Gambling has been a popular activity that can be traced to most civilizations in history. In the US the first gambling houses were saloons and offered patrons the opportunity to talk, drink and gamble. The first casinos were created in 1931 in the state of Nevada. Since then, the casino market has grown exponentially but with this growth comes greater competition. Casinos have to employ an ever increasing number of tactics to keep people coming through their doors, many of them utilizing state-of-art technology to keep their offering fresh, unique and up to the high standard that gamblers have come to expect from their casinos. Today, we’re exploring the advanced technologies casinos are already utilizing and asking, could cryptocurrencies play a part in the future of casinos and their desire to stay one step ahead of the competition?
Cryptocurrencies and Casinos – Now
For many people the idea of a cryptocurrency is still a relatively new concept, but as we report, it’s one that is growing in popularity amongst the mainstream. The casino industry is fast becoming one of technological exploration, and Las Vegas is the hub of this journey with the first land-based casinos to accept bitcoins.
It was the brave decision of Derek Stevens, CEO of The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino to start accepting bitcoins in 2014, and it paid off with increased revenue. For now, bitcoin is only accepted in the casino restaurants and gift shops, which has seen an increase in lower ticket item sales. They have also installed a bitcoin ATM which allows bitcoin users to buy and sell the currency.
In part, the introduction of bitcoin to Las Vegas was due to the growing user community, and our desire to spend the currency in casinos; it was the foresight of a few leading casinos to take advantage of this growing market to usher in an era of change in the way that money changes hands in the gambling community.
Cryptocurrencies and Casinos – the Future
Although it is not currently possible to gamble using cryptocurrencies in casinos, this is the next logical step for them to take. As it stands, it is estimated that there are 10.71 million bitcoins in circulation across the market – this is a growing audience that casinos could take advantage of in a competitive market.
For now there are regulations in place that make it impossible for bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies, to be used for gambling, but they are regulations that people are working towards getting lifted. Once lifted, casinos could take advantage of cryptocurrency blockchains to create smart contracts that would effectively remove the need for chips to be used within casinos.
Cryptocurrencies are just one of several new technologies that the leading casinos have begun to introduce to make their gambling experience better than the many establishments that they compete with. There are even more ways in which casinos employ advanced technologies, introduced for many reasons, including customer satisfaction and increased security.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are another tactic that casinos have introduced to beef up their security, and not only that.
It’s a simple but brilliant idea: RFID chips work by tracking the movement of each chip – making theft near on impossible. Before the introduction of RFID chips it was entirely possible for thieves to steal chips as there was no way of tracking their movement. There is a hefty price tag associated with casinos upgrading their chips, but considering how important security is to the industry, it’s one more step that casinos are likely to take in the future.
As well as the increased security, RFID chips also allow casinos to understand more about how money is moving through their establishment. According to an infographic created by PokerStars Casino, central in-house databases monitor the activity of chip IDs, to provide casinos with valuable insights and analytics. They can track how much a player bets per hand, how much they lose or win and how long they stay at a table, and adjust their promotions and offerings. This gives the casino much more actionable data to work with; they can reward their high rollers, keep good players at the table for longer and generally improve customer satisfaction and retention.
Smart Facial Recognition
This tactic employed by casinos is certainly there to increase their security and to ensure that cheats or anyone who looks suspicious can’t enter their establishment. Many casinos rely on large security teams who man high-megapixel digital cameras to identify unwanted guests but a few casinos have started to introduce new smart facial recognition.
Like a scene from a Bourne movie, this new technology takes a photograph of everyone who walks into the casino and then cross references it with a database to weed out anyone who shouldn’t be there. It’s still a relatively new technology but the goal is to increase security and to spot high rollers and special guests.
Big data is becoming a big issue for casinos, and it’s an area that they’re taking very seriously. What this tactic employs are systems that are able to handle vast amounts of data that is gathered from the casino players, generally via a reward scheme, that can track and record their bets, length of play, etc. The casinos are then able to create a profile for the player that assesses risk and suggests incentives. This tactic keeps the player happy, but it also keeps them on the floor and in the casino.
Whether it’s to keep up with current trends, appeal to their audience or tighten their security, the future of casinos is one led by technology. It is a future where cryptocurrencies could certainly fit in.