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Testing Technology

Testing Technology

Remember the casino floor of 20 years ago?

Truth be told, it’s not that much different than it was back then. There are tables where tables once were (albeit a bit fewer) and slots where slots once were (quite a few more). There were and are lounges where players can relax and enjoy entertainment and libations. Lining the edges of the casino floor are the restaurants, which haven’t gone anywhere. Few things seem to have changed.

It’s only when you look closer and below the surface where you begin to note the radical changes that have transformed the gaming floor.

Every slot machine is connected via a system that collects millions of bits of data from each machine, telling casino operators how the machines are working, who is playing them and how much they are playing. By gathering this data and combining it with information gathered from the tables (and soon, non-gaming activity, as well), our understanding of the customer is becoming more clear with each passing year.

Table technology is improving, with state-of-the-art shuffling machines, RFID chips, and player tracking systems as good as those on the slots, giving casino execs more time to devote to customer service.

Even the lounges have recently taken great leaps forward. Check out the eyecandy lounge at Mandalay Bay or the i-Bar at the Rio. Both have “tables” that double as interactive entertainment centers that transform the entire lounge experience.

But for all that has changed in the last 20 years, the next 20 may deliver a transformation that will completely revolutionize the casino both above and below the surface.

The promise of server-based gaming will give casino operators the flexibility to cater to the wants and needs of every customer, regardless of wagering level.

The importance of non-gaming amenities and how they contribute to the overall value of a customer is just being evaluated. When we can effectively capture and interpret that information, who knows what will become the most important elements of a casino resort?

So that’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to recognize the trends and innovations brought by casino technology as quickly as possible.

To that end, we at Global Gaming Business are very proud to revamp our Gaming & Technology Awards for 2008.

For the first time, the industry’s most prestigious technology awards will be presented at the industry’s largest and most important trade show and conference, Global Gaming Expo. The sixth annual Gaming & Technology Awards will be presented at a special luncheon at the G2E Training and Development Institute on Monday, November 17. G2E runs November 17-20, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Global Gaming Expo is the place where technology companies debut their newest products and services. By presenting the awards at G2E, the Gaming & Technology Awards are able to convey “Best of Show” winners never before possible at G2E.

Nominations are now being accepted in four categories: Best Consumer-Service Technology, Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology, Best Slot Product, and a new category, Best Table-Game Product or Innovation.

Judges for the awards are: Claudia Winkler, president, GHI Solutions Inc. in Las Vegas; Rob Russell, gaming analyst, Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C.; James Wortman, director of the Gaming Education and Research Institute, at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College; Charles Lombardo, consultant and former vice president of slot operations for Seminole Gaming; and Peter Johns, director of slot operations, casino division for MGM Grand Macau.

Because of this new association with G2E, the early October deadline for submissions is quickly approaching. You can submit your nominations to Global Gaming Business via email to GGB Sales Director David Coheen (dcoheen@ggbmagazine.com), via fax at 702-248-1567 or via mail at 6625 S. Valley View Blvd., Suite 422, Las Vegas, NV 89118.

And don’t forget our “Progressive Products” feature in our G2E Preview annual supplement, that goes out with the October issue of Global Gaming Business. Pick your one top product and submit it to Editor Frank Legato for evaluation and review.

Yes, the casino floor of 20 years hence will be something completely different. Help shape that casino floor by letting the industry in on your revolutionary products and services by participating in the 2008 Gaming & Technology Awards and our Progressive Products feature in G2E Preview.

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

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