Are Casinos Running out of Ideas Surrounding Tech?
Since the announcement in 2020 that there was a global pandemic, many businesses have suffered. Retail and tourism were particularly hard hit by the lockdowns and travel restrictions. Entertainment venues also had to close, along with restaurants and bars.
One of the biggest examples of how Covid could affect both business and community was in Las Vegas. A city that is practically built for entertainment and houses every type of business that Covid forced to shut down.
Statista’s report shows that in 2019, more than 42 million people visited Las Vegas to be entertained, to play in casinos, and to wine and dine. During 2020, that number dropped to less than half the previous year’s visitors.
One of the hurdles they must overcome is how to get those visitor numbers back up. Casino operators have always been keen on innovation, and they will need it now to attract new tourists, but what new tech can they employ, and have they run out of ideas?
How do casinos employ technology in their business?
Not so long ago, casinos operated purely as either land-based establishments, or as in the case of Goa, on water.
Due to restrictions on land-based casinos, there have been instances of riverboats going back to the 19th century. Nowadays though, there is a third option; internet casinos.
Technology has allowed anyone to play blackjack online, along with poker, and other casino games at any time and anywhere that has WiFi. This technology has proven invaluable over the last year as traditional casinos closed.
However, this is just a small example when it comes to casinos using tech. Gaming operators use technology today for a wide range of purposes. Different types of tech are employed to improve security for the casino and the guest. The gaming and resort experience is enhanced by technology also.
Here are some of the ways that technology is employed by casino operators, and how some might be used very soon.
To lessen the fears of Covid and reduce human contact
One of the big problems with attracting guests to return to Las Vegas or any gaming destination is the fear of Covid.
Last year saw a huge rise in people using the internet for sources of entertainment, and food delivery services. Many of these people have said that they don’t intend to return to shopping malls or restaurants as often as before.
This is borne out by the fact that entertainment subscriptions are still soaring, and gamblers are preferring the net to the high street bookmaker.
So more casino resorts are resorting (sorry) to NFC technology. Near-field communication allows guests to check themselves into their rooms without the need for human contact or even a passcard or key.
NFC even allows the guest to adjust the air-con, the lighting, and open and close the blinds. All minimizing the number of surfaces that need to be touched.
To add an extra level of personal service
Casinos have always been aware of how to make a guest feel welcome. Big bettors get comped regularly, upgrades are handed out to the right people, and free drinks are available on some gaming floors.
Now though, some of the games are taking this to another level. Konami announced a couple of years ago that they were developing facial technology for slot machines.
This means that when a regular player who is registered for a loyalty card sits down, the slot machine will scan him or her. There will be no need to insert a loyalty card as the machine will recognize the player and automatically log the playing session.
To allow sports betting when there are no sports
Is there ever a point when there isn’t something to bet on in the world? Probably not, but if you have a particular favorite sport it might be frustrating when a game ends, or the season is over, and you still want to bet.
Virtual sports have been employed by casinos for some time, but now they are covering a much wider amount of activities. Previously it was common to see virtual horse racing, indeed, video race nights go back decades.
Now, however, people can visit sites such as LVBET to wager on everything from virtual baseball to MMA any time of the day or night. No football today? No problem, just log on and find a virtual game.
To stop card switchers
Blackjack is one of the few casino games where the player can gain an edge over the house. In fact, the house edge, or vig, for blackjack is already very small.
Any player with an understanding of basic strategy can lower the house edge to almost nothing, and card counters can swing that advantage fully to them. But even though blackjack is one of the more even games in a casino, some people like to take it even further and cheat.
Many casinos in Macau and other eastern destinations found themselves at the mercy of card switchers in the past. Something needed to be done, and Angel playing cards was the answer.
These cards have invisible barcodes on them that are scanned as they are dealt. All the card details are fed to a computer. When the game ends if the cards on the table do not match the computer’s output, then security can intervene.
To be more transparent
One concern for many online casino players is that they wonder if the games are fair. All licensed online operators need to be vetted and regulated so there should never be any fear of cheating on the casino’s part.
Blockchain technology though may take away any lingering doubts. Decentralized apps are a way to remove the power from one single authority. Although dApps are still in their infancy, there are possibilities that casinos may get involved.
The advantages for players would be greater transparency, anonymity, and fast payouts.
Virtual reality and eSports
Two areas that are normally associated with video games are also crossing over into the world of casinos.
With the popularity of online casinos and the possibility of many players staying away from land-based establishments, VR could start to feature heavily. After all, if the player won’t go to the casino, then the casino will have to go to them.
ESports are also linking up to casinos in a big way. The Luxor in Vegas already has a dedicated arena for eSport tournaments, and with the huge prize funds now available perhaps it is not so surprising.
Casinos have often been involved with sports, especially boxing and MMA, so now they are branching into streaming eSports. And of course, you can bet on the outcome.
If you are playing at home with friends there are lots of gadgets to enhance your poker night experience. You can visit a live casino online if you are playing alone, or visit a virtual bingo hall.
When it comes to the more traditional casinos, technology is harnessed in many ways. Eye in the sky cameras track unwanted visitors, and cameras outside can read license plates. RFID technology checks that casino chips are not being stolen, and also let the house know when a slot machine needs emptying.
When it comes to plain fun though, casinos are quick to investigate and use anything that will improve the player’s experience, and of course, the casino’s profits. Remember, the house always wins.