For casino industry server-based gambling still in the cards

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High-tech slots must obtain a big-shot in the arm together with the opening of Nevada' CityCenter later this season. Still, a lot of rewiring remains to be done.nby Daniel Terdiman February 3, 2009 12:01 PM PST nFollow @GreeterDan nIn the summertime of 2005, the casino business was abuzz with excitement over what was then regarded as another great thing--server-based gaming, an important technological shift in how slots work. nEssentially, this innovation would make it possible for the machines to provide a broad number of games, all offered up from back-office sources, and opted for at that moment by players. This is a sea-change in the traditional design, when a product had just one game built into it. Consequently, I wrote then, the technology was 'planned to become the biggest information at (the September 2005) Worldwide Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, the casino industry's huge annual trade show.' nFlash forward, however, to the November 2008 version of G2E, in which a engineering panel entitled 'Server-based gaming: Starting to begin' stated a rousing talk on the topic, and one that belied the extreme optimism of four years before. 'While it may be uncertain when and how server-based gaming will be introduced widely throughout the market and to the consumer,' the panel's description said, 'the question of if it'll is no longer.' nnLong viewed as another best part within the casino business, server-based gaming may possibly finally get ready for primetime. These machines, from WMS Gaming, are enabled with the technology, that allows individual machines on a casino floor to acquire new activities on the fly, as well as give the casino ways to present players promotions.n( Credit: WMS Gaming) nSo yes, the industry was jumping the gun with its 2005 excitement. And obviously, considering the fact that background, any new commitment should be seen through a significantly cynical contact. nBut now, business executives say, the time is ultimately correct for sever-based gaming, and the first symptoms of the technology--albeit a fresh form of it that's been altered considerably from what it was originally--may actually be on the horizon. Another best part may finally be here. nThat suggests a number of new slot machine-based innovations may be on their way. Among them, said Rob Bone, the vice-president of advertising for WMS Gaming, one of the casino industry's big-four producers, is a community-gaming system which will allow multiple individuals to play games across a series of models. And yet another, generally known as 'adaptive gaming,' can make it feasible for the machines to keep track of a player's improvement and let them rejoin their game, even at a different place. nFor each one of the four manufacturers, then, the improvements that will come as part of a more substantial server-based gaming motion are various and wide-ranging. At its core today, however, the technology is about systems by which the machines can talk to databases on back-room servers, rendering it possible to obtain new data and information to a machine at anytime, as well as to alter the denomination of games on the fly to reply to casino job numbers. nThe world's first all-server-based gaming floornAnd if your new technology needed to be openly rolled out with a splash, the casino industry could hardly have plumped for a much better way to formally present server-based gaming for the world: City-center, a broad, $8 thousand, joint MGM Mirage/Dubai World development project now under construction on the Las Vegas Strip that features thousands of rooms in hotels, luxury condominiums and football fields' worth of casino space. And the world's first all-server-based gaming floor. nThis launch, that may include 2,000 products, is slated for late 2009, and may, after all these years, finally lead the way for server-based gaming to become the new industry standard. nBut what caused the delay? nAccording to industry executives, shortly after the 2005 G2E, there was a major philosophical shift, where the major vendors--International Game Technology (IGT), WMS, Bally Technologies, and Aristocrat--came for the conclusion, alongside specialists, that rather than each looking to develop their own private versions of the technology, they'd put their heads together and devise some new technology standards. n'In 2005, there have been no requirements, and no protocols by which we could generate assistance software,' said Javier Saenz, the vice president of product management for community programs at IGT. 'We needed to develop standards, interfaces that labored, and some official technology.' nAround that time, then, a fresh standards human anatomy appeared, the Gaming Standards Association (GSA), and what resulted were methods that could have the ability the casino employees to instantly pipe in communications to players--promotional messages, notices of free buffets and the like--in pop-up windows about the screens, irrespective of which manufacturer's machines they were playing. Previously, it would not have been possible. nFor companies like IGT and WMS, this change in philosophy was nothing short of a significant retrenching, but one they felt they no choice but to look at. n'Pretty significantly, IGT had to.abandon all previous growth that leveraged old, amazing protocols,' Saenz said. 'It was an enormous undertaking.' nInstead, he said, the four companies have adopted what they call open networks, a new term for server-based gaming constructed around systems designed to give casino employees the form of new server-based technology they want, while also meeting the safety and communications goals of the GSA. nGetting the criteria in place was the initial step, needless to say, and based on Mark Lipparelli, a member of the Nevada Gaming Get a handle on Board--which adjusts casinos in that state--they were implemented in November of 2005, only months after that year's G2E. nThe greater issue, then, was just how long it'd take for the outcomes of that standardization to manifest in industrywide roll-outs of server-based gaming. n'The widespread adoption and implementation of the protected network technologies,' Lipparelli said, 'may well be more of an industry function.' Nothing unanticipated--at the time, at least--result of the philosophical change is that the industry's major companies attended around, for the first time, to the realization that their technology has to be interoperable, in at least some basic ways. nBanking on client loyaltynThese times, a large portion of successful casino operations is best determining how not only to get a player to bring their income onto your ground, but also how to get that individual to join your loyalty program and go back to among your attributes again and again. nFor companies like MGM/Mirage, as an example, that sort of customer acquisition and retention is essential, particularly in a city like Las Vegas, where in fact the giant currently owns ten main properties--including Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Luxor and others--and will soon open up City Center. Which makes it easy for its customers to play games and feel welcome and valued at each of its casinos is just in regards to the most significant point MGM/Mirage or some of its competitors can do. nAnd that is why, while an IGT machine still will not run games from Bally--at least not any time soon--the four manufacturers seem to have come around to the idea that their technology had to give the casino operators a whole lot more get a grip 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 customer names and information, aside from who made the device, so as to offer information that's personal to each user. nnA schematic of a server-based gaming console from WMS Gaming.n( Credit: WMS Gaming) nBut even while big companies like MGM/Mirage get into server-based gaming, the adoption of such devices is going to be slow. nAs of to-day, Bone explained, WMS has about 1,500 server-based models used all over the world. He imagines that casinos will quickly roll-out server-based gaming on the 'bank by bank' foundation, meaning one part of models at a time, instead of by replacing entire surfaces at once. nThat means, Bone said, the technology goes gain grip through the casino industry within the next 2-3 years. nIGT's Saenz agreed with that analysis. nAt the moment, he said, the organization has five server-based gaming subject trials, two in Nevada and one each in California, Missouri, and Michigan. nLots of computers, lots of rewiringnOf class, the future City-center opening is going to be the major developing party IGT's--and the industry's--server-based gaming technology is looking forward to. But while that start will mean that up-to 2,000 models seriously line simultaneously, Saenz said that there are functional reasons why the technology will be slow to spread, even now. nPart of the could be because of structure. To be able to move out server-based games, Saenz pointed out, casinos must have Ethernet networks deployed on their floors. That's something that several casinos have achieved so far, he explained, adding that people who do have a much faster path to the newest technology. n'Historically, there was an expectation that whenever server-based gaming appeared, (casinos) would magically sculpt their complete floors,' Saenz said, 'and instantly there would be server-based gaming. But that is maybe not practical.' nThat is why he needs to see roll-outs a hundred machines at a time throughout the business, although not much faster than that. If you loved this article and you also would like to get more info regarding kasino games generously visit the web-page. n'In a few years,' Saenz said, 'nearly all casinos will possess some server-based games, and (a few) will be 100 percent' rolled-out.