What AI and Face Recognition Could Mean for Vegas Casinos
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What AI and Face Recognition Could Mean for Vegas Casinos

What AI and Face Recognition Could Mean for Vegas Casinos

Casino experts met at UNLV Boyd School of Law in January to discuss the introduction of AI, machine learning, and facial recognition technology.

The day-long workshop on the technology could see a huge change in the way casinos operate in the future, although how it will be implemented is yet to be decided.

The main benefit of machine learning and facial recognition is said to be customer service- allowing operators to instantly recognize customers in order to adjust their service.

Facial recognition technology could also allow slot machines equipped with cameras to recognize and ‘log in’ VIP players, which would cut down on fraud and stop self-banned players from gambling. The bonus? Players might not make as many slot machine mistakes as they do online.

The technology could even give casinos the opportunity to increase their client base via customer loyalty programs.

During table games, facial recognition could make it simpler than ever to identify and track known players - with staff quickly evolving into a form of online dealers.

Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law and an organizer of the technology conference, said casinos are already looking for ways to implement the technology.

He told The Nevada Independent: “What we’re seeing is this introduction of technology into the gaming industry in ways we’ve never seen before, and because of it, it started to raise issues — or questions — as to how this works and what the ramifications could be for things like patron privacy, anonymity and data protection.”

The convention saw discussions on AI implications on slot and table games, and how the technology could affect security staff, which led to the consensus that as of yet, no one really knows the answers.

Cabot added: “This literally was the first time, that I’m aware of, that the industry and the experts and the regulators have ever gotten together to even discuss these issues.

 “We’re right at the cusp of a new era, and it gives us that unique opportunity to do it right - from the beginning.” 

One subject that really stood out from the rest, however, was just how much machine learning could change the way the industry handles problem gambling.

With fewer and fewer problem gamblers now meeting the clinical signs, using data picked up from their habits to detect an addiction could separate typical gamblers from those who may need to stop. 

Facial recognition technology could even identify those who need help.

Distinguished fellow in Responsible Gambling at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute and a former executive at MGM Resorts International Alan Feldman, however, said there are still more questions to be answered.

He said: “Facial recognition technology has become quite effective in recognizing an individual, but as it relates specifically to problem gambling, I’d say the jury is still out.

“There is still an understanding of what we’d like to know, in other words, it would be nice to know if there were patterns you might detect that might prevent someone from getting into any kind of trouble, or if there were patterns that could actually identify someone who is in trouble.”

It seems the casino industry will first have to tackle data privacy and protection laws before introducing the up-and-coming technology on its floors.

Casinos are largely bound by their customers’ countries of origin currently, meaning the situation could get complicated.

The US as a whole, for example, has very lax privacy regulations - but California is currently adopting new rules which would mean residents could opt out of the use or sale of their personal data. We could even see players switch to online casinos.

The concern of data breaches is also hanging over the heads of operators, who could face attacks as their databases grow.

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