By Chris Blevens (Product Manager – Systems), James “Smitty” Smith (Product Manager – A/V), and Paul Pechinko (Product Manager – Automation)
January 10, 2023
Chris: In 2023, I think we will continue to see more casinos adopt cashless payment technology. Cashless wallets will need to overcome a hurdle for widespread customer adoption: inconsistency. Today’s cashless wallets have several implementations that look and feel completely different from each other, dependent on which casino system and financial payment provider the casino is using. Guests right now need to manage multiple apps, accounts, and workflows between different casinos, but in the future, I think the apps will become more uniform and make it easier for guests to enroll.
I believe as cashless technology becomes more mature, casinos will identify what’s working and evolve their wallets to look and feel the same. The guest experience will be geared towards making a transaction regardless of which casino they’re visiting. One of the cashless partners JCM has been working with has already adopted this universal application approach. They have an ever-growing base of user accounts which can be used at any casino with their technology. In this scenario, the user training one casino invests towards teaching their guests how to use the cashless wallet, will apply when the customer visits all other casinos using this solution.
Smitty: With today’s technology, casinos will incorporate larger displays with high resolutions, feature-rich software-based central control systems, and advanced media players. More and more, operators want to use digital signage to highlight casino promotions, direct guests around the property, and provide entertainment with exciting content, which will require the proper connection. I think we’ll see more properties use Internet Protocol television (IPTV), the streaming of television content over internet protocol networks, because media players can begin playing the content almost immediately and stream the source media continuously.
Communication with most A/V equipment requires communicating with legacy and newer displays over long distances beyond the capabilities of active or passive HDMI or DP cables. Cat5, Cat6, and Cat6 Shielded network lines coupled with the proper technology can allow A/V equipment to communicate with the head-end equipment over extended distances. Our partner’s IPTV solution is an example of what we’ll see in more casinos. It uses telco-grade servers, server clusters (with automatic failover), and software licenses on the customer’s network to deliver live or developed content video signals over network lines, which cannot be achieved with video cables. A system like theirs can deliver video signals to a single display or a group of displays and legacy or newer displays such as System-On-Chip (SOC) displays supplied by JCM. Our partner’s cloud or on-premise servers and media players with IPTV fit any video distribution need, including the delivery of hotel or marketing content. Dynamic content is key to catch customers’ attention, and casinos will need more flexible technology solutions moving forward to deliver it to their digital signage.
Paul: As the casino market evolves, so does the need for automated processes and equipment. I think we will see more automation adopted by gaming properties in 2023. Automation within the casino market has been around since the first slot machine; this allowed patrons to gamble without the need for a dealer or employee to be involved. Technology within the slot machine and the number of slot machines used within a casino advanced, and more customers meant more technology and employees were required to run the casino. Today, almost every casino has some sort of automation, e.g. redemption kiosk machines, check in kiosk, player tracking, vending machines, backroom automated count sort equipment, etc. to ease personnel requirements and increase convenience for players.
The trend of robotic automation seems to be expanding, and I think we will see more robotic bar tenders, robot security guards, robot delivery services, robotic cleaning equipment, and robotic concierge, and soon robots will be handling cash in the back room. Software will continue to play a major role in automating processes at the casino, including casino process management, customer management, HR employee management, automation of security cameras like facial recognition, equipment health, player movement and tracking, etc. Automation within the casinos is already here, but as operators move forward, the need for better and newer automation will require forms of AI “Artificial Intelligence.” AI will play a big role in enhancing automation technology for the future of casinos. With true / real AI, it can gather data, learn, and make decisions, along with providing critical operating details to the casino. Eventually, I believe automation and AI technologies will work together and allow the casino to manage their business more efficiently.