When you think of technology, places like Silicon Valley probably come to mind, but you might be surprised to learn just how high-tech gambling destinations like Las Vegas have become. With millions of tourists visiting every year and billions of dollars at stake, casinos rely on a wide range of technology to operate more efficiently, create a better customer experience, improve safety and encourage visitors to spend more money. Here are just a few of the technology based tools that help keep Las Vegas casinos on the cutting-edge:
You have probably seen at least one movie where savvy criminals are able to beat the house, but in real life, it is incredibly difficult. Almost all of the technology that is designed to prevent and catch cheating is completely invisible, so gamblers don’t even know they are being monitored. Surveillance begins the moment you pull onto the casino property with license plate scanners that match information against a database of cheaters and gambling addicts. Biometric face recognition can also be used to identify unwelcome visitors.
At the tables, both cards and chips are now commonly equipped with tracking information. A system called Angel Eye uses cards that are printed with unique barcodes in invisible ink. This prevents any card switching. Small homing chips can also be embedded in casino chips. Authorized chips will emit a signal that is detected by reading equipment at the cashing booth. Any counterfeit chips can quickly be identified.
In the past, pit managers made adjustments to the gaming floor based on their own observations and years of experience in the casino business. There wasn’t a system in place to test the performance of changes or measure results. Basically, what games were being featured and where they were placed was all left to educated guesses.
Today, casinos are using data and predictive modeling to measure specific ROIs and make more informed decisions. In addition to using data to determine the best placement of games, analytics are being used to decide which customers are offered special deals on hotels and meals. Customers who are more apt to gamble and spend a certain amount at the casino are offered a free dinner or a discounted stay at the hotel. By identifying customers who are more likely to gamble, the casino is able to practice highly targeted marketing and increase revenue.
Analytics can also be used to identify trends that might be an indication of cheating. TableEye21 uses an overhead camera and a variety of other technology to track what cards are being played and how much is being wagered. At the same time, advanced software is analyzing all the information and providing detailed stats that can reveal if a player is counting cards and if the dealer might be working with some of the players at the table.
IBM’s Relationship Resolution software is another analytics tool that can detect larger cheating rings. Using massive amounts of data, the software can identify relationships that wouldn’t be obvious at first glance. For example, the software might identify a playing trend only to discover that the dealer and winning player were college roommates. While casinos were the first to use this technology, the government quickly recognized its powerful implications and adopted the software following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Software is also playing an important role solving scheduling challenges, which in turn improves employee job satisfaction and leads to a better customer experience. Imagine working as a scheduling manager at a busy Las Vegas casino. You have hundreds of employees with different skill sets and preferred schedules and a casino that needs a capable staff 24/7. The logistics of effectively trying to place everyone while also taking into account unexpected emergencies, is an organizational nightmare. That is exactly why Casino Schedule Ease was invented.
Casino Schedule Ease allows managers to work with a visual map of the casino floor and easily assign employees according to when they can work and where they perform the best. The software also streamlines the communication process by providing a single portal where employees can request days off and managers can see who is available to fill slots. Ultimately, this technology frees up time for managers while also working to get the most out of each employee.
Increased Safety and Security
As discussed in a recent blog post, casinos are looking for new ways to improve security without introducing obtrusive solutions that take away from the fun environment and put visitors on edge. Having to walk through a metal detector doesn’t exactly provide a warm and welcoming greeting, but it is the most effective way to identify weapons and prevent them from entering the building. That is why more forward thinking casinos have already incorporated invisible metal detectors at all their entrances. These devices can’t be seen by visitors, but are constantly at work and being monitored by uniformed and undercover security personnel.
Enterprise Level Content Management
Paperwork and casinos don’t seem like two words that would go together, but the average casino produces 45,000 pages of documents a year. That is a lot to keep track of and manage. From human resources to accounting, casinos rely on many of the same departments and back-office components that any other average business needs to operate. That is why many casinos are going digital and getting rid of paper documents altogether. Not only does this approach streamline communications, it also reduces costs and provides better access to important information.
When it comes to casinos, the use of technology goes well beyond new games. Casinos rely on a wide variety of hardware, software and services to better manage their facilities and their employees while also constantly working to improve the customer experience. In fact, the items list above represent just a small portion of the technology that casinos use on a daily basis. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes so that visitors can have a safe and pleasant experience.