For casino industry server-based gambling still in the cards

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High-tech slots should obtain a big-shot in the arm using the beginning of Vegas' CityCenter later this season. However, a whole lot of rewiring remains to be done.nby Daniel Terdiman February 3, 2009 12:01 PM PST nFollow @GreeterDan nIn summer time of 2005, the casino business was abuzz with excitement over what was then seen as the next good thing--server-based gaming, a significant technological shift in how slots work. nEssentially, this invention was going to make it possible for the machines presenting a wide number of activities, all offered up from sources, and opted for on the spot by players. This was a sea change from the traditional style, in which a product had one game built into it. Consequently, I wrote then, the technology was 'planned to become the biggest news at (the September 2005) Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, the casino industry's large annual trade show.' nFlash forward, but, for the November 2008 edition of G2E, in which a engineering panel entitled 'Server-based gaming: Beginning to begin' offered a rousing discussion about the subject, and the one that belied the extreme optimism of four years before. 'While it may possibly still be uncertain when and how server-based gambling will be introduced widely throughout the market and for the consumer,' the panel's description mentioned, 'the question of if it'll is not any longer.' nnLong viewed as the next best part in the casino business, server-based gaming may finally get ready for primetime. These machines, from WMS Gaming, are allowed with the technology, that allows individual machines on a casino floor to download new games on the fly, in addition to give the casino a way to offer people promotions.n( Credit: WMS Gaming) nSo yes, the market was jumping the gun with its 2005 excitement. And naturally, considering that track record, any new excitement has to be viewed through a notably suspicious lens. nBut today, industry executives say, the time is ultimately correct for sever-based gaming, and the first signs of the technology--albeit a new form of it that's been altered dramatically from what it was originally--may actually be coming. Another best part may at long last be here. nThat suggests a host of new slot machine-based innovations could possibly be on their way. Included in this, said Rob Bone, the vice president of marketing for WMS Gaming, one of the casino industry's big-four suppliers, is a community-gaming system that can allow multiple visitors to play games across some products. And still another, referred to as 'adaptive gaming,' will make it possible for the machines to keep an eye on a player's improvement and allow them rejoin their game, even in a different location. nFor each one of the four producers, then, the innovations which will come within a bigger server-based gambling motion are varied and wide-ranging. If you are you looking for more on online casino bonus take a look at our own web site. At its core to-day, however, the technology is all about systems by which the machines can talk to databases on back-room servers, making it possible to obtain new information and information to a device at anytime, or even to change the denomination of games on the fly to reply to casino job numbers. nThe world's first all-server-based gaming floornAnd in case a new technology must be openly rolled-out with a splash, the casino industry could not have plumped for a better approach to formally present server-based gaming to the world: CityCenter, a large, $8 billion, mutual MGM Mirage/Dubai World development project now under construction on the Las Vegas Strip that features thousands of hotel rooms, luxury condominiums and soccer fields' worth of casino space. And the world's first all-server-based gaming floor. nThis start, which will include 2,000 models, is planned for late 2009, and can, in the end these years, finally pave the way for server-based gaming to become the new industry-standard. nBut what caused the delay? nAccording to industry professionals, not long following the 2005 G2E, there clearly was a major philosophical shift, in which the major vendors--International Game Technology (IGT), WMS, Bally Technologies, and Aristocrat--came to the conclusion, along side specialists, that rather than each trying to create their own private versions of the technology, they would place their heads together and devise some new technology standards. n'In 2005, there were no standards, and no protocols where we're able to produce help software,' said Javier Saenz, the vice president of product management for network programs at IGT. 'We had a need to develop practices, interfaces that labored, and some formalized engineering.' nAround that time, then, a new standards body emerged, the Gaming Standards Association (GSA), and what occurred were methods that would be able the casino operators to routinely pipe in communications to players--promotional communications, updates of free buffets and the like--in pop-up windows about the screens, no matter which manufacturer's machines they were playing. Formerly, it'd not have been possible. nFor organizations like WMS and IGT, this change in philosophy was nothing short of a major retrenching, but one they felt they no choice but to consider. n'Pretty much, IGT had to.abandon all previous growth that leveraged old, amazing protocols,' Saenz said. 'It was a huge enterprise.' nInstead, he explained, the four companies have adopted what they call open networks, a new expression for server-based gambling built around methods designed to provide casino operators the kind of new server-based technology they want, while also meeting the security and communications goals of the GSA. nGetting the criteria set up was the initial step, of course, and in accordance with Mark Lipparelli, a member of the Nevada Gaming Get a grip on Board--which oversees casinos in that state--they were executed in November of 2005, just months after that year's G2E. nThe greater question, then, was how long it'd simply take for the results of the standardization to manifest in industrywide roll-outs of server-based gaming. n'The widespread adoption and implementation of the protected circle technologies,' Lipparelli said, 'will be more of market function.' Nothing unanticipated--at the time, at least--result of the philosophical change is that the industry's major companies have come around, for the very first time, towards the recognition that their technology has to be interoperable, in at least some fundamental ways. nBanking on customer loyaltynThese times, a big part of successful casino operations is better figuring out how not merely to get a new player to bring his / her money onto your ground, but also how to get that individual to join your loyalty program and come back to one of your houses again and again. nFor businesses like MGM/Mirage, as an example, that type of customer acquisition and maintenance is critical, specially in a town like Las Vegas, where in fact the giant already owns ten major properties--including Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Luxor and others--and will soon start City Center. Which makes it possible for its customers to play games and feel welcome and valued at all its casinos is simply in regards to the most significant point MGM/Mirage or any of its competitors can perform. nAnd that is why, while an IGT device however will not run activities from Bally--at least not any moment soon--the four manufacturers appear to have come around to the notion that their technology needed to give the casino operators a lot more get a handle on over the messaging players would see on those machines. nAdditionally, Saenz said, the gaming machines will need to find a way to access the casinos' databases of client names and information, irrespective of who made the equipment, in order to offer information that is specific to each user. nnA schematic of a server-based system from WMS Gaming.n( Credit: WMS Gaming) nBut even as big companies like MGM/Mirage get in to server-based gaming, the ownership of such machines will be slow. nAs of today, Bone said, WMS has about 1,500 server-based machines used around the globe. He thinks that casinos will begin to roll-out server-based gambling on the 'bank by bank' basis, indicating one section of models at a time, in the place of by changing entire floors at once. nThat means, Bone said, that the technology goes gain grip through the entire casino industry over the next two to three years. nIGT's Saenz agreed with that analysis. nAt the moment, he said, the organization has two in Nevada, five server-based gaming field trials and one each in California, Missouri, and Michigan. nLots of machines, plenty of rewiringnOf course, the future City Center opening will probably be the big developing party IGT's--and the industry's--server-based gaming technology has been looking forward to. But while that start will mean that up to 2000 machines seriously line at the same time, Saenz said that there are functional reasons why the technology will be slow to spread, nonetheless. nPart of that could be because of infrastructure. In order to throw out server-based games, Saenz pointed out, casinos have to have Ethernet networks deployed on the floors. That's something that several casinos have achieved to date, he explained, adding that people who do have a much quicker path to the new technology. n'Historically, there was an expectation that when server-based gaming arrived, (casinos) would amazingly rewire their complete floors,' Saenz said, 'and instantly there would be server-based gaming. But that's maybe not practical.' nThat is excatly why he wants to determine roll-outs a hundred machines at any given time through the business, although not faster than that. n'In a few years,' Saenz said, 'nearly all casinos will involve some server-based games, and (a few) will be completely' rolled-out.