Ask the majority of casino cheaters if they prefer a dealer that is robotic with their movements and the answer will almost certainly be yes.
If a dealer is reliable with their turning circle to collect chips from their well or when sweeping losing bets off the layout, it is a pastposter’s paradise. They know exactly how long they have to switch chips without risk of getting caught in the act.
And now the possibility of actual robot dealers is on the increase, if a Hong Kong gaming machine manufacturer has its way. They have already debuted at a gaming show and are set to be introduced in the USA.
Let’s assess the pros and cons of such a potential landmark moment in the casino history:
Rollercoaster fans might be lured to a certain theme park wholly on the basis of a new ride and a tourist attraction may get a spike in visitors because of a new feature, so why wouldn’t a casino attract more guests if they offer something unique and innovative?
There is no guarantee that this novelty wouldn’t wear off quickly, but with statistics indicating that Las Vegas welcomed over 40 million visitors in 2015, there will be plenty of newcomers wanting to see in person what all the fuss is about.
Not only would they want to watch the robot in action, they will probably be tempted to play a few hands too.
An obvious gain from a robot dealer is on the finances of the casino. The robots won’t have to be paid a salary, won’t need toilet breaks, won’t phone in sick, won’t take annual leave etc. The list is endless.
They will additionally be more efficient with their dealing technique and timing. It has been suggested by Jay Chun, the chairman of the gaming manufacturer, that a robot dealer could distribute 30 per cent more cards than a human in a set period.
More hands dealt, means the potential of more profit for the casino.
Alongside dealing faster, the robots will avoid the frustrating mistakes that a human dealer could make from time to time, such as taking extra cards from the shoe or the blunder of turning over the wrong card.
They will also not be tempted to conspire with players to cheat the casino. This could be done currently by manipulating the way the cards are put into the dealing shoe.
Another benefit for the casino is that dealer could be chipped to remember which cards have already been played, again reducing the chance of cheating.
The casino industry will be far from the first to utilise robots in place of humans, especially when tasked to do administrative tasks that have no requirement of human judgement.
The Bank of England suggested in a report last year that robots were also capable of taking over creative jobs and could put as much as 50 per cent of the current workforce in the UK and USA out of work in the next two decades.
In an era where unemployment in the USA is around the five per cent mark, the last thing the country will want is a return to the higher levels of the early 1980s.
As well as winning and losing money, the ability to flirt, chat and interact with dealers is a positive for many players when visiting the casino.
There is the opportunity to have vast amounts of banter, while a robot casino dealer will not be able to engage with customers in the same way and tap into the psychology of the gambler.
A slight plus is that the robots can be loaded with the software to be able to understand and speak in a number of different languages, helping to communicate with casino visitors from all over the world.
The initial prototype that has been created is only able to deal at baccarat, which is among the most basic games available within the casino. Find out how simple baccarat really is here.
Understanding the intricacies of other casino games is something that will take a lot more work and almost certainly another significant number of years to develop.
For blackjack, the robots may have to understand voices and hand movements as to whether a players wishes to hit another card or stand, while roulette is a different kettle of fish entirely.