The Easy Button: Technologies to Optimize Operations at G2E LV

Oct 19, 2017

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The focus of the G2E education session was doing things the ‘easy way’ which would allow you to do more with less staff and time. The ‘easy way’ is to leverage technology and automation. But which technologies are the right ones and which are short-lived trends? This panel will discuss these points. Ari Mizrachi, Tangam’s VP of Operations Optimization, was one of the panelists. He was joined by Andrew Cardno, of VizExplorer. Moderating the panel was Russell Mifsud, from KPMG who specializes in iGaming. Russell polled the audience to understand the breakdown of roles. Most were in operations along with several in sales/marketing, and some in more IT/technical roles. Below is a summary of the panel discussion.

Russell: What are some creative and innovative technologies to help drive operations?

Andrew: We need to think about how everything is or will be generating data. If it’s not now, it will be in the next 5 years and we need to determine how to make it operational. There is a casino with a smart fish tank, which was meant to provide entertainment for casino patrons. However, hackers were able to hack the tank to access other areas of information. Although that’s a creative technology with the smart tank, we need to be cognizant that we live in the Internet of Things age. Yes, we can access more data, but this opens up more possible scenarios.

Ari: I think the missing piece is often not the technology itself, but how to incorporate appropriate processes and involve operations. It’s important for operations to have the data they need but to be able to make adjustments when the opportunity exists. When I was previously working in casino operations, it didn’t help on Monday morning for P&A to tell me the opportunities my team missed out on from the weekend. Hindsight can be helpful for future planning, but actionable insights in real-time are invaluable.

Russell: Are these sophisticated yielding solutions a threat to the livelihood of people working in casinos?

Ari: No, in many instances it works with them as it improves the guest experience which positively impacts the employees. If you think about a hotel suite or a first-class flight, it’s about offering what the customer wants, at the right price, at the right time. They want to pay extra for the luxury or more exclusive experience. If we relate it to table games, a player at a higher limit table is more likely to be time-constrained than wallet-constrained and therefore is interested in a different experience than someone who is wallet-constrained and playing a lower priced table. They want more elbow room and want to play more hands. If the customer’s expectations are met or exceeded, it’s a win-win for both. The customer gets the experience they were looking for and the dealer can be expected to get more in tips.

Andrew: In the same vein, having access to more data and leveraging technology, it will allow you to exceed customer expectations while also eliminating unnecessary interactions. It will allow you to move the location of services. If a high roller drives up to the valet, how valuable would it be to know that information in real-time? If there was the ability to check them in at that time, there would be a significant value for them and more likely to be a repeat customer.

Russell: Can you give us an overview of some of the existing and evolving technologies that can be plugged into the gaming industry to benefit the players and the operator’s bottom line?

Andrew: Imagine being able to connect players to their social profiles to casino information to a host's database? The level of personalization could increase exponentially. A host would be able to cater all of their interactions to the guest and personalize it based on knowing that they received tickets to a certain show, if they won a jackpot, the experience they posted on Facebook, and so on.

Audience question: Where do you draw the line between personalization and privacy?

Andrew: This is a fine line and it depends on the guest. Some have a lot of information publicly online and in their social profiles, while some don’t. There should be a level of ‘opt-in’. I think it also depends on the relationship of the guest as well as the employee role, whether it’s the valet, host or someone else.

Ari: Also, I think it’s important to ensure that if you’re collecting data, you’re doing something with it. Whenever I’m in Vegas, I usually stay at the same hotel and within a day, I always receive a text message asking how I’m enjoying my stay. Each time, I write something negative. Not because I am having a negative experience, but if they’re taking the effort to collect this data, I want to see how it will be used. Not once have they reached out to me about my ‘negative experience’. It shows that they’re asking people to provide information yet not doing anything with it. There is an apparent disconnect. If the data collected is used to enrich the customer experience, it is a pro, rather than a con.

Russell: In light of the rise of Millennials, what sort of changes is the industry going through to cater for the new generation of gamblers and what more do you believe can be done?

Andrew: I’ve done a lot of research in this area. Millennials are still going to casinos and very much interested in them, however, they have different needs than previous generations. The rise of the mobile devices has impacted this demographic. They play on ETGs and love to interact with their friends while playing. Some go to table games or slots, but they’re doing things in a different way or playing the game differently. It’s an interesting area of research.

Ari: Based on the rise of mobile devices, you’d think that ETGs would be a huge hit with Millennials, however at my last casino, the ETGs were a huge hit...with guests older than 40. There definitely is a shift in the experience that Millennials are looking for and I think a lot of it is the social interaction and getting the value as many are wallet-constrained. If there are two table offerings: a $10 blackjack table with more unfavorable rules or a $25 pure blackjack table, in most instances, they’re selecting the $10 table. There has even been a shift in the slot machines with a lot more interactive games with themes from famous shows and movies. It’s their perceived value and there will be more changes as time goes on to cater to this demographic as soon enough, they will be the mass market.

At the end of these questions, panelists did talk about some of the applications of their products and how it fits into optimizing operations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Data and analytics are driving modern casino operations
  • The operator's responsibility is to leverage data being collected and operationalize it for better decision making
  • Effective use of technology will result in a more personalized experience for guests, and more consistent way to manage the operation
  • Several operators are highlighting the use of data and analytics as strategic initiatives to drive business performance. There is a wide range of software tools that are available today to help execute the strategy.

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