The Rise of Robotic Baccarat Dealers in the Casino Industry
Amid the hype surrounding AI and its many applications for online baccarat, some players are still adjusting to the possibility of their cards being dealt by a robot.
It was back in 2015 that the gaming manufacturer LT Game announced that its automated robotic table games dealer was finally ready after many years of development. At the time, the company, а subsidiary of Paradise Gaming, which is publicly traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, announced that it would soon be shipping the product overseas.
Paradise Gaming claims that the robot baccarat dealers are able to “steadily and accurately deliver cards”, and it is able to resolve issues relating to lack of human resources and staff fatigue.
Robot Developed to Solve Macau Staffing Issues
The laws in Macau mean that only those who are a resident of the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) are able to work as table game dealer, and this means that there is a limited supply of personnel.
In Q2 of 2019, the Macau Statistics and Census Bureau reported 25,213 table game dealers in Macau casinos, each earning an average monthly salary of MOP20,850, which was considerably above the MOP16,000 Macau average at the time.
While this was before the pandemic, the casino industry in Macau is currently undergoing a strong recovery. As such, it makes sense that casinos will be looking for ways to cut costs, and replacing dealers with robots would be one way of doing so.
One of the engineers behind the robot, Ross Zhang, explained to the Macau News Agency, “Local casinos lack manpower, so we invented this machine in which we keep the fun of the game while avoiding the lack of manpower with this robot.”
A prototype of the robot was first revealed by LT Game back at the 2015 Macau Gaming Show. The version currently on the market is named ADV2 LT Intelligent, and the description on the LT Game website states:
“ADV2 is a cutting-edge technology product that is fully automatic by computer to execute the Baccarat dealing cards. Working repeatedly and 24/7 non-stop service. Cutting-edge with high technology series brings the atmosphere of happiness and relax to the player to enjoy their game. Resolve the lack of human resources and staff’s fatigue issue. This series of product can improve the accuracy of card dealing work and with intelligent card shoe can reduce of human error.”
Are People Ready for Robot Dealers?
When LT Game first displayed the robot dealer in 2015, an article in Bloomberg described it as “creepy” and the majority of people asked said that they would rather play with a human dealer.
However, since then a lot has changed, and people have become far more accustomed to robots and AI. For instance, robots are used behind the bar at some casinos to help speed up service, and there are even robots that deliver drinks to players at a few venues.
On the other hand, IGT has released research that shows that human dealers are hugely important as the human component adds to the thrill of a game. Players get more pleasure from feeling they have outsmarted an actual person rather than a machine.
Furthermore, robot dealers are not yet capable of true human-like interaction. While AI has come a long way, giving the robots some ability to “converse”, it is still lacking that human element that can make talking with a dealer so enjoyable.
There is some speculation that a middle ground will be found. For instance, real dealers will be present during peak hours, and robot baccarat dealers will then take over when things are slower. However, ultimately, it seems that there is some way to go before humans will be comfortable playing with a robot dealer, and the days of players opting for a robot over a person are a long way off.