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RFID Brings Precision to Dice Rolls

EPC Solutions Taiwan has built a solution enabling 99.7 percent accuracy of automated dice-throw reads, with an RFID reader built into a throwing machine, six UHF RFID tags in each die and custom near-field antennas that can read tags with 1-centimeter precision.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 03, 2019

Since its establishment in the 1990s, online gambling has become one of the most popular businesses on the Internet. It is legal in parts of North America, Europe and Asia, and was estimated as being a $56 billion industry in 2018. Several gaming machine companies are developing an online system that uses RFID to track the exact orientation of dice after they are thrown for Internet-based bets, thereby enabling online gamers to know, with certainty, what was thrown and thus whether or not they won.

The firms' online gaming solution, provided by EPC Solutions Taiwan, consist of a UHF RFID reader in an automated dice-throwing machine, as well as tags built into the dice. With the use of RFID, its automated system can identify each dice throw, based on which of six tags in each die is read and, therefore, the result of the throw. The data is then displayed online so that the casino or gaming company, as well as gamers, can view the results in real time. The product, known as Sicbo, has been in use for three years, and the company says that with RFID it has been providing more accurate gambling results than other automated systems.

There is an inherent risk for players of online games since, unlike with casino slot machines or table games, the online gambling process takes place remotely, so players cannot physically confirm the dice that are being thrown. Traditionally, companies have used human dealers and a webcam so that gamblers can see the dice as they are thrown. Gamblers place their bets online, with a dealer rolling the dice and then recording the results. Recently, casinos and gambling companies have moved to the use of machines. After players place their bets, adealer simply pushes a start button. The machine then rolls the dice and a camera mounted above the machine scans the points. The software calculates and displays the results for each gambler and identifies those who won.

These days, most online casinos are using such automated machines and camera-based systems. However, cameras alone cannot always provide the correct results. Light reflections on the dice sometimes alter the results, which can lead to a dispute between the system and players. For the gaming companies, that meant an accuracy rate of about 98 percent, which wasn't enough to assure players of almost certain accuracy.

The gaming companies, which have asked to remain unnamed, sought a way to provide automated throwing of dice without the potential failures of a camera system. It began working with EPC Solutions Taiwan in 2016 to develop a solution that would employ RFID to identify how the dice were thrown without failures, according to T.H. Liu, the company's president. The RFID firm then went about engineering a system that could detect an RFID tag at very close range, without capturing stray reads from other tags on the same die.

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