Robocop. Robo-vacuums. Why not robo-croupiers?
▶ Robot dealers at casinos could shave labor costs ▶ Can nonhuman dealers “tap into the gamblers’ psychology”?
The croupier has an hourglass figure, an unflappable manner, and a friendly face. Yet it’s uncertain whether Min, a would-be dealer, can win over the hearts and minds of finicky gamblers. That’s because Min is a robot introduced at a casino trade show in Macau in November. Min’s creator, Paradise Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of gaming machines, says the device could help the big gambling palaces cut payrolls and even open new markets.
Paradise Entertainment Chairman Jay Chun says scanners located in card shoes—the boxes where shuffled cards are stored before dealing— enable his robots to recognize the hands that have been dealt. The bots are also more efficient at dealing cards, typically distributing 30 percent more than a human can in any given period, says Chun, who declined to say how much they will cost. More advanced models will incorporate face-recognition capabilities so customers, especially high rollers, get more personalized service, such as being greeted by name or even spoken to in their native tongue.
One potential market for the devices is the U. S., where casinos’ labor costs are proportionally higher than at establishments in Asia. Chun says Paradise Entertainment is talking to possible overseas buyers but didn’t identify them.
Electronic table games without dealers are a growing segment of the North American gaming industry, says