Modern technology is used everywhere, and all the time; usually it’s utilized to make life easier, and modern casinos are no exception.
Technology itself is an interesting concept. The very word technology will probably conjure up sci-fi inspired images of futuristic worlds, where all and every want is taken care of by some robotic servant.
The technology I’m referring to is purely the making, use and the knowledge of tools, machines, crafts or systems which are used to achieve a goal or solve a problem; at one point the simple spoon was no-doubt a technological innovation of engineering and practicality.
How technology can be used to make lives easier is naturally of universal interest; where-as for us, how it can and is being used in modern casinos to make life easier is of particular interest; and I’m not just talking about fancy new mobile casinos.
Wait, you mean the technology used to make the carpets?
Modern casinos are packed full of technology. As we touched on before, technology is a difficult concept to discuss as literally almost everything and anything is or was some form of cutting-edge technology, at least in the very basic sense.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa ‘Chip-gate’
• $800,000 worth of forged chips in use
• Main suspect Christian Lusardi arrested
• Lusardi tried to flush further $2.7m worth of bogus chips down the toilet of another casino
All that aside, we’re only going to be focusing on the new types of technology casino operators are installing and using throughout their establishments in order to improve both their own security and player satisfaction.
Relatively recent technology used to improve the casino experience, modern security systems, detection features and the things you might find in gambling news announcements will be featured here; those new stain-proof carpets and associated thread technology will not.
The rabbit hole of technology reviewing, rating and reporting will be narrowly avoided and by-passed. However, you will hear about some cool new things that casino bosses are using to detect card-counters, which could make the infamous knuckle-duster wearing pit-bosses become totally redundant.
Hi-Tech Casino Chips
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City has had a bad month. While hosting a substantial poker event, it was brought to bosses attention that there was $800,000 worth of counterfeit chips in circulation.
Concerns were initially raised by a tournament member, a warning that was ignored, before the men in charge decided to shut down the games and investigate. Their early lack of action, and subsequent lack of information about what’s going to happen with all the players’ buy-in money, has resulted in the casino now facing a class action lawsuit.
Like I said, it’s been a bad month.
Fortunately, as a result the casino has developed new ‘hi-tech’ chips which will prevent the same problem arising again. The new chips have been specially designed and have anti-counterfeiting features in them, such as ultraviolet marking, much like modern currency.
As a single chip literally represents vast amounts of money, this seems like a pretty reasonable and actually quite necessary step to take and other casinos have been experimenting with their chips too; several large gambling operators are using chips fitted with RFID tags which allow them to not only identify legitimate chips from forgeries, but also track their whereabouts in the casino at all times.
Useful information can be gathered on the players who have these chips in their possession. Profiles can quickly be created that give casino bosses a good idea of the players betting and playing habits; something that will allow them to identify counters extremely quickly.
Smart Systems: Smart Ideas
Chips are not the only place thing that has been given the technology upgrades; playing tables have now too begun to become integrated with smart systems.
One method, using the same RFID technology as the chip, requires RFID antennas to be present in the playing tables and works very much the same as the chip technology.
Another method, which is much more in-depth, consists of optical scanners. Cards and chips are marked with unique ‘barcode’ ID numbers; these markings can be picked up by optical scanners and even cameras located on and around the tables. All scanned data is sent back to the people in charge.
This allows the men behind the scenes to get a very clear picture of what is going on down on the casino floor. Dynamic tracking of which cards are in the game, what cards each player has in their hand and the players betting habits provide significant quantities of data which can then be analyzed and easily detect anyone who they suspect of having an edge over the house.
This is easily the most effective method of catching someone out who is counting; the software will flag up anyone who is acting out with normal parameters, doing 99% of the work for you.
Simple, Yet Effective
This is genuinely pretty hi-tech stuff. The most ingenious part is the background software that will constantly be looking at data from all different angles in any instance where it appears the casino is losing too much money.
However, there are quite simple technologies being used in casinos too, which provide a better experience and make things just a little bit easier. Automatic card-shufflers that can shuffle 8-decks of cards at the same time, in a genuinely random order, may not seem impressive but tell that to the guy who used to have to do it by hand.
Not only will it save him some nasty paper cuts, the casino can rest assured that the dealer is not conspiring with a player and trying to rip off their employer by loading the deck.
Simple cameras located at casino entrances and parking areas scan the license plates of potential guests; pictures of every plate are then run through optical character-recognition software and if your plate matches a database of undesirables, the security personnel might hand back your keys and suggest you take your business elsewhere.
The optical scanning systems look to become more popular than they currently are. There are talks of integrating this and current facial recognition camera features, to improve the security even further.
Non-obvious relationship awareness (NORA) software will potentially be able to determine if you share enough background data with the dealer to be suspected of collusion, this will typically look at your history and the area you are from/work within.
It’s certain that even more technology is likely to be utilized in casinos of the future, which might not be as far away as you may think. Mobile betting is still pretty sweet and technological too though; you can gamble, on the go.