The Peppermill’s seasoned in-house pro AV and content creation team worked with value-added reseller KniTec and Samsung to design a one-of-a-kind, curved, fine pixel-pitch LED display that dominates the renovated sportsbook area and energizes the entire casino. The 110-ft. wide, 12-ft. tall, 2.5mm display has more than 13,000 horizontal pixels — a viewing surface large enough to allow sportsbook patrons to watch broadcasts from up to 30 different sources simultaneously on different display zones.
“We came up with the idea of a big, seamless curved wall made with LED, that had a horseshoe curve that really made it look elegant,” says Ness of the final plan settled on by the owners and his own staff.
The design idea focused on an 110-ft. wide, 12-ft. tall curved display, creating a digital canvas that’s 13,000 pixels across. That many pixels is roughly the same as three side-by-side Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K screens, though on a much larger visual scale than conventional 4K LCDs.
The setup also envisioned banks of flanking LCD displays that would run odds and other betting information that didn’t need to be on the premium visual canvas.
California-based Samsung reseller KniTec has been a longtime display provider to the Peppermill group, and managing partner Eric Christiansen says Ness put a challenge in front of his company to present competitive options against other LED manufacturers and their resellers.
Christiansen pitched the Samsung IF Series displays, suggesting the 2.5mm LED modules. At typical viewing distances of 20 feet or more for sportsbook patrons, 2.5mm modules delivered a necessarily crisp viewing experience, without the incrementally higher costs of finer-pitch displays available in the IF series.
Peppermill’s technical team also loved the engineering design of the IF LED display modules, which are fully front-serviceable. Being able to easily remove modules for servicing or replacement, without all the disruption required to access LED video walls from the rear, was seen as a huge time and cost saver.
The front-serviceable mounting solution was custom-designed by Premier Dedicated Solutions, a division of Premier Mounts, which has started to develop the same expertise with LED that it has built up working with LCD displays. The Peppermill Reno job was its largest LED display project done to date by PDS, and was complicated by that gentle curve. Flat walls are relatively easy, says PDS’s Curtis Rose, “but with a curve, it adds another layer of difficulty.”
An unexpected, but naturally much welcomed, outcome of the vendor-selection process was the significantly reduced final costs achieved by KniTec and Samsung.
The original AV specifications developed by the Peppermill team budgeted roughly $300,000 for computing equipment and software designed to schedule, scale and control the signal outputs to fit the massive screens.
Samsung’s own LED UHD Signage Appliances— also called SNOW boxes — negated the need for that extra gear. “So we saved them about $80,000,” says Christiansen, “and they got a superior product at the same time.”
Through careful planning of staff and contractor schedules, and a lot of long hours, Peppermill Reno decommissioned its old sportsbook displays, started work Sunday evening, and by Thursday of the same week, had a massive, state-of-the-art Samsung LED wall — with a complicated 23-degree curve — installed and running. The enhanced sportsbook now rivals the best facilities in Nevada, or anywhere.
A major factor in the decision to make the investment in the new sportsbook screen was the visual impact it would deliver, says Ness. More betting is always good — but the Peppermill is already the busiest sportsbook in Reno.
Instead, the book’s location alongside the busiest foot traffic area in the casino — with some 10,000 people walking through per day — was the main tactic.
The new book features edge-to-edge content, including the three massive game broadcast zones, two more zones of the same size that are then “quadded” into four distinct broadcast feeds, and narrow vertical content strips between the zones that use iconic sports imagery from Getty Images. These strips were otherwise dead space left by the content zones’ adherence to 16:9 aspect ratios on the vast canvas. The display is now capable of airing up to 30 different games and events simultaneously.
There are also 12 LCDs flanking the video wall, running odds and other betting information.
As requested by the owners, the renovation resulted in minimal disruption for guests. These kinds of projects normally take several weeks to execute, and the Peppermill’s AV team of 10 — plus external tradespeople like electricians and carpenters — had a 12-day schedule that was already considered ambitious.
The work had to be sandwiched between major sporting events, notably the biggest event in thoroughbred racing, the Kentucky Derby. Ness and his team started decommissioning the old sports book displays and infrastructure starting at 6 a.m. on a Sunday — the day after the Derby — and had the screens and systems all up and running just four days later.
That pace was due to several things — primarily planning, getting a lot of the cables and supporting gear in place in advance, and thorough testing. The complicated 23-degree curve section of the PDS mounting system was erected ahead of time in a warehouse, so Ness and his team understood how it worked and was structured.
The drapes were lifted, and the sportsbook is now fully back in action. The crowds streaming through the casino can’t help but see the big, visually compelling canvas that’s been lit up.
“We’ve created huge, huge bling for our entire casino,” says Ness. “People look over and see screens with major sporting events on in this stunning LED, with its amazing contrast and brightness. That’s what LED does!”