Are Robots the Croupiers of the Future?

3d rendering humanoid robot thinking on white background

Robots have become more advanced — scanning the surface of Mars, working on production lines, and even vacuuming our homes. With these developments, it’s unsurprising that even the casino industry is looking at how they can take advantage of these robotic developments.

Technology in the casino

The casino industry is no stranger to technology. Many people have watched casino games go from mechanical machines with buttons and levers, to electronic entertainment devices with monitors, to digital touchscreen experiences. 

They’ve also seen the introduction of other new technologies like automatic card shufflers, mobile apps, cashless payments, and even online and virtual casinos, all of which aim to make things easier for the customer, and more cost-effective for the casino operator.

But there’s one big technological step that’s looming on the horizon that could change the live casino experience forever. 

Enter the robot

The idea of the robot has existed in some shape or form for hundreds of years, but the concept really only exploded into the mainstream consciousness in the 20th century, primarily thanks to popular science fiction writers, animated cartoons, and Hollywood movies.

While the media has portrayed the robot in a certain way, the reality is that we’ve had robots quietly working for us for decades. In industries like manufacturing, exploration, and even home cleaning, robots have been quietly working, almost unnoticed by most of society. But the casino industry is looking to place the robot at the heart of the industry: as a croupier.

The past and present of robot croupiers

Robot croupier dealing cards on green felt casino table

Imagine a croupier who never got tired, never made a mistake, was always pleasant with customers, and could detect cheating? While it may be impossible to expect this of a human being, a robot croupier could do all these things and more without ever needing a break, getting sick, or needing a raise. 

It’s this idea that’s driving the development of robotic croupiers in the casino industry and has seen the launch of prototypes like Min, a prototype robot croupier from Hong Kong technology company Paradise Entertainment. Min, a robot croupier who could only deal cards, was revealed in December 2015. This prototype later made its way into some casinos in Macau and the US.

While Paradise Entertainment may have claimed to have produced the first “human-like” robotic dealer, there are some doubts whether specific markets were ready for Min. While some people may prefer to be left alone to quietly play a game, others may want to chat with the dealer while they play, which is something Min was sadly not able to do.

As we all know, technology does not stand still, and in 2017 another robotic croupier was revealed at an entrepreneurial event called Slush. This croupier was adapted from the open-source InMoov robot by the Spice Program at Futurice. 

The robot interacted with a digital blackjack table and delivered a smooth experience, according to Minja Axelsson, a co-creator who worked on the project. This robot was sadly still not able to communicate with players, except through pre-recorded voice lines at specific points in the game. The group of developers who worked on this InMoov prototype understood that the robot was limited, but recognized that this was just the first step towards the development of a more social robot.

Another advanced robot croupier was announced in November 2019 by LT Game, a subsidiary of Paradise Gaming. This robot was announced at the Macau Gaming Show and features AI, a high definition screen, and atmospheric music. While the robot can undoubtedly do the job of dealing cards, and maybe even play some catchy tunes, there was no indication in reports that this robot had the social skills that the earlier robotic croupiers lacked.

Even if the technology isn’t there yet, there’s no doubt that robots are growing more and more advanced, and for the highly competitive casino industry, robotic croupiers could be a solution to the growing financial challenges they face.

Other robots in the casino industry

Robotic bartender pouring beer into a glass

Even if a robot croupier is years away from matching the experience a human croupier offers, it’s important to highlight that there are already robots working in casinos today. Here are a few of the ways robots are currently operating in casinos:

  • Faster bartending – Casinos around the world are turning to robots to help eliminate the bottlenecks on one of their most important services: the bar. Whether it’s waitresses who need drinks for clients on the casino floor, or patrons getting impatient at the actual bar, peak periods usually cause delays. Thankfully, technology has stepped in to help fill the gap with robotic arms that can pour you the perfect drink.
  • Delivery – Need something from the hotel’s café or restaurant but don’t have time to go down and get it yourself? Place your order on a tablet in your room and go about your business while the staff prep your items for delivery by robotic assistants, who’ll arrive at your door and give you a ring to let you know that your order has arrived. “Jett” and “Fetch” are two examples of this system at work, and even though they operate out of the MGM-owned Vdara Hotel & Spa, it shouldn’t be long before similar services make their way directly onto the casino floor.
  • Security – Casinos are already known for their tight security, but one hotel has an additional layer of robotic assistance to ensure that casino patrons are safe and secure at all times. These robots are designed to capture video, be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, and flag any unattended items. They’re also equipped with sensors that scan for heat, in case of a fire or another potentially dangerous heat source. 

Even if a robot croupier is years away from matching the experience a human croupier offers, it’s important to highlight that there are already robots working in casinos today. Here are a few of the ways robots are currently operating in casinos:Faster bartending – Casinos around the world are turning to robots to help eliminate the bottlenecks on one of their most important services: the bar. Whether it’s waitresses who need drinks for clients on the casino floor, or patrons getting impatient at the actual bar, peak periods usually cause delays. Thankfully, technology has stepped in to help fill the gap with robotic arms that can pour you the perfect drink.

Delivery – Need something from the hotel’s café or restaurant but don’t have time to go down and get it yourself? Place your order on a tablet in your room and go about your business while the staff prep your items for delivery by robotic assistants, who’ll arrive at your door and give you a ring to let you know that your order has arrived. “Jett” and “Fetch” are two examples of this system at work, and even though they operate out of the MGM-owned Vdara Hotel & Spa, it shouldn’t be long before similar services make their way directly onto the casino floor.

Security – Casinos are already known for their tight security, but one hotel has an additional layer of robotic assistance to ensure that casino patrons are safe and secure at all times. These robots are designed to capture video, be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, and flag any unattended items. They’re also equipped with sensors that scan for heat, in case of a fire or another potentially dangerous heat source. 

Embrace the future with BetMGM

Regardless of the role robots come to play in the casino, at BetMGM we understand that technology should be used to best serve our customers

This is why you’ll enjoy a wide range of online casino games, including the latest slots and table games, at our online casino. If you’re interested in playing at an online casino, you can also experience our live dealer games, which bring a game run by a real dealer right into your home. If you want a shot at the jackpot slots at our casino, you can also give those a spin, with a chance to win big!
Whether you play at our casino online on a computer, or through our casino games app, you can rest assured that you can enjoy the best casino odds and new casino games at BetMGM. To find out more about what we have to offer, visit BetMGM today.