AI or Die

Written By:

Earle G. Hall, President & CEO, & Vice-Chairman, IGSA

Several years ago, my now Chief Data Scientist, Andrew Cardno, proclaimed, “AI or DIE!” I smiled and responded, “That is a little harsh”. Now that we are in the thick of things with COVID, I get and share what Andrew was alluding to. Let me explain.

Cashless is the current focus of COVID solutions as cash carried COVID, as I like to say. This critical upgrade to our industry will offer a tremendous opportunity to go much farther than merely removing cash from the casino floor and is the subject of my call to action in this article.

We don’t have a choice but to reinvent ourselves, change our ways and adopt new methods and technologies. Mainstream media is reporting prolonged casino closures, ever-increasing unemployment, and unprecedented mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies. These impending challenges, fuelling more bad news to come, will create unparalleled difficulties for our industry for the next three to five years.

Casinos will have to market to a smaller client base with smarter publicity, promotions and rewards. The old ways of 4% return and other traditional marketing success metrics will not yield the results needed to create and sustain a viable industry.

So what is the pivot?

Fortunately, the pivot has not changed, but technology has. The pivot is deep data that can precisely measure in advance what will happen in the future. Technology, specifically big data, in real-time, powered by the cloud, is the tipping point that will fuel the pivot.

Unless you wish to predict the future without the luck of a crystal ball, big data is the mission-critical input. Data must be broad and deep enough to provide trends that span not only geography, time, and space but, more importantly, cyclic behaviour. To achieve this new competitive requirement requires algorithms that can not only eliminate noise and false positives and negatives, but they must also learn from the results to learn and evolve.

Big data relies on its critical input platform: the cloud. Local server-based data is hard to extract and even harder to correlate. Companies like Amazon have entirely refined their business from delivery, product, and suppliers by merely focusing on a cloud platform and big data. These ingredients yield a result that maps out behavioural patterns and can offer the secret sauce to predict the future. It is AI fuelled Know Your Customer (KYC).

In Gaming, KYC is the holy grail of potential. Cashless offers access to more data, and if collected in the cloud, it is reusable to find patterns of product, time, space, and behaviour. The cloud is the motor upon which big data is built. Once you have big data, you can start to ask yourself an unlimited amount of questions about who your client is, what do they buy, when, where, and why.

Big data can tell you which slot machine is preferred by what client, what subset of your clients, and why. Big data can tell you when clients will pay more to play and when they will pay less. Big data will redefine what a casino truly is because predictability will be THE competitive advantage.

Big data is where artificial intelligence (AI) is born as the predictability will increase in precision over time as the algorithms learn to distinguish between wanted and unwanted results. AI will rapidly differentiate between profitable and unprofitable clients with the why. That WHY becomes the basis of converting the unprofitable clients into profitable ones. In a time where every dollar counts, the value of this data is impossible to calculate as it will determine the sustainability of a casino.

KYC is the saving grace of our industry and artificial intelligence is the fuel of KYC based on big data. The pivot is the data and the tipping point is the decision to go BIG data and cloud. The future of casinos is “AI or Die” as those who will know their clients and accurately predict their wants and needs, will win in this Brave New World in which we live.

Stay safe out there; your World needs you now - more than ever.


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