Cameras in some form have been in use since the 5th century B.C.E. In the near 3,000 years since, humanity has yet to realize all the potential of the simple concept of capturing light on a surface that bears an image. Among the industries still just scratching the surface of what cameras are capable of is gambling in the United States.
Improvements in cameras themselves along with accompanying technology have made the devices powerful tools in the hands of gambling companies who invest in them. That investment certainly requires capital but also an embrace of systems’ potential. While regulatory concerns may limit that potential in balance with other interests, the utilization of camera-based tools can make gambling more enjoyable for players and lucrative for operators.
Camera surveillance minimizes human tasks
Perception, in this context, can actually pale in comparison to reality. Casino guests who notice cameras around properties and assume they only exist to multiply the number of eyes that security staff employ suffer from a reductionist view of cameras.
The latest cameras are capable of so much more. Security Sales & Integration wrote about the installation of a new video surveillance system at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort near Scottsdale, Arizona. The system, featuring more than 800 cameras, naturally delivered pristine video with low latency.
However, the technology of the system reduced the number of judgments and tasks that humans have to perform as well. This was due to the system’s motion detection integration, prioritizing capturing areas where there was actual activity. Additionally, the system boasted the ability to count the number of people within certain areas.
The technology company behind the system, Hanwha Vision, can deploy its WAVE video management system that has more capabilities. Those include detecting fog or smoke, classifying different sounds the cameras pick up, and reporting violations of virtual parameters.
Furthermore, this surveillance system is capable of telling its user if anyone has attempted to tamper with a camera. While these capabilities encompass passive surveillance in gambling properties, cameras can deliver more assets when gamblers and staff actually interact with them.
Cameras enable zero-trust protocols in gambling
Last month, Conor O’Donoghue wrote about the facial recognition and behavior analysis capabilities of camera systems for The Irish Post. These abilities enable gambling facilities to employ “zero trust” security protocols.
In this context, the zero trust phrase means that personnel have to constantly verify their identities and access to areas. Facial recognition can be extremely useful in this interest, providing another layer of identity verification.
That pertains to both guests and staff in gambling facilities. Patrons who choose to submit to facial or optical scans unleash a host of tools that biometrics enable. For example, such systems could manage access to VIP assets at casinos and even potentially assist with bankroll management.
However, there are more passive deployments for cameras with facial recognition as well.
Another utilization is to ensure that people who are involuntarily or voluntarily excluded from gaming floors are not present in such areas. Additionally, such cameras can identify potentially suspicious behaviors, both from a security and responsible gambling perspective.
As Rachel Goodger, Chief Revenue Officer for CrowdIQ and Fancam stated, “anything that a human being can deduce from an image, you can train a computer to recognize.” The company that employs Goodger brings in even more potential for camera systems related to gambling.
Using cameras to gain customer intelligence
CrowdIQ and Fancam partner with venues to use cameras to collect data about, as the name suggests, crowds. Among the company’s clients are venues for professional sports in the United States like Ford Field in Detroit. Some of these clients also either currently or wish to partner with gambling companies for sponsorships.
Goodger spoke about the potential of CrowdIQ in regard to capturing people’s behavior in betting lounges or physical sportsbooks at the venues.
“We certainly have had those conversations,” Goodger explained. “We don’t currently have any partners that have those in their arenas that we’re working with but certainly have had conversations with partners where they are planning for that to be the case once laws change within their states and they can implement that activity in those spaces. I think it’s interesting from our perspective because our focus is the bowl, the arena, typically, that’s where we’re doing all our demographic scans to get the approximate age and gender of the fans in the arena. We could put cameras in a gambling lounge in a venue so you could hypothetically gain an understanding of, ok, here’s who is in our betting lounge and here is who is partaking in this component. That is the extent to which we’ve had these conversations. It’s been planning for the future.”
However, that’s not the extent of the potential value of CrowdIQ for gambling companies in partnerships with sports teams. The assets extend to online gambling products like real-money online casinos as well according to Goodger.
“In venue we have something called attention tracking,” Goodger elaborated. “We have a camera that doesn’t capture the entire venue, it just captures a subsection of a crowd, and all it focuses on is are fans looking up at the big screen, are they looking at the field of play, or are they looking at their phones? We do that on a per-second basis and we sync that up with what’s actually then happening on the big screen so you can get a better understanding of what fans are reacting to, what they’re paying attention to, what they aren’t paying attention to, and that’s the biggest conversation piece that we’ve had around the future of sports betting and in-venue betting as well. I was at the Super Bowl this year and how cool was it to be able to put in a bet on the game during half time? It was awesome. If our clients partner with a DraftKings or a FanDuel who is promoting in-venue different bets throughout the game or on the app, we can answer if it prompts fans to look at their phones. Now, do they open up Twitter, do they text a friend, do they open the app, that we can’t tell you. But a great example, we do have a partner, whenever the Uber reminder went up toward the end of the game, there was an insane spike in fans looking at their phones. It was the biggest spike in mobile attention throughout the game always. Now, does the user look at Uber, Lyft, a taxi, text their friend and say I’m on my way out, again, we cannot tell you, but what we can tell you is that reminder is driving people to look at their phones. We would be able to do the exact same thing in the sports betting world.”
While those capabilities focus on activations during events related to gambling companies, Goodger thinks gambling properties like casinos could benefit from her company’s technology as well. It would represent utilizing cameras not only for compliance and security but business intelligence as well.
“From our perspective, if casinos aren’t doing demographic scans, they are missing out on something,” Goodger added. “If I’m the casino operator, I would want to know, is it Gen Zs sitting here playing roulette? Is it Boomers over there playing craps? Do men gravitate toward these games while women tend to play these games? Our technology could tell them that. It’s going to fluctuate from one casino to the next and if you aren’t hitting your targets, what do you need to modify to reach that? Our technology certainly could help a casino in that way.”
Camera systems are powerful technology that can not only help to protect assets but give gambling companies more information on how to better sell their products and services. For those systems to reach their potential within the gambling industry, human decision makers must understand them. Without human intelligence, the smartest systems in the world will merely be recording devices.