Casino Gambling Guide

Casinos to go High Tech with Radio Frequency Identification
by John Brokop

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been a part of our every day lives for well over a decade, including the ID microchip tags that veterinarians surgically implant in pets, but only recently has it been rendered practical and affordable enough for implanting in gaming chips.

The deployment of technology that will revolutionize the way casinos rate individual play at table games is coming in the not so distant future. RFID makes use of wireless technology. Information is recorded when the tag is within the range of a transmitted radio signal.

When someone buys into a game and turns in a playerís club card, he or she will be identified by table position. Every single bet the player makes during that session will be recorded by sensors at the table and stored in a data base.

The chips donít look any different from a standard chip, but inside each of them is an embedded microchip. When the chip is pla ced in the betting circle, a detector plate emits an electromagnetic field that recognizes it and sends the information to the tableís computer.

Slot players for many years have enjoyed the luxury of having their play tracked accurately and instantly. In return the casino rewards them with perks, coupons and cash-back based upon their frequency of visits and level of play.

The mechanics of table games have made this process much more difficult. Up to now it has been an inexact science on behalf of the supervisors, who make note of the buy-in and jot perio dic notes about bet size and duration of play which they enter into a computer terminal in the pit area in an effort to rate players. International Game Technology (IGT), a world-wide leader in gaming research and development, is on the verge of unveiling its patented Intelligent Table System which in its second tier of implementation will include RFID bet recognition.

By some estimates, there will be 10,000 RFID gaming tables, each with over 4,000 chips, at casinos across the country over the next five years.

Whereas a couple of casinos in Las Vegas (Wynn and Hard Rock) have already experimented with the technology on a limited basis, some gambling properties in Europe and the Far East are already fully converted to RFID table tracking. 


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