The world is changing and so is how we interact with businesses. Las Vegas casinos have a dilemma when it comes to new technology. Casino operators have to toe the line on being cutting edge for younger guests while not alienating older customers who may be technologically challenged.
Last year during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), a speaker from a casino outside of Las Vegas said they tried to text guests when their tables were ready at one of its restaurants. That isn’t too advanced but it’s an improvement on the buzzers they previously used. Well, after a short testing period the casino had to switch back to the old buzzers because people weren’t responding to the texts. All is back to normal but that’s an example of a minor technology upgrade that was too advanced to the customers.
Slowing the spread of coronavirus might help casinos move to new technology a little quicker. Customers for all businesses are looking for fewer touchpoints. In theory, the less often a customer touches materials at a business the safer they are from touching something that has germs or potentially coronavirus.
Las Vegas casinos have been slowly trying out new touchless technology over the past few years. It looks as though some guests might be ready to use these technologies.
Mobile Hotel Check-in and Mobile Room Keys
Mobile hotel check-in and mobile room keys aren’t new but they are available at more Las Vegas casino-hotels than ever. Caesars Entertainment was the first Las Vegas casino operator to offer these amenities. Last year MGM Resorts introduced the technology at its properties as part of the digital program in the MGM 2020 plan.
Guests at these properties can check into their hotel rooms on the way from the airport or when arriving at the casino. Once checked in with a mobile device, guests can access a room key on their phone as well. There’s no need to speak with someone or touch any surfaces before getting into the elevator and going to the room.
All guests can still use a kiosk to check-in and get a room key if they’re not ready to go mobile. They may still speak with a human at the front desk if that’s the preferred method of checking into a hotel.
The new technology was created to streamline the check-in process. This same technology also allows guests to get to their hotel room without speaking to anyone or touching a kiosk.
Cardless Players Clubs
A few years ago Station Casinos introduced cardless player club access for video poker and slot machine players. Guests just have to wave the players club card on the Station Casinos app in front of the card slot at the machine to activate their account and accumulate points.
Machine players at Station Casinos properties no longer have to mess with their physical players club card when playing slots or video poker. The technology is easy to use and pretty neat. It’s nice not to fumble around looking for the card when playing a machine game. This is especially useful for anyone who only plays video poker and slot machines.
Unfortunately, this technology only works for machine games. The cardless players club function on the app doesn’t work at promo kiosks, table games, or any other venues inside of a casino.
Still, this should cut down on the number of times guests have to put their hand in their pocket searching for the card and place it in the machine. Fewer touchpoints could be better for guests today.
Mobile Sports Betting
Mobile sports betting has been available in Las Vegas for almost a decade. I’d estimate that 99% of my sports bets have been on my this launched in Las Vegas. Not having to deal with standing in line and speaking with a ticket writer is great. Just let me place my wagers quickly!
Every sportsbook in Las Vegas casinos offers mobile betting. Guests just need to first open an account in person. Once the account is established sports bettors can wager from anywhere in the state. Additionally, funds may be withdrawn or added on the mobile device. There’s never a reason to place a wager in person again.
There are two disclaimers about mobile sports betting. First, there’s no paper ticket to show off to friends. Also, there are no complimentary drink tickets when wagering on a mobile device. That $6-$8 Miller Lite is a 6%-8% return for a $100 wager placed. While drink tickets don’t move this beer snob, it’s certainly important for some.
Guests not ready for mobile sports betting can also place wagers at kiosks in the casino. This cuts down on person to person contact when placing a bet with a ticket writer. While the bettor will get a physical ticket for their bet from the machine, they still won’t get a complimentary drink ticket.
More Touchless Options In Casinos
Various casinos have virtual concierge apps for guests. You can ask the app for recommendations on things to do and see at the specific property. The apps won’t answer general questions or help with information for competitive properties.
It appears as though QR codes are making a comeback. This will allow guests to order food at restaurants without touching a menu or speaking with a waiter or waitress.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.