Technology Bites Man Again

If entrepreneurs didn’t know by now that Technology was taking over the business world, now it’s encroaching on the gambling casinos. We can’t even escape it on our trips to Las Vegas.

RADIO-FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION is headed for Vegas. Casino chips embedded with RFID tags and are being tested at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and will be displayed this month at the new $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino.

The chips will each be given a unique player code to track behavior and possibly get more revenue out of high rollers. It’s estimated that this could be a $100 million business by the year 2010.

There are two Vegas based companies that own the casino-RFID game: Progressive Gaming International and Shuffle Master.

Progressive’s TableLink, which reads RFID chips using table-embedded antennas and records the wagers on a dealer’s PC, is the system of choice at the two casinos. Progressive and Shuffle Master have also developed optical card shoes, which holds decks and scan cards as they’re dealt. Shuffle Master’s Intelligent Shoe is already getting rave reviews in Australia and Asia.

The cost of outfitting a table with the chips and antennas costs a casino about $8,000, but analysts predict that Progressive will score bigger bucks from the $6 per day per table it charges for its system.

One RFID chip costs a casino 40 cents more than a standard chip, but that margin will drop to about 10 cents in the coming months.

This is certainly a “technology leap” from the “eye in the sky” that we all knew about in the casinos, but I don’t think that even George Orwell would have thought of these chips.

Those of us who used the games in Vegas casinos to escape our computers and software programs, seem destined to be followed by technology no matter where we go.

Somehow Radio-Frequency Identification in poker/gaming chips just doesn’t seem to be what a good poker player expects. Oh well, technology marches on…and on….and on.

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