Robots are getting hotter and hotter. The idea that in the next 20 years industrial production or other tasks could be completely taken over by robots has led politicians and companies to think about the consequences. Universal Basic Income is just one of the options that many countries now have to seriously consider.
It seems that no industry is robotics free – while manufacturing and transportation industries are close to automation on an industrial scale, there are no limits to the use of robotics or AI. According to some commentators, sales and customer service should be almost 100% automated by 2020, and the gaming industry is also likely to see some change.
The Virtual and the Real
We’ve already seen the impact that live casinos and mobile casinos have had on the gambling industry, as mobile gambling continues to outpace traditional gambling. It has been a great success – while access to games has increased massively on a global scale (where you can now enjoy live casino games with real croupiers and dealers over a live stream), gambling providers can cut their costs.
Running a virtual or live online casino is of course much cheaper than the real one and that means more profit. Apart from that, real life casinos are still very popular and extremely profitable. It seems that for many, the whole experience is something that can not be restored remotely.
But what if the dealers and croupiers themselves could be automated? This could well be in the interest of a casino for a number of reasons. First, it would be a novelty (admittedly for a limited time), which in itself would probably attract more customers. Second, a robotic croupier will never try to leave the casino, annoy himself with players, get tired, or need a reward.
As it turns out, someone has already thought about it. The Hong Kong technology company Paradise Entertainment, which also manufactures gaming machines, has created the first robotic croupier prototype: Min. In addition, this is not even a new development. Min was launched in 2016 in some casinos in Macau and the US. At the time of launch, the robot was only able to swap cards, and that still seems to be the case. The goals are of course much higher.
The goal of Paradise Entertainment and now, undoubtedly, many other potential robotics and game companies has been to create an automated dealer that can read and respond to players’ facial expressions, communicate in different languages, and even prevent fraud by using scanners.
It all sounds very impressive, but we are not quite there yet. For the beginning, the fanfare over Min and the use of robotic croupiers seems to have subsided for the time being. In addition, the technology does not yet exist, at least not at affordable prices, so casinos can introduce robotic croupiers cost-effectively, taking us to the next point.
The Bottom Line
Almost all robotics developments are driven by one thing: saving money. This also applies to the gambling world. As mentioned above, a croupier robot could save a lot of money for casinos, but at the moment they are far from being cost effective. However, there is another interesting incentive for the development of these machines that would allow some casinos to bypass laws against traders. At the moment, robots are not even considered in legislation, which could lead to a dangerous gray area if we are not careful.
Will the casinos of the future contain robots? Almost definite, but it is equally likely that we will see the art of the croupier in (mostly) human hands for some time. However, this is not only down to the current cost – there is undoubtedly something in the social interaction of casino games that forms an important fabric of the experience.
It’s possible we’ll see a mix of robots and human traders and employees instead, with perhaps more automated casinos becoming the cheaper option as the technology becomes cheaper and more widely available. Of course, having robotic croupiers also opens up a completely new security nightmare for casinos. How are they connected to the casino network? Are you safe from hacking or manipulation?
All in all, the croupier of the future is as human as it is machine-wise for some time, but hopefully not a hybrid of both, because nobody wants to get a T-800 card. Then again…