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New Vegas Casino to Be Wired with RFID

By equipping casinos with RFID readers and RFID-tagged chips, the gambling industry will be able to vastly improve its scam detection and marketing capabilities.
Feb 09, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 9, 2005—By now you've probably heard of the gambling industry's interest in RFID. By equipping casinos with RFID readers and RFID-tagged chips, the house will be able to detect and monitor those things which the ubiquitous, human-manned video cameras often miss: card counting, dealer mistakes, chip counterfeiting, and chip theft. With every chip in the house tagged, the possibilities for the detection of scams and other casino loss centers are endless. Indeed, the gambling industry is probably approaching RFID-enabled visibility in much the same way as the supply chain folks: they can already quantify profound efficiencies to be gained, but they expect that even more as yet unimagined benefits will reveal themselves only after the systems are in place.

Inventory management aside, RFID will enhance the marketing machine that many casinos have become. Current estimates indicate that casinos "comp" (give freebies to particularly lucrative players as encouragement to keep gambling) 20 to 30 percent above what is optimal. Tracking chips will enable a much more systematic and efficient approach wherein the most valuable gamblers are identified by computer. The comps can then be more accurately doled out, and of course, so too can the mailed coupons and incentive packages enticing the players to "visit the casino again soon."

For all the promise, however, gambling industry watchers don't expect all this to become reality for another half-decade at least. RFID tagged smart chips are twice as expensive as their dumb counterparts, and the accompanying hardware and software represent significant investment. Equipping one card table with RFID readers and chips currently runs about $8,000.

Still, some first movers are already forging ahead. CNET News.com reports that the new Wynn Las Vegas gambling, hotel, and recreation complex opening later this year will use RFID chips from Las Vegas-based Gaming Partners. And there has been an increasing amount of news from RFID companies serving the niche. In December, for example, gaming supply giant Shuffle Master purchased two patents related to RFID use in casinos.

CNET News.com has more on RFID and casinos
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