Industry leaders, gaming regulators, and legislators from 21 states and Puerto Rico gathered in Las Vegas over the weekend from November 8 through November 11 to participate in the exploration of a dozen topics of importance to regulated gambling across the nation.
The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States met at Resorts World Las Vegas for four days of meetings and panel discussions. One session on Friday was focused on trends and innovation in the gaming industry.
One of the hot-button topics was, of course, Virtual Reality, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Boyd Gaming’s senior vice president and chief information officer, Brent Rampmaier talked about allowing friends to get together at a casino even when some of them might be at home or somewhere else.
“That is something we all need to talk about,” Rampmaier said. “How does alternate reality and virtual reality fit into that online and in brick-and-mortar? How can you set up an experience where you have a group of friends that are going to the brick-and-mortar but one of the friends can’t? How do you join that experience together with someone sitting at home with a headset and feel like they’re actually in the brick-and-mortar with their friends?”
One solution Boyd Gaming is working on is linking your gaming app on a smartphone directly to the slot machine you are playing. Then, when you hit a jackpot or another memorable achievement occurs, the app could let you share your success along with a picture of yourself directly on your social media accounts.
“People love to share,” said Rampmaier.
Other Tech Advances
The information officer also talked about robotics – not to replace workers or cut payrolls, but to fill in when real people can’t be found for the work, according to the report.
The subject opens an explosive issue for union workers in particular but for workers in many other industries with and without representation and collective bargaining as well.
Rampmaier said, “We’re trying to find innovative ways where we can’t find people,” he said. “This isn’t about needing or wanting to cut labor expenses. We can’t find them. We jack prices up to unrealistic numbers in certain states, and we still can’t find people. We can’t find dealers.
“We’re looking at craps tables that are completely digital and can be run by one person. We’re looking at robots that deliver supplies to hotel rooms or deliver food and bus tables. We’re looking at a multitude of things to battle against this labor issue, and quite frankly, we just don’t see many answers.”
One answer may be for union workers to organize ahead of some of the changes coming with AI and robotics and to invest in the technological solutions themselves. Vast social issues such as Universal Basic Income and similar implications need to be addressed in worker/management partnerships to avoid unintended economic whiplash and other consequences to Web3 or Industry 4.0.
Genting Americas panelist, Stacy Rowland said that all amenities need to be upgraded – not simply slot machines and electronic table games.
“We have a different type of customer out there than we used to,” said Rowland. “You have customers that want more than a machine, more than a table. They want to eat well; they want to listen to music; they want to stay in a hotel that provides all amenities, not just a place to sleep and get up and gamble.”
The business today is an IT business…
Ohio Casino Control Commission chair, June Taylor cautioned that casino operators need to keep up with changing demographics and technological innovations if casinos want to keep seeing the record revenues they have over the last two years. Casinos were able to open sooner than many other types of entertainment venues and that may be part of the reason revenues have been breaking records for over 20 months in a row now in Nevada and other locales.
Taylor said, “The business today is an IT business. If you’re going to get into this game, you need to understand it, and if you’re going to have regulators in it, the regulatory side is going to be your IT gurus. That’s an evolution that has occurred over time, and it’s only going to get greater. If you’re going to be as nimble and as malleable as you need to be, to do the work you’re supposed to do, especially when you have acquisition and so forth, you have to keep up.”
Sportsbetting will become legal in Ohio on January 1, 2023. Just shy of 4,000 licenses have already been issued. The first five licenses went to top-tier operators PointsBet, Caesars Sportsbook, bet365, SuperBook, and BetFred. There are two other tiers as well with kiosks opening almost everywhere including grocery stores.
Source: Gaming panel says casinos must keep up with technology to thrive. Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 9, 2022