It used to be that gambling was seen as a purely vintage sport: old men with rolled-up sleeves dealing cards to other old men seated around a table. However, the driving force now is on technology, which was the focus of the Canadian Gaming Summit held this weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Companies are no longer focused on just land-based casinos or sports betting in one area. Rather, they are looking at a local and global focus, as well as innovations in technology that make all gaming faster and more interesting.

This Year’s Emphasis

In the past, the conference has focused on technological advances and the importance of companies to stay up to date with the latest in state and national lotteries, the importance of gambling regulations and compliance with federal and state laws, casino operations in Canada and abroad, First Nations gaming institutions, and charitable gaming.

This year’s focus, however, was more on the importance of technology to secure online and casino games, and the challenges seen by companies when they must adapt their systems to new technology.

New Technologies Available

Several new technologies are available for the gaming industry. While it’s easier to modernize casinos for new technologies, such as online gaming and mobile gaming, even in land-based casinos, it’s not as easy to upgrade security to ensure that the gaming, no matter what the platform, is secure.

First, presentations were held on voice commands in security. Several casinos, most notably the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, have begun experimenting with voice-command technology. For example, the Wynn Resort has begun placing Amazon Echoes in its hotel rooms as part of its security features, as well as other biometric technology that recognizes voice commands.

While a great part of the voice-security technology has to do with the biometrics for additional safeguards, and many aspects of casino technology are closely guarded, the casinos may use voice technology in their hotel rooms to guarantee there will be no crimes committed on the casino floor – for example, counting cards. The Amazon Echoes may also be useful to customers for room service and mobile access to features within a room.

Second, discussions were held regarding blockchain technology and its usefulness on the casino floor. Blockchain technology allows casino patrons to bet on games and allows casinos to pay off bets electronically. This adds an extra layer of security to money transfers. Casino patrons have been robbed the past in both in casino’s hotels and parking garages.

However, care must be taken by casinos if they decide to implement blockchain technology to ensure the same level or an improved level of security in electronic money transfers, as well as hand-to-hand transfers. In addition, there is still an issue with the regulation of taxes, and how they are going to be taken out of electronic winnings, especially if cryptocurrency is used.

One additional interesting presentation and demonstration was on the use of robotics, both on the casino floor for security, and as overhead for security and hospitality. In the future, casinos may be able to tell which guests need additional chips or food and beverages just through robot observation.

In addition, it is thought that perhaps robots on the floor will add a layer of security unobtrusively because patrons may act differently in the midst of security via robot than they would with a security person on the floor. For example, players may want to cheat at a card game and see the security person as a deterrent. However, a robot may blend in and be a part of the casino fixtures, which allows security to keep better tabs on possible problems.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.