Robot casino dealers could produce a jackpot for Hong Kong gaming company

Human casino dealers could become a thing of the past if robots like ‘Min’ take over the dealing duties at the worlds gambling hotspots.

The life-like lady is a prototype of a humanoid electronic croupier, created by Hong Kong based gaming machine manufacturer Paradise Entertainment.

The company’s robot casino dealers made their debut at a gaming show in Macau late last year, and will now be initially introduced in the US where labor costs in casinos are proportionally higher than in Asia.

Paradise Entertainment chairman Jay Chun said the gaming company was talking to potential overseas buyers for the first dealers of their kind.

“We are the first gambling equipment manufacturer in the world that produces human-like robotic dealers,” he said.

Cheaper, more efficient and multi-lingual

Mr Chun said that human-like robotic dealers could cut labor costs and open up new markets for casino operators, and that while their function is currently limited to dealing cards, he said planned enhancements could have the robotic dealers recognising customer’s faces and speaking to them in multiple languages.

Mr Chun said the robot dealers are more efficient at dealing cards as they typically distribute 30% more than a human in any given period.

The Paradise Entertainment chairman said the gaming company was working on making its robot dealers more lifelike, which included scanners located in card shoes (casino card holder) which enable the machines to recognize the cards that have been dealt, while more advanced models will incorporate face-recognition capabilities so customers such as high rollers get a more personalized service.

As well as the potential advantages in security and hospitality and the cutting of labor costs, the robotic dealers may also be a good solution in gambling jurisdictions where real dealers are banned, according to associate professor at the gaming teaching and research centre of the Macao Polytechnic Institute, Mr Carlos Siu.

But Mr Siu said that the robotic dealers were less likely to appeal to Asian customers which included those of the world’s largest gambling hub, Macau.

“Asian customers are more inclined to gamble in a noisy and crowded environment, preferring to banter with dealers and fellow gamblers than sit in front of a machine that provides little or no engagement,” he said.

“Gamblers often slam the table and shout loudly to pump up the mood,  I’m not sure if robotic dealers can tap into the gamblers’ psychology correctly and offer an appropriate response,

“On top of that, a slowdown in Macau’s gaming industry may result in an oversupply of croupiers in the territory.”

Human-robotics leader Hanson Robotics shapes to be a potential rival for Paradise Entertainment in the future robotic dealer market, having sold a rival product to a Macau casino operator, which is interactive and able to make facial expressions.

The first published case of a robot dealer was when Japanese police found evidence of one last year when they raided an illegal casino in Tokyo.

But unlike the new fully formed robotic dealers made by Paradise Entertainment, the Taiwan-made robot found at the Tokyo casino was actually just a robotic arm.