Photo: Adaire Fox-Martin
In the movie "Ocean's Thirteen" the villain Willy Bank (played by Al Pacino) owns a casino that utilises a technology called "The Greco Player Tracker" that checks the legitimacy of winnings on the gaming floor by tracking the biometric movements of players. It is essentially software with artificial intelligence that can tell if players are cheating.
While that technology seems novel it does exist in one form or another. Casinos are among the biggest markets for new technologies especially when it comes to ensuring that cheating on the floor does not happen or at least, limited. Some casinos employ "smart" face recognition to do background checks on customers if they've had run-ins with the law. There are also statistics-related technologies to see player winnings on the games they play. Other casinos simply place numerous surveillance cameras as well as counterfeit note detection devices.
Casinos run better with technology
Utilisation of such technologies is all too common in the casino industry, which is a multi-billion dollar market that employs state-of-the-art, leading edge technologies. With the growth of the casino industry globally, and the establishment of new gaming meccas in Asia such as Macau, Korea, Philippines and Singapore, it is not surprising to see casino operators install security-related equipment.
Some of the commonly-used technologies in the retail, hotel and manufacturing businesses are being adopted by the casino industry. Radio frequency ID (RFID), for instance, are being placed in casino chips to ensure that no fraudulent playing chips are being used to play. If stolen, these chips are rendered worthless by simply turning off the RFID tags in them. The technology was proven useful when chips that were worth at least US$1.5 million from the famed casino The Bellagio in Las Vegas were stolen. The thief never got to cash the chips as the Bellagio managers just turned off the RFID tags, which contained how much each chip was worth.
Going back to statistics, casinos are now becoming among the most prominent users of statistical analytics based applications to crunch big data. It's not a surprise, considering casinos have to ensure that customers enjoy while they play and that the casino operator itself continues to be profitable.
More recently, analytics has played a huge role in making operators come up with added value services that enhance customer satisfaction beyond the gaming floor. Data is collected about customers' spending behaviours, their preferences in the type of games they play, the frequency of which customers visit the casino, and with the issuance of loyalty cards, even the amount being spent in the casino's restaurants and shops. That data is converted into discernible statistics that can be eventually used to maximise both gaming and value added services for customers.
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