How are land-based casinos embracing technology?

While online casino gambling continues to thrive in the UK, there remains a place for land-based casinos up and down the country. It may be true that some establishments have been forced to close their doors – however, other brands are flourishing, with new casinos being planned and built across the UK.

The difference between success and failure lies in the ability to innovate. With online casinos striving to create an immersive experience that resembles the real thing, land-based operators have chosen to go the other way – using groundbreaking technology to make their physical games more entertaining and their premises more secure.

As they go over and above to win players over, the real winners are consumers, who have more choice than ever before. But let’s look specifically at how land-based casinos are hoping to stay relevant in the digital world.

The history of UK casinos

There is some conjecture, but it was widely believed that the first legal casino was established in 1961 in Port Talbot, South Wales. The snappily named Casino Club was set up by George Alfred James, a recognised name in the industry, who went on to build more establishments in the area.

Soon, some of the biggest and most recognisable brand names hit the high streets of Britain while more exclusive casinos, such as the John Aspinall-owned Clermont Club in London’s Mayfair, first made their appearance.

It was a boom time for the industry and when the internet came along in the 1990s, there seemed to be no immediate threat – with the games too basic to mount a serious cause for concern to the dominance of land-based casino. Online operators were, initially, slow to take advantage of the digital landscape and their boom period didn’t really start until the mid-2000s.

The rise of online casinos

 

 

The real competition for land-based casinos came along from around 2005. With more homes fitted with high-speed broadband, and smartphones just around the corner, online gameplay was taking off in the UK. Online casinos were quick on the uptake – and with advances in digital technology, their games were soon becoming faster and better.

This is where they started to provide a level of service that bricks-and-mortar establishments just couldn’t match. Firstly, they had the ability to introduce a vast range of games. Gone were the days when restrictive bandwidth meant that only a handful of options were listed and in the present, thousands of slot titles can sit alongside all main variants of roulette, poker and blackjack.

In recent years, the quality of gameplay online operators have been able to provide has come on leaps and bounds. The crème-de-la-crème of their products is live casino, which links players up with real-life dealers, adding the all-important human element to the experience gamblers can enjoy from the comfort of their own living rooms.

Not only are these dealers real people – they’re using real casino equipment such as roulette wheels and blackjack cards. This means that players also get the benefit of using strategies commonly used in land-based casinos. For example, you’ll be able to count cards if you’re playing blackjack, or calculate the ball velocity if you’re playing roulette – both approaches of which are impossible with a standard RNG-powered online casino game.

With so many online operators now hosting live casinos, it’s important that each operator sets itself apart from the crowd to win over players. Design is a huge factor in how operators can distinguish their services from one another, and we’ve found one the best examples of a live casino that does just that. Chequered flooring and a Wurlitzer soundtrack you at 777, which is themed around the decadent Vegas of the 1950s and 60s, making their live casino games all the more immersive.

Land-based casinos using technology

However, land-based casinos too are able to harness technology to improve their customer experience. Technology not only provides land-based casinos with a way to offer a great service, but also a secure one. Casino crime is big business, both online and in the real world, and this is one area where the land-based casinos have an edge over their online counterparts. Cutting edge technology has been in place for some time in order to tackle the cheaters and to identify those who have been barred from alternative establishments.

Facial recognition. Among these elements, the physical world is years ahead in terms of facial recognition. Traditionally, land-based operations have used manual scanning to weed out undesirables but this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past – as imaging technology can identify potential culprits before they’ve even committed a crime

However, land-based casinos too are able to harness technology to improve their customer experience. Technology not only provides land-based casinos with a way to offer a great service, but also a secure one. Casino crime is big business, both online and in the real world, and this is one area where the land-based casinos have an edge over their online counterparts. Cutting edge technology has been in place for some time in order to tackle the cheaters and to identify those who have been barred from alternative establishments.

Licence plate recognition. can stop the cheaters before they enter the premises, assuming their vehicles are known to the authorities. However, if the miscreants do manage to get to a table, high-end tech can even detect card switching and the issue of counterfeit chips. Safety and security in catching criminals sees the physical world way out in front on this one.

NORA. What’s more, both online and land-based casinos have adopted a technique called Non-Obvious Relationship Analysis, or NORA for short. This groundbreaking software is able to detect otherwise hidden links between people scouring the internet for data – and identifies any suspicious relationships and flags them with the operator. Originally developed for land-based casinos in Vegas, it’s now been snapped up by online casinos as well as the US Department of Homeland Security.

Chips security and RFID technology. Radio Frequency Identification is able to automatically track labels attached to casino chips. This means that land-based casino operators know the whereabouts of all their chips – and can deactivate them at any time. For example, when someone tried to steal chips from the Bellagio in 2010, they were quickly deactivated and thus worth nothing. RFID technology can also be used to determine how much players are betting, allowing casinos to build profiles of their customers and use the data they’ve collected to target players with offers, comps and promotions.

Another big advantage land-based casinos have are that they can ply players with food and drink, which contributes to the service they receive beyond the table games themselves. Some land-based casinos have their own mobile apps that enable users to have waiters deliver a tipple or snack of their choice directly to the table.

Summary

It’s clear to see that the rise in online gambling has had a transformative effect on the gambling industry as a whole. As players have headed there in their droves, attracted by the convenient and high-quality nature of the gameplay they offer, many land-based casinos have been forced to close their doors. A raft of closures may, however, be at and end as bricks and mortar establishments start to use technology as part of their armoury.

we’ve shown, online operators are also able to leverage powerful technology to appeal to win over customers of their own. And the people who benefit from operators going head to head to up their games? The players themselves.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018