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The largest convention of the year hit Las Vegas this week. Technology is a bigger part of our lives than ever before and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is reflective of that. This year, the Las Vegas Convention Center was still home to the majority of CES, but attendees could also find companies showing their wares as far away as Mandalay Bay.
If you're not familiar with it, CES is the annual expo for technology companies to show off new products that will be available in the near future as well as products we may not see for years. There are things you’ll see, eventually, at home as well as in hotels, restaurants and casinos. Obviously, we’re most concerned with how CES will impact Vegas hotels and casinos.
Drinking / Bars / Technology / → All Tags
Unlike the landlocked folks of VegasChatter, writers for our sister site, Jaunted, get to travel around the world. Recently, they came across nifty robotic bartenders while floating around on the brand new Quantum of the Seas cruise ship. Hit play on the video above to see them in action.
Slot Machines / G2E / Global Gaming Expo / CES / Technology / Friends / Mad Men / Wonder Woman / WMS Gaming / Bally Technologies / → All Tags
The annual Global Gaming Expo (a.k.a. G2E) is just a couple of weeks away. The expo is where businesses with products and services related to the casino industry show off their goods to prospective buyers. While the newest ATM technology and seating options are cool to look at, most of us are concerned about new casino games.
Another nickname for G2E is the "slot machine convention." Slot manufacturers take up almost as much space on the expo floor as every other business combined. G2E is where just about all new slot machine technology and themes debut.
Slots have always struck us as one of the most laidback forms of casino gambling. Play craps and you have to be on your feet. Choose blackjack and you can sit, but keeping track of the game can keep your mind racing. poker’s constant pushing, shoving, and stacking of chips can be exhausting. Even roulette requires some counting and sorting. Slots are the game for the truly lazy. Sit in a chair, sip a drink, and slap a button. That’s all there is to it. Slot manufacturers, however, seem to think the games are still too strenuous. In a never-ending quest to combat slot player fatigue, they’ve introduced some game enhancements that have us rolling our eyes.
First up is an easier way to bet. Hitting “spin” sounds painless enough, but apparently pressing a large round button is a process that needs improvement. Could valuable seconds be lost with each reach of the arm? Or, maybe frequent players are plagued by elbow strain. We’re not really sure where the need for this innovation came from, but remote play buttons are here. Connected to the machine via cabling approximately two feet in length, these handheld devices let you enjoy another spin without the discomfort of raising your arm. You won’t find a cash-out button on the unit and, unless you’re willing to make the grueling reach six inches over, your only option is to continue playing. Sneaky.
Gaming / The Mirage / MGM Grand / Sportsbooks / Technology / → All Tags
This week, MGM Grand and The Mirage began a test run of pretty amazing tables. Yes, tables. These InteractivePro Tables (IPT) offer a unique 10-point, multi-touch experience that can be used for a wide range of applications including television, video and interactive entertainment to be used in bars, casino floors, hotel suites, restaurants and lounges. We saw the first table on display at The Mirage sportsbook. It was just being set up so it could only get online for the time being. That will change soon.
Venetian / Palazzo / Technology / Mobile Phones / Video Poker / Slot Machines / Gambling / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
Tired of losing the charge on your mobile phone while wandering the Vegas Strip? Well, Venetian has you in mind with the most recent addition to its casino.
VegasChatter reader Jeff C. recently spied the installation of Plug & Play mobile charging systems on some of the resort's video poker and slot machines. You don't even need a full charger to get your mobile phone some extra power while you gamble. Just plug a USB cable into the machine and your phone will begin to charge.
We don’t ask for much when it comes to Las Vegas besides an amazingly memorable experience. This writer used to have an iPod playlist made specifically for final descent into McCarran Airport. My first thought upon landing was that it was time to get busy.
When thinking about different ways technology could improve a hotel stay in Las Vegas, the first thing on my wish list was mobile check-in. After grabbing a Red Eye from Starbucks at the airport and a cocktail at the hotel, there’s nothing worse than spending 45 minutes in line to check-in. It looks as if Caesars Entertainment has heard our plea for speediness. A friend received the following email before checking into Flamingo last week:
Technology is moving faster than most businesses can keep up with. Unfortunately for them, there's a growing group of early adopters who want the newest technology as soon as it's available. This technology is as simple as making websites more current to offering mobile check-in. Las Vegas is a city that has to cater to both early adopters and super slow adopters. It’s pretty much impossible to keep everyone happy all the time.
This early adopter loves it when there are new developments in hotel tech and casino tech. It was exciting when Golden Nugget updated their 24K players club last month so that players could use kiosks for promotions and use slot dollars right from their players club card. Some casinos have been doing this for a while, but it’s always nice when another casino catches up.
Las Vegas is on the cutting edge of a lot of trends. Take nightclubs, for example. Nine of the top ten grossing nightclubs are located in Las Vegas. If you’re looking for the next hot trend in dining just see what restaurants are opening in Las Vegas. There was gourmet burgers, there was tacos, there was pizza. You get the idea. Strange enough, the huge hotels that we all stay at are behind the curve. Some hotels are lacking when it comes to design and technology while some are just behind the times with tech.
A SmartBrief poll last year showed that 45% of hotel guests travel with two mobile devices and 40% with three or more. That number will continue to increase as this technology becomes more and more a part of everyday life. We want more access and information and we want it now.
So, what would we like to see Vegas hotels adapt? Here are some hotel technology ideas that exist outside of Las Vegas and some we’re just dreaming about. Some are items are available in limited capacity while some don't exist here at all.
Interblock / Gambling / Holograms / Technology / The Quad / The Cosmopolitan / MGM Grand / Rio / Blackjack / Baccarat / Roulette / Millennials / → All Tags
You may not be familiar with Interblock, but that’s going to change.
Interblock creates multi-player casino games that allow many to gamble together. You may have seen Rapid Roulette, Rapid Craps and video blackjack from other companies, but Interblock takes those ideas to another level. In the past weeks, they’ve introduced hologram gaming at The Quad and The Cosmopolitan.
The fella above is Hans. He’s a sweetheart of a dealer at one of this writer's favorite low-rolling casinos. Late last year while waiting for some friends, another friend and I decided to play a little blackjack. Hans was beating me up pretty badly so I took a short break and let him crush the dreams of the other people at the table while remaining in my seat. While still seated, I decided to whip out the iPhone and catch up with email, tweets and friends on Facebook. It was cool. Hans didn’t seem to mind. Neither did the pit boss. We were all chatting and having a good time while he busted up other players.
After leaving the table it hit me that I wasn’t asked to stop using my mobile phone while others were playing blackjack. Back in the day, dealers and pit bosses would scold or reprimand someone using a mobile phone at the tables like a second grader. More recently, dealers and pit bosses would ask -- nicely -- if guests could step away from the table or put the phone away. Since my experience, I've noticed that dealers and pit bosses all around Vegas are easing up on the scolding. Gentle requests are still made sometimes, but not as often as the past. This has been my personal experience at casinos all over Vegas in the past few months.
CES / Technology / Slot Machines / Sportsbooks / Consumer Electronics Show / G2E / Global Gaming Expo / → All Tags
The Consumer Electronics Show, more commonly known as CES, is in Las Vegas this week. CES is the largest convention in Vegas and features all kinds of technology from the realistic to the never-gonna-happen. Technology is such a part of our lives today that coverage has grown from the practical to the ridiculous. At VegasChatter, we’re more concerned with what we’ll be seeing in hotels and casinos than a famous guy freaking out.
Technology develops so quickly today that there’s much available, but only a few things seem as if they’re destined to succeed and be seen in Las Vegas casinos anytime soon. At the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), we may have been teasing when we said that slot machine manufacturers were making new games brighter and crisper because their audience was getting older and couldn’t see very well. While this may or may not be true, we do see a few new products at CES that could appeal visually to younger and older gamblers alike.