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DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY

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Casinos have long been big users of digital display screens, on the gaming floor and off. What do the latest technologies, from multiple- user touchscreens to wide-area digital signage, offer the operator – and what are the special challenges of deploying in casinos?

Barnaby Page investigates…

F

rom the TV to the laptop to the mobile phone, we live in a culture of screens. It’s only the oldest generations who grew up in a world devoid of them – and for the

youngest, a screen of one kind or another is the natural thing to turn to when seeking information or entertainment. So it’s not surprising that the screen is

increasingly the intermediary between business and consumer. And casinos have been among the most eclectic users of display technology, both for communicating with customers and for enhancing the gaming experience. At the Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas

Strip, for example, sports betting has come to the casino floor with the help of Cantor Gaming’s eDeck – a handheld device described as a “chubby iPhone” through which users can place bets as well as play games such as Blackjack and Baccarat. “Once most people know this is available,

they seem pretty interested to try it out,” said Mark Goldman, Director of Race and Sports for the Venetian and Palazzo, where 200 of the devices have been rebranded as PocketCasino. The M Resort in Las Vegas is also using the technology.

Digital signage: the big decisions

Casinos are often spoken of as near-perfect

venues for digital signage – their visitors generally stay a long time in one spot, need lots of information (whether it’s relate to the game they’re playing, the ones they haven’t tried yet, or other activities), and have relatively high spending power. Plus, especially if they’re slot players, they’re by definition already very accustomed to interacting with visual displays. But before specifying and rolling out a

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“This is something we’ll probably have in our

sports books for a long, long time,” said Goldman, although he did acknowledge that younger gamblers tend to take to the devices more readily than older ones. (MGM Mirage has recently encountered the same perhaps not surprising phenomenon with digital signage screens used to give visitors directions at its properties. Says Randy Dearborn, the company’s VP of Multimedia: “In our original pilot tests with digital way-finding, kids loved it and seniors were less engaged.” He does add, though that “in recent months, we have noticed the comfort level has increased dramatically”.) Cantor Gaming, a subsidiary of the financial

services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, suggests that as well as expanding the potential reach of the sports book to the entire venue, the eDeck can be used to allow near real-time betting on events – for example, on whether a particular kick in football will be successful. Indeed, while recent years have seen notable

growth in casinos’ use of large public-display screens – whether they are keeping multiple

players abreast of progress in an electronic table game, or tempting hungry patrons with the casino’s dining offers – it’s likely that the next wave of innovation will come with touch-enabled devices, whether these are handheld systems like the eDeck or larger screens capable of registering multiple simultaneous touches. (The next wave but one will probably be 3D, but it’s a few years away from widespread rollouts in the real world, and producing it without special glasses is still a tall order.) Touch capability is nothing new, of course, as

any casino gamer can tell you. What is new – or least about to become a whole lot more widespread – is so-called “multi-touch”. Enabling the software that drives the screen to interpret numerous touches at the same time opens up a range of new possibilities – for example, more sophisticated interfaces allowing the user to virtually manipulate objects on the screen, or of course letting two or more users interact with the screen simultaneously. Says 3M, a pioneer in multi-touch: “Utilising

this new technology, software developers are able to initiate a technological leap in the way users interact with all types of information and to expand traditional touch interaction to include multiple users and increase collaboration.” Its

digital signage network – whether or not it’s an interactive one – it’s important to distinguish among the different types of deployment. The business purpose, the technology features, and the scale of the eventual network are all factors that should drive the eventual purchase decision. Technology vendor Gaming Support, for

example, divides its digital signage offering into three levels: promotion of individual banks of slots, digital marketing across an entire venue (which can include hospitality, entertainment and retail areas as well as the gaming floor), and multi-venue broadcasting.

For slot banks, the firm offers JackpotJunction

Lite, which comprises a media controller and two pieces of software – Video Junction and Jackpot Data Exchange. The system supports audio as well as moving video, and can be integrated with progressive jackpot displays. To serve entire venues, JackpotJunction Pro

is based on an enhanced suite of software tools – Jackpot Data Interchange and AudioJunction, as well as multiple copies of the VideoJunction package also used at Lite level. Unlike the Lite version, however, JackpotJunction Pro can be used to manage multiple different zones of screens, with the Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46
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