- According to experts, the coronavirus pandemic has become a catalyst for change as it has forced companies to consider automating all points of human interactions.
- Casino operators have been trying to limit human-human interactions by accelerating their adoption of automated technologies.
- Casinos will welcome automated and self-service technology such as self-check-in kiosks if the pandemic continues.
- However, the widespread adoption of automated technology won’t affect jobs terribly since unions have signed agreements with companies to protect workers.
COVID-19 has become a catalyst for change because it has forced companies to consider automation for all points of human interaction, experts say. If the pandemic will continue, then casinos will welcome automated and self-service technology such as self-check-in kiosks, ordering tablets, and robotic bartenders.
Operators of hotel-casinos in Las Vegas have tried to reduce human-human interactions, a risk factor during this age, by accelerating their adoption of automated technologies.
Jeremy Aguero, an Applied Analysis economist, said that the pandemic has forced “businesses that need to adapt to look at” all points of human interaction and ask whether these points can be automated.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that while automation can strengthen the efforts of businesses to keep visitors and employees safe, industry watchers feel it will result in major shake-ups in the workforce of Southern Nevada.
At Bellagio, visitors can use mobile check-in instead of interacting face to face with front-desk workers. Callie Driehorst, MGM’s spokeswoman, said that recent months have seen the company accelerate the roll-out of touch-free technology such as digital keys and mobile check-in. This has enhanced guest experience and allowed for social distancing.
Driehorst also said that the company responded to the health crisis by launching restaurant queues, digital menus, and other initiatives that are helping them to “create safer environments” for workers and guests.
A Caesars Entertainment Corp. spokesman said the company, in response to pandemic-related health and safety concerns, has replaced restaurant menus with menus that diners can see on their phones using a QR code. He said the company may continue using the technology “when conditions return to normal.”
Deanna Pettit-Irestone, Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s spokeswoman, said that from the time the pandemic started, the company has introduced many new digital technologies. They include check-in kiosks, tap-and-pay capabilities, and digital menus, among others. Pettit-Irestone also said the company will add mobile pre-check-in in the coming weeks.
Station Casinos has deployed electronic table games at six properties during the pandemic, limiting interactions between dealers and punters who want to play roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and craps.
While the games still use dealers and cards, gamblers use their betting terminal screen instead of chips to place wagers. According to Station Casinos’ website, the company made the changes while considering guests’ “safety and entertainment.”
The increased adoption of technologies by resorts won’t affect jobs badly on the Las Vegas Strip. Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 have signed agreements with a few casinos such as MGM and Caesars to retain workers despite the adoption of automated technologies.
Bethany Khan, the union spokeswoman, said that hospitality jobs have always changed and evolved. She added that the introduction of technology in the industry to eliminate jobs isn’t new.