What’s Next for Table Games?

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Technology has been a part of the Table Games market for a while now. But for the most part it has been considered as something of an after-thought and the systems that have been used with Table Games have either been one use (“smart” shoes) or crude adaptations of slots systems (any Casino Rating system). Slots can accurately record the money that is played in them, the amounts and denominations of cash entered and they do this continually. Likewise they also record every facet of play made on them. Table Games cannot do this.

table g 1Outdated Ratings and “Average Bet”

While an initial buy in may be entered into a Ratings system correctly, follow up buy-ins may not be. Similarly while the initial “Average Bet” may be accurate, a Patron will not always make the same bet and the system doesn’t alert for change. Then there is the question of game pace, it relies on the capability of the staff member, on the table, and the occupancy level of the game. It changes at all times, yet most Ratings systems treat it as a constant. Even the House Advantage may be an estimation. With all these moving parts and almost all of them being assumptions is it a surprise that the end result is not a true picture of the play of any Patron and for calculating rewards for their play?

table g 2Garbage In – Garbage Out

This is the IT industry’s way of saying, “If you can’t trust the Inputs, then how can you trust the Outputs?”
But technology has moved on from the days when the first tentative steps were taken to try to understand what was happening on the Table Games within a Casino. The first step, the step that is possible now, is to aggregate the data from multiple sources to build up a better picture of what is going on.

table g 6Combining Data Sources for a Bigger Picture

While “Smart shoe” data in and of itself tells us little, it can be used as a proxy for game pace allowing an Operation to know the actual game pace, in “real time”. While the data from Ratings systems is not perfect, it can be used in conjunction with an actual measured game pace so operators can begin to answer the “Casino Turnover per hour” question.  Just these two data sources already available to you can be used to look at individual Patrons against models for trends in Patron Play & outliers. This is just the beginning of using your own data. Bet placement & value recognition technology has been invented, so now Table Games can begin to understand their players as Slots Departments have for years.

table g 3Crucial Decisions from a Smartphone

Now the entire Gaming Floor operation becomes an open book. Which tables are busy would be instantly available. Whether a table minimum should be raised or lowered, whether a staff member was struggling and should be moved to a quieter game, whether a Patron appeared to be winning too much, or losing too much. All of this would be at the fingertips of floor management; literally as the data and insights could be streamed to a smartphone or tablet for instant situational performance knowledge and awareness. There would even be knowledge of Advantage Players as they would appear as anomalies from normal player betting.

table g 4Smart Systems

There is great potential around the development of “smart systems” that truly are smart. Machine learning programs that can be “taught” behaviours and can be left to their own devices monitoring the huge new data streams generated. Primed to issue alerts and to contact real people if and when certain behavioural or situational triggers are encountered. Current technological developmental trends are going to give unprecedented oversight and actual knowledge of activities on the Gaming Floor in near to “real time.” Machine learning algorithms will make ”on the fly” decisions about what is important enough to be brought to the attention of real people and what is not.

 

While the rise of the much touted Millennial generation opens up huge new potential vistas of opportunity for Table Game play. As one of the most socially diverse and yet cohesive generational groups ever who are, so we are told, great believers in the authentic experience and group activities they are more likely to be attracted to the dynamism of the live Table Game market than they are to the sterility of Slots. This is the technological future…and companies are making it happen already.

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