Casinos and resorts have long embraced technology to increase the establishment’s security or to help their guests enjoy the overall experience more.
One of the most visible uses of technology has been the integration of the internet with the gambling industry to make casinos online. Combining the web and gambling has helped manufacture an industry worth $70 billion as of 2020, and it is projected to rise to over $90 billion in 2023.
This staggering rise in revenue is partly due to Covid and the effect of lockdowns on how people use the internet for entertainment. It is also partly due to innovations that the casino and gambling industry has put in place.
How does this industry use technology, and how much of it is visible, and how much is working away behind the scenes?
For the security of the casino
Casinos are businesses and of course with all that cash lying about they are targets for criminals. Card switchers, card counters, chip thieves, scammers, and straight-up plain-armed robbers have all targeted casinos in the past.
Sometimes these people even get away with it; at least in London, they did. Back in 2004, 2 men and a woman entered The Ritz in London and won around $1.3 million on roulette. They were accused of using mobile phones and computer equipment to predict the region where the ball was most likely to stop. However, eventually, the police decided no actual laws had been broken and they were allowed to keep their winnings.
Although criminals have gotten away with varying amounts of chips and cash in the past, once the casino discovers this they update their security policies and technology to match.
Keeping the casino and the player safe
The technology used in casinos for security is also there to make sure the players aren’t cheated too. Angel Eye card shoes are used widely in Asian casinos to catch card switchers who target Baccarat games. Eye-in-the-sky cameras watch over games looking for cheaters and card counters. However, some regions long ago overturned the right to bar card counters and other states are following suit.
License plate readers can alert security to a banned player entering the casino before they’ve even parked their vehicle. Facial recognition can also pick up unwanted players if they have reached the gaming floor.
RFID technology lets the casino track exactly where every chip is at any given time. This helps to stop chips from being stolen from players or the house. This technology is used in Angel Eye tech and also in slot machines.
By using RFID in slots the casino knows when the slot machine needs emptying or filling up. Casinos also employ NFC to improve the guests’ resort experience.
Improving the check-in and hotel stay
Many players enjoy hotel and resort accommodation on their visit to places such as Las Vegas, and the casinos are always looking at ways to improve the experience. Casinos compete with each other therefore any way they can retain custom will be examined.
NFC or near-field communication tech is used to help the check-in run smoothly. The guest can download the casino app and then use this with NFC to check-in, unlock the hotel room door without a key, open the blinds, change the temperature, and order room service.
The app also monitors and records the habits of the guest so that they can tailor offers and advertising. If the guest has stayed at a sister resort before then this will be on record and they will be able to offer a free night’s accommodation to loyal customers.
Different payment methods
While traditional casinos are largely restricted to cash along with debit cards, online casinos have far more options, and appear to be taking over in general. Today’s payment technology allows online casinos to accept third-party payments through Stripe and other companies, e-wallets, and bitcoin.
Accepting cryptocurrency allows the player another level of security and anonymity plus the convenience of using crypto which is still limited to a minimal amount of vendors.
ESports and gambling
There are lots of betting and entertainment options in today’s online casinos including virtual horse racing, bingo, live poker tables, and more. In traditional casinos, though, they are looking at a fairly new form of entertainment and betting, eSports.
As usual, if the gambling industry thinks it will make money they will investigate. ESports are growing quietly but rapidly and land-based casinos have invested in making eSport arenas to host events and you can guarantee that betting on the players and teams will be allowed.
2020 and the pandemic put a spoke in the wheels of eSports but The International is ready and waiting in ’21 to host an eSports event with the biggest prize pool in history with over $40 million.
The use of AI and VR is set to change how people visit the casino. Already millions, or perhaps billions, of people are visiting online casinos to play slots, poker, blackjack, and roulette, but some people still want to feel as if they are in a real building.
Virtual reality allows someone to have the convenience of using online casinos while having a more immersive experience. Players can roam the gaming floor, change cash into chips, play games, and interact with other players, all in a fully realized 3D setting.
Live dealers and live casinos
It has been said that live casinos are shaping the gaming industry’s future. These websites try to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar establishments and online casinos but instead of using VR technology they use real-life dealers.
Cameras, green screens, and other technology is employed to allow a professional dealer to run live poker and roulette games online. The cameras are one way so that the player’s privacy is respected although the dealer can address players by their username. These online casinos are proving to be highly popular with players that miss human interaction but don’t wish to, or can’t, travel to a casino.
From RFID, NFC, facial recognition, to online casinos with virtual reality and AI, the gambling industry is constantly looking for new technological improvements.
As VR improves and becomes more widespread, expect virtual reality casinos to become more popular along with live dealers. The next big gaming area for the industry may be eSports, and after that…who knows?