Although AI in the casino space isn’t new, it’s become critical for data collection. A LOT of data collection. Initially, AI came to fruition for security operations. Weeding out the ever-elusive fraudsters and con-men became a key tipping point for architecting such complex and expensive systems. The casino industry sought to conquer the criminal underworld that took advantage of the cracks in casino operations and fight back with modern weapons.
The power of machine learning helped to facilitate a better understanding of daily activities and provided a clearer path forward with automation and data interpretation. This also came with the added benefit of providing a safer gambling environment for players and operators, as well as creating a clearer picture of problem gambling and its effects. Naturally, however, AI has evolved into so much more. Both on and off the gaming floor.
The facets of AI automation span a massive range of variables, but typically can be grouped into 5 major categories:
- Tailored customer service efforts (comps)
- Compliance and fraud
- Security efforts
- Game randomization and optimization
- Data automation
This paints a somewhat unclear picture of data usage and collection that inevitably presents questions of intent. The deeper that machine learning scours behavior patterns and serves up ways to take advantage of big data, the more that consumer and user vulnerability becomes a serious question with hard-to-find answers. Both for players and gaming establishments.
But before the self-preservation and existential alarm bells start firing off in your head, remember that your daily intake of AI is already in full force. In reality, we interact with AI constantly. Especially for anyone who’s a fan of social media, Google, or any rewards program. You’re unknowingly participating in intelligent user behavior automation; a computer mechanism learns your habits and provides custom outreach tailored to your tastes.
The same applies to casinos and how they track, analyze, and distribute data. Using AI learning mechanisms to predict a player’s interests and habits is a crucial benefactor for casinos and players alike. The more information that gets processed and analyzed, the better operational outreach and functionality becomes.
Overall, the experience is better for players, operators function in a safer environment, and the establishment minimizes the likelihood of interacting with the “steel trap” of legal bureaucracy. Sounds more like a win-win, and less like a Skynet-style sci-fi nightmare (oh yes, the Terminator references are evergreen).
The Almighty Player’s Card
Ever gone to a casino and signed up for a player’s card? Ever felt wooed and incentivized with discounts, rewards, and those sweet-sweet points? That’s a method of player tacking or “Physical Artificial Intelligence” (PAI) learning and automation. Signing up for a player’s card requires the patron to provide mailing details, a copy of a driver’s license or passport, and a profile picture. After which, the card will continue to provide other data to the casino including player whereabouts on-premise (geo-mapping), gaming wins and losses, and accounting for tax purposes.
The player data is collected with pre-programmed algorithms, which provides several avenues of information to the casino, including security matters to be listed on a player’s profile if necessary. PAI is a multifaceted approach to managing the player’s experience, all while learning the player’s habits. Most casinos want a player to gamble fairly and to become a returning customer by having a personalized experience. Again, this AI thing is looking more and more favorable for everyone involved. Maybe Kubrick can finally rest in peace knowing that Haley Joel Osment and Spielberg didn’t create quite the nightmare we originally imagined.
That being said, not all people visiting a casino are there to gamble. There’s the accompanying husband or wife or the occasional lone wolf that likes to “people watch” at the beer bar. The “live casino” experience is nuanced and hard to boil down to simple binary terms like those that are gamblers or those that are not. After all, who doesn’t get a little weak-kneed with the strong sense of nostalgia that’s coupled with felt and neon?
But that doesn’t mean the insatiable data machine isn’t still finding a way to take full advantage of even these passive casino goers. Most will still likely sign up for a player’s card in exchange for restaurant discounts or even be persuaded into hitting the gaming floor after the free-play money offers start coming in. The data collection crosshairs are always tracking, and ultimately, it’s hard to argue being a target is less than ideal when Pho and a few rounds of Baccarat are potentially “on the house”.
Security: Machine Impartiality to the Rescue
Shockingly, the odds are in your favor when it comes to casinos using intelligent automation. Wouldn’t you want to be assured that your wager is fairly handled? At the machines or the tables, security measures are implemented for the safety of players and employees. In addition to PAI, casinos use biometrics to manage security concerns. By using technology to measure physical characteristics that help identify known and unknown patrons of the casinos (yes, even when you’re wearing a face mask) casinos can guarantee accuracy with almost 99.8% precision. Even tiny personal mannerisms can be tracked with behavioral biometrics. Thank god the biometric AI engine can’t sit at the high limit table and clean us all out.
This means that with a combination of human and automated intelligence systems, Casinos have a tighter grip on who’s who. Facial recognition can identify and alert casino security of any known players on the exclusion list who may need to be advised to leave. This helps to prevent any hefty fines a casino may face if a player is not caught.
In short, the biometric system takes data from an environment and reacts accordingly to maximize its success goals. Of course, AI is not human and can produce false alerts, so having strong security resources to verify such alerts are just as important as utilizing the software itself. Not to mention, the skills and experience from the company that works alongside the casino to assure that best practices are met. It pays to remember that the viability of technically complex tools is only as good as the company that supports them, and the importance of the experience that comes pre-packaged with the years of effort required to build the software in the first place.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
In case we had to remind you again, don’t be alarmed. AI is here to make life easier for you. Allow the impartiality and computational power of the machine world to embrace you like a warm reassuring hug. What might feel like intrusive monitoring, is just better security. Layers of algorithms implemented and trained to detect ransomware and malware attacks and monitor real-time threats with surgical levels of mathematical accuracy. Suspicious activities are monitored and logged in real-time to prevent malicious intent, and the same AI tools and systems that are being used in airports, hospitals, government agencies, and university campuses, are active in the gaming establishment as well.
Casinos take all security precautions necessary to prevent fraud, money laundering, cheating, violence, and any other forms of inappropriate behavior that creep into the recesses of your over-Netflixed psyche. Unless defiant acts of criminal behavior are your aim, at which point you have our condolences for your lost dreams of reenacting a “Clooney-Esque” level vault heist, then sleep peacefully knowing operators are using the best tech tools available.