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Future Boy

The casino resort of the future could very well be either a three-dimensional destination or a holographic mind meld....For the record, I've always wanted a holographic mind meld.

Future Boy

This was one of those months I had two magazines to edit. It’s not easy. Doing two magazines in a month is the editorial equivalent of sharecropping.

When you do two magazines, as those old bluesmen in the Delta used to say, you work from “kin to cain’t,” meaning dawn (the first time you “kin” see) to dusk (when you “cain’t.”) And along the way, as you guide your mule through the fields, you chant, and sing spirituals.

Yes, it’s just the same. Except you don’t work outside, the work isn’t really physically back-breaking, and you don’t sing. (Out loud, anyway.) And sometimes, writing and editing magazines doesn’t even involve a mule.

OK, so it’s really nothing like sharecropping. But it’s still a lot of work.

The extra magazine we did this month, of course, is the one that the newsboy delivered with your issue of GGB, our Casino Design supplement. It has the best overview you’re ever going to get of all the design, architecture and construction activities related to the casino industry. You’ll read words like “BIM.” It stands for building information modeling. When I first saw “BIM models,” I read it as “BIG models.” I thought the architects were using plus-sized models to present their renderings to clients.

There’s lots of other design jargon to deal with as well—“CAD software” (software designed by a really boorish guy), “green technology” (for when you want all your rooms painted green), the “river ceiling effect” (I think that means when the sprinklers go on), and my favorite, “metaphorical modernism.”

I don’t even have a joke for that one. Not even a metaphor. When it comes to metaphors, I am a mule among journalists.

The other thing the Casino Design supplement has every year is a Q&A featuring all of the top casino-resort designers in the business. This year, it was all about new technology, but the one question that really got my attention was when the moderator asked the panel what they thought a casino resort is going to look like 20 years from now.

Now, I’ve imagined myself what a casino will look like 20 years from now—hoverboards, “’80s cafés,” jackets that dry off automatically when you get them wet… No, wait. That was Back to the Future. (By the way, the “future” from the movie was 2015, three years from now. Shouldn’t someone be working on hover technology?) I always figured the casino of 20 years from now would be sectioned off with areas for different generations. A for-money Xbox room for my kids’ generation, and a casino that looks just like they do now for old people like me.

Hey, I’ll be 75, and I plan to get very grumpy if I can’t find my Bonus Poker game.

But one of the designers answered the question with an intriguing concept: he said the casino resort will be experienced “either as a ‘physical’ place or possibly as a ‘virtual’ re-creation. Visiting a resort could be the latest ‘app’ beamed to your as-yet unimagined device (possibly even an implant). The casino resort of the future could very well be either a three-dimensional destination or a holographic mind meld.”

First of all… Did he say an implant? Wow. We won’t even have to leave our chairs to go to the casino. I’ll just have to think about Bonus Poker and there it will be in front of my face. I’ll be able to deal, draw and curse repeatedly right from my easy chair.

Here, I’ve been using my legs all these years, like some kind of schmuck.

And for the record, I’ve always wanted a holographic mind meld. I keep asking for one at the spas, but no one seems to know what I’m talking about.

Seriously, though, holograms are a real possibility with future slot machines. I’ve heard this concept repeated many times by the folks who actually build the slot machines. My position on holographic images in the casino is well-known. If holographic pirates start popping out of slot machines, it’s going to thin the slot-playing herd pretty quickly. At least the oldest among the players.

In the end, I tend to agree with one of the other designers who answered this question: Casinos are likely to take on more of a lounge feel (only without the smarmy singer), with socializing, slot-playing, Xboxing and social media all going on at the same time.

And in another room somewhere, there will be rows and rows of slots for us elderly players. Hopefully, there will also be hoverboards.

Where’s my mule?

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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