Facial Recognition, Digital Poker Chips, Baccarat Tables Track Customer Behaviour To Find Appetite Risk
The house always wins — and now it has artificial intelligence on its side.
Some of the world’s biggest casino operators in Macau, the Chinese territory that’s the epicenter of global gaming, are starting to deploy hidden cameras, facial recognition technology, digitally-enabled poker chips and baccarat tables to track which of their millions of customers are likely to lose the most money.
The new technology uses algorithms that process the way customers behave at the betting table to determine their appetite for risk. In general, the higher the risk appetite, the more a gambler stands to lose and the more profit a casino tends to make, sometimes up to 10 times more.
This embrace of high-tech surveillance comes as casino operators jostle for growth in a slowing industry that’s under pressure from economic headwinds and regulatory scrutiny. In the world’s biggest gaming hub, where expansion is reaching its limits, two casino operators — the Macau units of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International — have already started to deploy some of these technologies on hundreds of their tables.
Macau junket operator Suncity Group Holdings Ltd., which is building a casino in Vietnam, said it is planning to deploy a system where RFID technology — which uses radio frequencies to attach tags to objects — is installed on chips and tables, storing data on players.
It’s not unusual for casinos to have surveillance cameras for security and to detect cheating, with Las Vegas operators utilizing RFID-enabled chips that they can disable if they’re stolen out of the casino. But these new technologies go a step further in tracking and rating every customer, building up a treasure trove of data.
“Those who can afford to lose, those who play even more when losing money, we can for sure offer them a free meal,” Andrew Lo, executive director of junket operator Suncity’s listed arm, said.
There are three major companies supplying casino operators with the A.I.-enabled technology: Walker Digital, Dallmeier, and Japan based Angel Playing Cards.
While the companies differ somewhat in the technology that they offer, the general setup is this: gamblers’ betting behaviour is tracked through high-resolution cameras and RFID-enabled poker chips and tables, with the intelligence, gleaned flowing back into a centralized database where a risk profile of the individual is then created.
In general, the higher the risk appetite, the more a gambler stands to lose and the more profit a casino tends to make, sometimes up to 10 times more
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