Robots in casinos is a concept that has been around for years. While jobs such as bar tendering and cleaning need to be done by hand, there is a perception that one-day croupiers and dealers may lose their work to technology.

Staff obsolescence in America’s casino industry is nothing new. The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a host of new technological advances, such as cashless casinos, that meant there was less need for staff.

Indeed, the development of online casino technology has furthered the push towards robotic advancement when it comes to creating, organizing and regulating our favorite casino games.

But we’re not quite at the stage yet where robotic figures dressed in waistcoats and bowties take over the poker decks and begin shuffling themselves.

Indeed, a recent story that a California casino has “employed” two robot staff members is actually evidence of how far technology still has to go before it can run a casino.

The Rolling Hills Casino north of Sacramento has taken on two robots to help with staffing shortages in its restaurant. The two Richtech Robotic servers use sensors in the restaurant’s ceiling in order to complete mundane tasks.

“What I would call them is a force multiplier,” said general manager Steve Neely. “We looked at technology to augment that staffing shortage and what we were able to do is identify this tool to supplement areas that don’t necessarily require a person to do the task.”

He added: “So we’re at a point right now where we have guaranteed $50,000 for wait staff as well as bartenders and we can’t fill all of those positions. So, we look at this as a tool to still provide that high level of service that our customers expect from us and not have to replace a person.”

American Casinos And Technology

The robots are only being used in the restaurants for now and, for the time being, it looks as though the casino’s dealership staff aren’t going to lose their jobs to technology.

But casinos across the country are certainly changing with the times. Vegas resorts implemented a range of technological advances during the COVID-19 pandemic and cashless casinos contributed to a reduction in staff requirements.

Further advances in gaming technology now means players don’t always need to sit at a table to gamble. Instead, they can use a personalized screen to log into a poker game or blackjack table, and bet without the need of real chips and cards.

In reality, robots as we currently know them – usually one-armed mechanisms or movable trolleys that can perform simple tasks – aren’t going to replace all staff.

But technology is changing the face of America’s gambling industry. These days casinos are wired to the max, tracking game play on slot machines, tables and much more. Many slots are interconnected across cities so progressive jackpots worth millions of dollars can be won on the basis of a robotic algorithm.

Yet for now, most people don’t want to be served their poker hand by a robot.

“Robotic appeal is not universal,” Johns Hopkins University professor Yulia Frumer told Forbes in 2018. “Japanese roboticists invest a lot in trying to figure out what particular features the Japanese public finds likable. Many of these features are culture-specific, so something that may be intriguing in Japan would be perceived as creepy in the United States.

“Service robots are mostly a gimmick. They definitely draw customers because of the experience they provide—not because of the function they perform. Purely in terms of functionality, it would be easier and cheaper to employ humans.”

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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