Survey results give glimpse of casino’s future

Sep 23, 2003 7:50 AM

A survey released at last week’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) provided a glimpse of the casino floor of the future. And, while it didn’t induce future shock, it may have raised a few eyebrows.

First, the casino of the future is going to be cashless. Players will be able to swipe a debit card or smart card to begin to play games geared to their personal interests, with special bonuses and jackpots designed just for them. They may even compete against one another.

And instead of leaving their precious machine to order a drink or make dinner or show reservations, they will do it all right from the machine.

The survey results were part of the inaugural G2E Future Watch Series, an original research project involving the gaming industry’s leading executives, ranging from directors of slot operations to general managers to senior vice presidents and chief executive officers.

The new survey series was released prior to the opening of the show floor at G2E, which drew nearly 700 exhibitors and 14,000 attendees this year.

"G2E has always showcased the best of what’s happening now in gaming," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). "The new future watch series adds a whole new dimension to the show, providing a glimpse through the looking glass into the future of our industry."

Virtually all of the gaming executives predicted that 75% or more of all casino gaming will be converted to cashless technology within 10 years.

In addition, 77% said they expected the casino floor of the future to look appreciably different than it does today. Examples of high-tech innovations of the future are flat screens and downloadable games from a range of manufacturers.

"Imagine walking into a casino and finding a computer, desk and a chair," Fahrenkopf said. "Everything, including various games and services would be accessed from that one computer."

Moreover, 85% of those surveyed expected home video-game manufacturers such as Sony and Nintendo to enter the casino games arena. And nearly 80% predict that there will be a significant market within the next 10 years for games featuring virtual reality and hologram technology.

On a broader scale, most of the new casinos that will open nationwide will resemble the destination style resorts of Las Vegas, according to 62 percent of those surveyed.

And despite rumors to the contrary, "themed" resorts will still be popular with operators, according to nearly two-thirds of the casino executives.

Conversely, the new casinos of Las Vegas will be fashioned along the lines of the Palms, a smaller, boutique-style casino designed to attract customers with a variety of dining and entertainment options, along with a well-stocked casino.