Automation Benefits Vegas CasinosHarry Coulter | 12 Sep 2018
Automation and the inevitable rise of the machines is what will ensure that the house keeps on winning. This is the opinion of David Schwartz, leading gaming expert and researcher at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
Schwartz is of the opinion that the increased presence of automated technology, or in essence, robots, is what allowing casinos to keep more money in their own pockets, as a result of fewer human employees. Schwartz also estimates that in the year 1990, gaming employees working in the Las Vegas Strip represented 32% of all casino employees. Today, the percentage is down to 23%.
No Down-Side To Automation
All in all, casinos are benefitting all the way. Staff are working much harder on the floors, as a direct result of there being fewer employees. The effect that this has had on the industry has been a positive one. It is estimated that the annual production of a gaming employee employed on the Strip has increase by 158 per cent. The cost of employment on the other hand, has only increased by 118 per cent.
The 40-point gap really is a win-win situation for any house. This was achieved by investing directly in technology aimed specifically at reducing the number of employees needed to perform any given task or function.
Employees Voice Unhappiness
As can be expected, the good news did not sit quite as well with the work force as what it did with the casinos. Employees took to the streets during the summer, hoping to effectively voice their concerns over the effect that full automation has on employment rates.
In fact, employees are taking the automation issue to heart to such an extent, that it represented a major aspect up for discussion during the recent contract negotiations between the Las Vegas workers’ union, the Culinary Union, and several casino groups operating in Las Vegas.
The Union represents 50,000 hospitality workers in Las Vegas, and everything from bartenders to game table dealers to kitchen staff. Workers are understandably concerned at the impact that increased automation will have on their jobs and capacity to continue to work and earn an income.
However, from a business point of view it stands to good reason that casino’s will keep driving the automation transformation ever forward, especially since the 5.8% drop in revenue that was reported for the Strip during July.