot machines had the most malfunctions in the last calendar year.

“A lot of vendors know nothing about casino gaming and just look at the industry as another place to make a dollar,” Riffel said. “This is where we grew up. We truly understand the nature of what (operators) do and what their challenges are. Most options that people face today are companies that want to make you successful for the next three months. We want to make you successful for the long term.”

Mark Gruetze is a veteran journalist from suburban Pittsburgh who covers casino gaming issues and personalities.