Last week Theatro attended the G2E conference, the world’s largest trade show for the gaming industry. I was joined by my partner Lesley Simmonds, and together (along with our tech team supporting us behind the scenes) we presented our vision for how Theatro can help transform the gaming experience on the casino floor. In partnership with Konami, we demonstrated a set of solutions that have never been seen before on the gaming floor. For the first time, hosts can easily find and reward their VIP customers, all with a simple voice interface, from anywhere on the gaming floor. The gaming market is ripe for disruption, both in large mega resorts as well as small regional properties. While this market shares some of the same communication and mobility challenges in retail, many use cases remain unique to the gaming industry, including:
- Heavy reliance on hourly labor – To run a casino requires an extensive amount of labor to operate. At any given time on the floor the casino employs dealers, pit bosses, servers, security teams, maintenance personnel, and cash handlers. Roles are specialized with little cross over, and require a significant amount of the staff to be present to operate the casino effectively. Without each employee connected to each other with Theatro, they run into the same problem of having to walk to get help or to ask questions.
- Central dispatch for alerts – Many large casinos have a centralized dispatch center that receives alerts and disseminates tasks. The challenge is that EVERY alert flows through this dispatch, and every alert requires a human to first evaluate the alert and determine a course of action. If a slot machine is out of paper, the central dispatch has to notify a technician. And once the alert goes out, there is little accountability that the task was done. Why not connect each employee to the network so that machines can directly alert the right technician for service, and provide the required parts and inventory position for that technician, without having to go through a potentially slow dispatch center.
- A need for increased security – The horrible event last year in Las Vegas was a wake up call for the casinos and the hourly workers in that industry. After the shooting at the Mandalay Bay, it took the management team more than a day to fully account for every employee. Another startling fact is that most casino workers have felt threatened or experienced some sort of violence while at work. In response to the security challenges at large casinos, we heard that insurance companies are significantly raising premiums on those casinos that do not have a robust and proven security response system.
Some of the trends look similar to retail, including:
- A shift toward providing experiences – Many young gamblers are no longer going to casinos for gambling. In fact more revenue is generated through events and unique experiences rather than gaming. This shift requires casinos to personalize their engagement with guests. Theatro offers the ability for hosts to directly respond to guests requests and personalize their experience by tapping into the rich guest data that companies like Konami have. Imagine walking into your favorite casino bar and the host greets you by name, prepares your favorite drink, and comps you the beverage since its your birthday.
- Leveraging new employee metrics – Many tasks on the casino floor are delivered, but with no accountability on whether the work was done. Analytics on speed of service or productivity are typically not measured, not because the casino leadership is not interested in the data, but because no mechanism exists to effectively capture the performance. Theatro changes that.
- Empowering hourly employees – Customers both in retail and gaming have higher expectations of employees. When employees aren’t connected, they cannot provide the level of service that guests require. A walkie talkie is better than nothing, but its not even close to the capabilities of Theatro. Most executives at the G2E show quickly understood this fact, and were eager to get their employees connected on Theatro.
The casino industry is in the process of being disrupted. The rise of digital entertainment at home, and the shift toward driving experiences vs gaming means these establishments must step up or risk losing share to the competition. Those establishments that leverage new digital technology to transform the guest experience AND antiquated operational processes will be the market leaders…we’ve seen this pattern clearly in the retail market.
We’re honored to have been invited by Konami to join them at G2E in Las Vegas this year, and are excited to deploy our solution to some of the largest casino operators in the world. Its meaningful work….not just because we improve the experience of the players, but because we significantly improve the safety and productivity of employees working in this dynamic service industry.