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Cracking the Code

Casinos everywhere cling to analytics software

Cracking the Code

The words serve as gaming industry pillars, resembling clean-up hitters in the middle of a baseball batting order: analytics software.

Combined, they help power the influential analytics realm casino managers use to project customers’ lifetime value, spending habits and revenue impact. Information gleaned from the analytics highlights whether players deserve meals, rooms, comps and other small or large upgrades.

This market sector has steadily evolved, leapfrogging to technological breakthroughs.

Gaming leaders can now simply ask a question to get an actionable, data-driven response, perhaps launching the age of “Siri-litics.”

Companies able to deliver the right data at the fingertips of key decision makers have a jump on market share.

VIP Intelligence

Christopher Justice, CEO of Pavilion Payments, says data analytics has become more valuable across multiple sectors in recent years, but remains overlooked in the gaming industry.

He adds that casino operators have more unique challenges compared to other industries, and that data analytics must be specifically tailored for casinos.

Pavilion Payments began rolling out its prime player in this space, VIP Intelligence, in 2022. It is primarily built for accounting, finance, marketing and senior leadership teams at gaming institutions.

VIP Intelligence is used by online sportsbooks, online casinos and land-based casinos to create highly summarized roll-ups of large data sets or deep-dives into granular, transaction-level details. Pavilion Payments provides VIP Intelligence to all its customers as a part of its broader service offering.

Justice says the deployment of VIP Intelligence met a specific industry need.

“We observed that our clients needed a more robust data analytics program that could process information across their entire organization,” he indicates. “The VIP Intelligence platform was inspired by the need for a solution that can process crucial data analytics for large multi-property casino resort corporations as well as small single casino operators.

“The platform also fulfills the market need for online operators in the iGaming and online sports betting space,” Justice says. “What’s more, omnichannel companies have the capability to see their whole operation on an aggregate scale in a way that’s understandable and provides valuable insight.”

According to Justice, VIP Intelligence helps casino operators, whether in person or online, report through a flexible, easy-to-use interface.

The product allows anyone in the organization to quickly analyze and find insights in their datasets. VIP Intelligence gives its users a bird’s-eye view of the entire organization, providing a comprehensive overview of the casino at the enterprise level, he asserts.

The platform is built atop Looker, a powerful browser-based tool helping operators develop insightful reporting and data extracts with an analytics-oriented application. VIP Intelligence users can create dynamic, interactive dashboards, schedule and automate the distribution of reports and create detailed reports, he says.

The product provides basic reporting for reconciliation purposes and custom dashboards inclusive of tables, graphs and charts.

“The ‘wow’ factor of VIP Intelligence is its ability to provide an unparalleled glimpse into a casino or iGaming operator’s business, allowing them to spot patterns and identify ways to improve their operation,” Justice asserts. “The platform’s robust analytics and modernized portal provide valuable insights that enable anyone in the business to quickly analyze and find insights in their datasets, making data accessible in a meaningful, intuitive way for the entire organization.

“It allows users at the enterprise or corporate level to see the entire casino or all enterprise properties in one place instead of manually compiling multiple disparate reports. VIP Intelligence is also highly customizable, so casino operators can track the metrics that matter most to them.”

Justice indicates that new product updates and improvements will be announced in the coming months as the company continues to expand its business.

Augmented Intelligence

Cendyn is a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry. It helps hotels drive profitability and guest loyalty through an integrated technology platform linking revenue, e-commerce, distribution, marketing and sales with centralized data and analytics.

“Analytics software is reshaping the gaming industry by enhancing casinos’ understanding of guests and players to attract and retain their most lucrative customers,” says Dean Ismael, vice president of business intelligence and analytics for Cendyn.

“The combined power of big data and analytics provides casinos with a comprehensive understanding of their guests’ and players’ behaviors through data collection and data delivery paradigms. At the same time, casinos face the challenge of effectively utilizing massive volumes of data to drive successful business outcomes.

“Gaining valuable insights often requires manual, time-consuming activities to collect, analyze and validate business data and translating that information into actionable insights to maximize business performance. This is where analytics and augmented intelligence software play a significant role.”

According to Ismael, Cendyn empowers casinos with industry-leading integrated technology and services that enhance the guest experience and drive profitability, while understanding casino data at the same time. The company eliminates the need for multiple platforms, combining all the casino key data points from various platforms into one singular analytics platform. This provides 360-degree visibility and insights across all distribution channels to help casinos understand their key drivers influencing demand.

Ismael touts Cendyn’s recently redesigned CRS BI analytics product in this space.

“It allows hotels and casinos to track and optimize business performance, going from manual, time-intensive reporting practices to rapid-fire insights that accelerate the process of extracting transformative insights from their data,” he says.

Utilizing legacy casino reporting capabilities requires the user to undertake time-intensive tasks to extract, synthesize, analyze and derive meaning from the data, according to Ismael. That helps move the needle in terms of spend, occupancy and market share.

“To address this problem, a new CRS Analytics capability was released that delivers deep, holistic performance insights layered with augmented intelligence to simplify and rationalize data collection and analysis workflows, which also democratizes data and eliminates data silos so all users can consume and make data-driven decisions,” he indicates. “An example of the innovations delivered through CRS Analytics is ‘Search for Insight’—a natural language processing engine that allows casino owners to simply ask questions about their data to get immediate answers without necessitating deep interactions to surface the same information.”

Ismael says the company offers augmented BI, which eliminates the traditional requirement to manually slice and dice data. Layering AI assistance also highlights data patterns that could go undetected through traditional analysis. Any anomalies are also explained to give casinos immediate visibility and insight into unexpected data patterns that may require attention.

For example, if a trend line shows a decline in revenue at a particular time, users can simply click on an anomaly indicator to receive an AI-assisted explanation that outlines the key drivers triggering the alert.

Ismael says customers can also see which factors drive a business metric and contrast the importance of understanding key drivers impacting performance.

International Inroads

Player Elite, based in Australia, is making its footprint in the United States. The company partnered with The Hale Network to distribute products in February, although its United States strategy began late in 2021.

“Our proprietary algorithms bring databases life through automation,” says Jason McQueen, COO and chief strategy officer and for Player Elite. “If data is the lifeblood of VIP loyalty and the marketing team is the heart that pumps a million beats a minute, then we are the arms that reach out to welcome the VIPs to our clients’ properties. Everyone loves a wave and welcome, and that’s what our DLS does.”

Its primary vehicle is the Player Elite DLS, now six years old.

“We reward the VIP on the floor live in real time so they get the benefit of that winning feeling,” says McQueen. “The motivation was from being operators and engineers. We could see a gap in the market, and operators were trying to build their own systems and failing. Our software is 100 percent proprietary and 100 percent innovation. That’s why our partners love us.”

McQueen says that Player Elite is the world’s first digital loyalty system (DLS) for casinos using insight gleaned from more than 30 years of gaming experience in markets spanning the U.S., Macau, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

McQueen says the company has built a system that is a giant decision tree. It grows the loyalty of VIPs by providing the Casino VIP member with the loyalty they want, at a time they want, and communicated to them in 100 percent real time via the communication platform of their choice.

“Our geofence technologies delivered through our ORCA APP (omni-channel real-time communication application) network to our kiosks on the casino floor, and are driven by the digital loyalty system to let our clients know when their players are playing at another property and for how long,” he adds. “We deliver innovation and inspiration to our customers’ operational brilliance.”

McQueen says he believes casino analytics have not advanced enough. Timing, as well as the lack of it, is everything.

“You can only cut data so many ways for so many days,” he asserts, “so without automation and without customer-touching technologies, analytics really hit the wall when the analyst finishes the reporting run.

“Don’t get me wrong—great analysts are worth their weight in gold, but what if the analysts aren’t crunching day-old, week-old, month-old data? What if they were generating innovations and seeing the deep, deep insight in the automated activation of a new VIP member?”

McQueen loves the forecast for this industry sector.

“What’s happening is bloody exciting,” he says. “Operators see that digital is the destiny. We are seeing the leading operators leap ahead by talking about their ‘digital strategy.’ We are seeing operators having digital workshops instead of leaving it to the CTO. We are seeing the automation race just begin.”

Custom Intelligence

QCI Connect is one part of the bigger QCI Platform from Quick Custom Intelligence.

“The biggest realization we have come to is that analytics is not a central theme of the need, but rather an embedded part of all workforce tooling, which is the core focus of the QCI Platform,” says Andrew Cardno, co-founder and chief technology officer of Quick Custom Intelligence.

“The traditional analytics platform is not a prominent sector for us. We see far more specialized tools being the central theme of today’s marketplace.

“There is often confusion between ‘eporting’ and ‘analytics;’ these are very different functions in an organization,” he adds. “The first is to understand what you’ve done and what’s happening, while the second is to anticipate the future with creative changes in your business.”

Cardno says the company’s specialized market basket analytics platform, QCI Slots, provides a combination of reporting needs “offering true insight into how customers interact with gaming products.”

Cardno says the focus at QCI is on the back end, which means its internal systems are designed to automate and support a client’s business.

This platform allowed QCI to upgrade its 125 resorts from version 5.1 to 5.2 in two weeks, even though most instances are hosted on-premises, he says.

Part of the recently released version 5.2 of QCI’s Enterprise solution is QCI Connect, a sophisticated and convenient tool that dramatically increases hosts’ abilities to communicate directly with their customers.

QCI Connect integrated into v5.2 features advanced communication tools including voice, mass text, and mass email capabilities. This enables businesses to effectively streamline their customer outreach and engagement strategies.

Using QCI Connect, hosts can instantly create lists and campaigns, and communicate with individuals or batches of customers, without any delays that might happen while waiting for other departments to pull lists or create campaigns.

Tracking Data

The DataTrac product from Table Trac, Inc. is a visual analysis tool that uses a property’s casino performance data to address and assess performance metrics without information ever leaving the property, company officials say.

With over 60 visualizations and dashboards automatically updating each morning, the arduous task of pulling reports and compiling information is a thing of the past. DataTrac seamlessly integrates into daily routines using the CasinoTrac CMS user interface.

The product empowers staff to make business decisions without the need for outside influence or assistance from costly “data interpreters.”

Reading and interpreting daily performance information across all casino operations, marketing and slot departments can make informed business decisions in real time.

Features and benefits include daily flash reports. Visualizations include period-over-period performance, group reporting dashboards, carded segmentation flash report and slot dashboards.

DataTrac Player Analysis offers casino marketing flexibility with a high degree of automation. Reflexive Rewards analyzes the active player database every three hours based on configurable parameters, player analysis and rating decisions.

Throughout the industry, several companies have an angle to upgrade the analytics realm. They must not only provide substantial information levels, but sort it by importance. It’s a high-demand, high-reward proposition.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.