During the recent 2012 Back of House Tour sponsored by the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, it seemed a reasonable bet that – no matter what exclusive behind the scenes experiences journalists might have – they’d never get a chance to see how the gaming guts of a casino worked.
Like so many other folks awash in the neon of Sin City, we lost that bet.
The Aria Resort and Casino, within MGM’s City Center complex on the Las Vegas Strip, ranks amongst the most technologically advanced hotels ever built – in Las Vegas or any place else. Its cutting-edge networks offer a glimpse of what all casinos will look like in the future.
Even before it opened, The Aria marketed itself as a high-tech alternative to Vegas’s more traditional stops with its powerful data and communication system driven by 283 individual telecom rooms and a broadband antennae network covering 140 million square feet.
But, as luxurious as its guest rooms look, as world class as the restaurants are, mega-casinos like The Aria flourish thanks to their pits. And Aria’s technology reaches deep into its gambling operations
Players will find slots, video poker and the other gambling standards throughout the Aria. But the hotel’s particular gambling stations have updatable, constantly-changing games controlled and monitored by the Aria’s 3,000 square foot data center.
The stations have high-def, 3D screens and are each run by an Apple Computer. They’re constantly updating the house with stats on which games are most popular – and headquarters changes them accordingly. Standard slots not doing well? The gaming HQ can change them to a themed machine. Video Poker beating out slots? The Aria can turn slots into poker with a keystroke.
This flexible gambling tech allows The Aria to evolve continually. Gambling is no longer the primary revenue producer in Sin City. Big budget shows, spa services ad gourmet dining are eclipsing the craps table and roulette wheel during the ongoing recession.
Many visitors with limited vacation income want something for their money, like the memory of a special event or a lavish meal — and not a pile of vanishing quarters at the video poker machine. If they do gamble, they risk less and select their method more carefully So, giving a casino the opportunity to create more of a popular gambling machine with a keystroke enables the virtual pit bosses the ability to think on the fly and guarantee revenue.
To keep that revenue secure, The Aria’s camera surveillance system can read the text on your phone from overhead while keeping tabs on every gaming table and machine. The cameras can use facial recognition software to monitor who’s coming and going.
Of course, when you combine tech cameras with the modern smartphone network, no one will move about a property with anonymity. A wealthy Big Brother will always be watching you at the Aria. And they’ll be watching out FOR you if you’re a VIP.
If a guest has a Player’s Club Card, and his or her face is ID’d (or a smartphone detected), there’ll be no need to stand in line at the club. A concierge will scan for the right faces and phones before escorting those chosen people in ahead of the crowd.
Service like that is good motivation to gamble and get rich. So, as you can see, all of this casino touring stuff comes full circle.