More than any time before, casinos are expanding the value of player analytics by merging data on gaming spend and non-gaming activity to generate a total patron worth profile. Indeed, modern analytics solutions have stretched beyond the slot floor and can now provide insights throughout all areas of the gaming resort operation, a capability that will continue to grow as new technologies become available.
Analytics have always played a vital role in providing the means for casino operators to understand its players better, especially when it comes to basic gaming behaviors such as rate of play and frequency of visitation. But a deeper understanding of the customer is sought these days as the casino marketplace becomes more competitive and competition for the customers’ entertainment wallet grows in intensity.
“Today, operators leverage advanced analytics to gather more information about players and understand more abstract, complex attributes to determine factors that drive players to make an unplanned visit to the casino,” said Mukesh Nayak, senior director, software engineering, systems at Scientific Games. “Technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence [AI] provide automated recommendations by predicting the right offers for the right players and enhance player’s personalized experience across the casino, online and mobile channels.”
Analytics can provide casino operators with data on game performance as well as data that could also affect the overall player experience. While data about player movement on the floor is available today, the way that the information is presented and organized can play a significant role in operators’ ability to understand the performance of their floor at a glance and take immediate, decisive action to optimize the operation.
“With the advent of more data available about players, casino operators requested us to automate the whole process of identifying the right players, recommending the right reinvestment for each player, auto-building the promotions and auto-scheduling the marketing campaign,” Nayak said.
Analytics are enabling slot operators to optimize operations in three key ways, according to Nick Khin, chief commercial officer, gaming, for IGT. “First, they help ensure that the best-performing games are placed in the ideal location on the floor,” he said. “Second, they identify underperforming games so that operators can prioritize the weakest content for replacement or conversion. Finally, they help determine the games that the operation’s most valuable players prefer the most, which leads to better slot purchasing and leasing decisions.”
In addition, evolving analytics systems are playing an increasingly vital role in helping operators determine and improve overall enterprise health.
“Operators are looking for tools and technology that allow them to better access and understand their data with strong accuracy and agile integrations,” said Jay Bertsch, vice president, global systems sales for Konami Gaming. “As systems gather more data across various sources throughout the venue, the ability to review and act on this data becomes critical to maintaining a competitive edge.”
We are also living in an era where more and more customer behavioral data is available for the gaming industry to leverage. Casinos can now acquire information to include social media attributes, preferences, online shopping habits, lifestyle preferences, entertainment spend and more. Luckily, the Big Data technology to manage the large volumes of data available has become more prominent and affordable over time. “Meanwhile advanced analytics technologies to leverage such data and provide automated recommendations has become mainstream as well,” said Nayak.
Below are some of the systems providers that are leading the way when it comes to expanding and improving slot systems analytics, and some of their latest technological breakthroughs aimed at helping casino operators to better understand and engage customers.
IGT’s ADVANTAGE Analytics solution lowers the bar of entry and saves significant work hours by simplifying controls and improving ease-of-use. One way this solution does this is by building reports that consolidate multiple steps in game analysis. IGT’s tools can also help users analyze previous decisions and the subsequent effect on “win,” “coin-in” and other metrics.
Regardless of the method, the mission is to decrease users’ time and effort analyzing performance and make their game mix decisions more effective.
The ADVANTAGE Analytics complete business intelligence suite offers multiple modules for IGT’s customers, including ADVANTAGE Analytics Real Time and ADVANTAGE Analytics Core.
IGT ADVANTAGE Analytics Real Time product intelligently sources slot and player data as a single point of truth from the floor in real time and renders the data in 3D. “The result is a rich, dynamic graphical floor map of game performance, player activity such as uncarded play and card in/out activity, security messages and device status,” Khin said. “With it, users can confidently act on critical information the moment it happens… [it’s] an easy-to-interpret, graphical way to see floor activity so they can take action more quickly.”
ADVANTAGE Analytics Real Time module users can also see the data they deem to be the most important—such as opportunities to identify hot spots for uncarded play, player alerts and searches, counterfeit bills, and jammed bill validators—and can take rapid action as a result. The 3D floor visualization and performance-based color-coding of machines also gives the operator a more complete picture of non-game-related performance, providing insight into layout issues like proximity to air conditioning vents, or aisles being too narrow, which might have a negative effect on game play.
The Core module provides slot information on a historical basis, so the operator can see how the slot floor has performed over time. Within this module, operators can opt to include the Player functionality, which provides data to the operator to determine which players are most valuable and which games they prefer to play. Operators can also add the Table functionality to the Analytics Core module to generate detailed data regarding table games and helps the casino optimize its table layout.
“Our customers are very excited about our IGT ADVANTAGE Analytics solution, and we’ve had several deployments this year in prominent casinos in North America,” said Khin.
Konami Gaming has been in the casino systems business since 2001 and today its core technology supports nearly 400 venues of various sizes. The company’s primary management system offering is SYNKROS, which has been adopted by a wide range of property types—everything from large destination properties, to cruise ships, to local casino stops and entire multi-property portfolios.
“Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system empowers operators to capture and compile data through all connected areas of the property—gaming and non-gaming—in order to generate a 360-degree patron view,” Bertsch said. “As one of the industry’s leading player tracking systems, Konami’s SYNKROS is best known for its reliability, marketing tools and robust data.”
Noteworthy at G2E 2019, Konami announced a player tracking solution that uses facial recognition to capture infinitely greater patron analytics than traditional player cards. SYNK Vision is a biometric player tracking solution that uses facial recognition to identify, rate and reward all players, regardless of whether they are members of the established player loyalty program. It tracks players automatically based on their unique facial characteristics rather than requiring them to manually sign up or use a player’s tracking card. This enables casino operators to see, analyze, rate and reward all carded and uncarded play activity on their floor for the first time.
Konami welcomed several new clients and properties to SYNKROS in 2019, including Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Full House Resorts, Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos, Black Mesa Casino, and Red Lake Gaming, to name a few. In addition, The Star Entertainment Group in Australia renewed its SYNKROS agreement, marking more than a decade of systems partnership.
“Specific to integrations, we actively work toward building collaboration within the gaming sector with people who understand the needs of the operator,” said Bertsch. “At the same time, Konami looks for opportunities to bring on talented professionals who can help maximize the effectiveness and relevance of the data at all levels of an organization. Through Konami’s collaborative partnerships and thorough talent acquisition, we’re able to take an immense ecosystem of data and present it in a digestible fashion to benefit all levels of business for the casinos we serve.”
Scientific Games (SG) has multiple products that help casino operators leverage analytics to improve productivity and enhance player experience.
For example, SG’s Campaign Manager tool enables casino marketing operators to automate direct marketing promotions using advanced segmentation techniques and flexible offer rules. The company’s Praxis Analytics along with Elite Bonusing Suite uses complex machine-learning algorithms to predict the right offers for players and deliver it directly to the slot machine while the players are playing.
“SG has deployed these solutions at multiple casinos around the world and has helps operators target the right players with the right offers,” Nayak said. “Using machine learning and AI technologies, operators have seen a 25 percent increase in win from targeted players.”
One of the new features added in 2019 for the company was Personalized Game Recommendations for players. “With an exponential increase in game titles on a typical casino floor, players are finding it increasingly difficult to find games that suit their gaming style,” Nayak said. “Some prefer long bonus rounds, some prefer celebrity-based games, some prefer high-volatile games, etc. How can technology help drive players to the games that they actually enjoy and help increase the time spent inside the casino? Praxis Analytics introduced the Game Recommendation module to address this challenge.”
Just like how Netflix recommends what movie titles to watch based on consumer’s viewing patterns, the Game Recommendation module recommends game themes directly to players using game attributes and player’s gaming behavior. These recommendations are available to the player directly on the game using SG’s iVIEW display, on kiosks and on a casino’s mobile and websites. This is a continuous learning algorithm that learns player behavior as they play and auto-updates these recommendations. “The goal here is to ensure a personalized experience for the player by directing them to the games they enjoy,” Nayak said.
Recently SG’s analytics tools were installed at Hard Rock Casinos in Sacramento and in Cincinnati, Spotlight 29 Casino in California, and over 12 other properties across North America and Canada.