Forget Betting on the House – In China, the House Is Betting on You

  • Casino in Macau are relying on new technology to predict players' spending
  • With the reduction of betting in Macau, operators hope targeting could be the way to go
  • Technology creates a risk profile using facial recognition technology
Robot hand holding dollar symbol
Combining artificial intelligence and facial recognition, Macau casinos are creating risk profiles of gamblers.

Casinos look for big losers

It appears that casinos in China are using technology to make bets on their own customers. But they aren’t looking for the next James Bond; instead, they’re looking for who is likely to lose large amounts of cash.

It started off in Macau, the global gaming hub for China and the Far East, as technology turns to science to predict just who is about to lose their cool.

By predicting a punter’s appetite for risk, the house can entice them to bet more and, thus, lose more. Operators claim that customers could lose up to 10 times more than normal, thanks to expensive algorithms.

It appears that there are three major companies currently supplying casinos with AI-based technology: Walker Digital, Dallmeier, and Angel Playing Cards.

Using high-resolution cameras and RFID-enabled poker chips and tables, a centralized database will analyze players and feed their data into the system to create risk profiles.

Equipment is already in use

So far, two of the biggest casino hotels in Macau, Las Vegas Sands Corp, and MGM Resorts International, have started to use the new equipment, mainly on individual tables. While the companies have only admitted to using the new equipment on a couple of hundred tables, the plan at Sands is to equip more than 1000.

Three other companies could also be planning to roll it out:  Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment are all supposedly in talks.

There has been no comment as yet by Macau’s regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, but it’s likely they will be keeping an eye on developments.

Can track gamblers and help spot fraud

With gambling illegal on mainland China, Macau has become a hot spot although it has been on a downward spiral lately. Still, it attracts around 3 million people each month and now that operators are dealing with fewer people, they need to make their information more accurate.

With such information, a casino could pay special attention to customers who might be potentially “lose big.” From tailored offers to one-to-one staff, all could be arranged as soon as they sit down at a table.

The system is also programmed to track just what individual gamblers are betting on, from unlikely events such as a tie to those with higher risks and rewards.

Most important, the new technology will help dealers to prevent fraud and play collusion and to recognize any past dishonest behavior. But on the management side, this also means that the dealer’s performance can be monitored and tracked.

With so much data available, it could mean potential perks for the gambler through better recognition of the types of games they are interested in. However, with so much data given up, there are also risks involved. What the regulator will make of it remains to be seen but, until the practice is more widespread, there is no way of knowing.


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