In the competitive world of the casino, fortune favours the innovator. Online and offline, the world of gambling is often a proving ground for the latest technology. From automated casino chip sanitation and slot machines that can recognise you, to software that takes customer relationship management to the next level.
With the advent of ultra-high definition screens, virtual reality, and over-engineered speakers, capable of delivering gut thumping audio, casino slots are another area where technology is leading the march. Today, a simple spin of the reels is transformed into a 3D multi-sensory experience. Play for the jackpot and – if you don’t win – at least you can enjoy the ride.
The Casino Journal is the insider’s guide to what’s hot and happening in the world of casinos and gambling. This year, more than 50 hopefuls entered the annual Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products award. Here are some of the winners and a peak into the future.
Slots That Do Lots
The evolution of the slot machine continues. In the beginning, slots were mechanical marvels of engineering; heavy steel lumps with gears and levers. With electricity, came the circuit board and then the video screen. Despite the developments, the actual experience of playing a slot machine remained more or less the same: you watch the reels and hope for the best.
This is all changing. We live in a world where attention spans are shrinking. The next generation of slots are utilising the latest technology to give users the ultimate experience. The screens and consoles are often also engineered to connect together on the casino gaming floor, creating a striking visual impact.
Developers IGT has received plaudits for its Sex in the City Ultra game. Based on the iconic television show, the slot has a built-in chair, and a huge screen, and uses PowerSight technology to let players interact with the game by looking at the display. This slot follows the movement of your eyes.
Beware of the Sharks
Las Vegas based developers Everi is also up for a gong, thanks to its amazing looking Discovery Shark Week slots. The consoles have huge high definition screens that can line up alongside each other to create the illusion that players are inside a shark-filled aquarium.
Console developers Interblock also give a tantalising glimpse into the future with their console-style traditional games. The Slovenia-based business makes automated versions of roulette, craps, blackjack, sic bo, and more. The new games all use mechanical generators and have a modular design which enables casinos to swap and choose the games they offer.
Locks, Chips, and Performance
Behind the scenes, technology is also having an impact. Basic casino essentials like chips and locks all benefit from innovation. Lock manufacturers Lockdogs have created award-winning changeable locks for slot machines that can be changed up to 13,000 times. If the keys go missing, you just swap out the lock.
Over at housekeeping… If your casino’s chips have spent too long in the sweaty fingers of players, one card away from a royal flush, then Elite Gaming can help. The company’s proprietary on-site chip cleaning system can refurbish up to 100,000 chips per day; saving both waste and money.
Software innovation is also celebrated. Tangem Systems has developed software which will monitor the performance of every connected machine in the casino. An overview reveals machine takings, faults, dead zones, unused machines, and hot spots; an invaluable tool for the savvy casino floor manager.
CRM Gets Serious
Perfect customer relationship management (CRM) is the panacea for any business. In the world of gaming, knowing a player’s behaviour – both in and out of the casino – is key. Several of this year’s technology awards are earmarked for this category; from ticket and card systems that monitor player behaviour to software that makes it easy to identify VIPs at the casino.
If you’re worried about sharing your data, look away now (and remember that you can still gamble with chips and cash at most casinos). Synkros from Konami has been in use since 1998. The software helps casinos manage and reward players. It can now integrate with SYNK vision: a biometric player tracking system that recognises players’ unique facial characteristics. No need to use a card!
There you have it. The technology transforming the way we wager; more entertainment, more value, more scrutiny. Is it an improvement or do you yearn for the good old days when eye-to-eye contact was all you needed to judge a serious player. Love it or loathe it – it’s not going away.