Will Robots Replace Casino Croupiers?

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Robots are literally changing the world – often for the better. It seems like there is nothing they can’t do these days. From exploring Mars to handling production lines – and even taking over the household chores we all wish we didn’t have to do, there is undoubtedly a place for them. 

The casino industry is often on the frontline of technological advancements and quick to be as hi-tech and innovative as possible. While standard today, world-class casino gaming sites were early to offer mobile responsive games and authentic casino experiences via live dealer games. And now we’re tapping our feet into VR technology, with casinos and game developers exploring how this could further enhance the player’s enjoyment of gambling. 

But this is just the start. Innovations in robotics are now prompting owners of brick-and-mortar casinos to think on the possibility of actual robot croupiers. This shift could redefine the casino experience as we know it. 

Let’s take a closer look to see if there is actually any potential for these robotic croupiers – and whether they could be the future of casino gambling.

The Job of a Croupier

The distinction between a croupier and a dealer, though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, is important to know for this debate. A dealer manages card games and engages with players at a gaming table. 

Meanwhile, a croupier generally oversees games that involve wheels or dice – such as roulette or craps. Their job usually includes spinning roulette and money wheels, tossing dice, announcing the winners, verifying bets, gathering the losing wagers, dishing out the winnings, selling chips, and helping players to find their seats.

The Evolution of Robot Croupiers

Humans are real and fallible… and can make mistakes. However, imagine a croupier or dealer that can stay alert for 24 hours, never messes up, never gets annoyed or irritated and is unfailingly courteous to customers. 

Imagine a croupier who can easily and patiently guide novices through casino games and can even detect cheating. Let’s face it, this is an impossibility for a human – whereas a robot croupier or dealer could very easily fulfil all of these roles – and they won’t take time off sick, need a holiday or even ask for a wage packet!

This is where the idea of robotic croupiers in the casino industry comes into it – typified by prototypes like Min—a casino dealer robot that was introduced by Hong Kong's Paradise Entertainment in December 2015. However, although perfectly capable of dealing cards, Min was limited in its other functionalities and can still only be found in a few select casinos in Macau and the U.S.

Paradise Entertainment may be pushing the idea of these human-like robotic dealers, but there was some scepticism regarding whether certain casinos were prepared for Min. While some players like quiet gaming, others like the idea and experience of interacting with the dealer – which was an aspect that Min lacked.

Along came more technological advancements – and another robotic croupier was unveiled in 2017 at Slush. This was a modification of the open-source InMoov robot by Futurice's Spice Program.

Minja Axelsson, a co-creator of the project, confirmed that this robot could seamlessly interact with a digital blackjack table. However, unfortunately, communication with players was limited to just a pre-recorded voice at certain times during a game. Clearly, there were still limitations, and this was seen as just a step towards creating a more sociable robot.

LT Game, a Paradise Gaming subsidiary, went on to unveil a new, advanced robot croupier in November 2019 at the Macau Gaming Show. Boasting AI, along with a high-definition screen and atmospheric music, this robot could deal cards and even entertain with music. However, there was still a lack of social capabilities, which prevented it from being a feasible replacement.

Technology's ongoing development means that the advancement of robots is something that cannot be avoided. Eventually, robotic croupiers could potentially offer a solution to the ever-growing financial pressures faced by the casino industry.

Will Real Human Croupiers Be Replaced by Robots?

As advanced technologies expand across all different industries, there have been many concerns arising about AI eventually replacing humans, including croupiers and other casino roles. However, as of now, humans have skills, traits, and the ability to properly interact with others that just cannot be replicated by AI. 

Even the best robotic croupier won’t be able to greet a player with the genuine warmth and enthusiasm of a human; neither will it be able to take part in multi-faceted, humorous conversations as we can. 

However, as the robotics technology has continuously been getting better and there seems to be no slowing down of the AI era (quite the opposite), it is most likely just a matter of time before real croupiers are replaced by robots. It might still take years, but once the technology gets to a point where the robot and human can’t be easily distinguished, casinos will certainly make the switch.

But that’s just our belief. Others would argue that idea of robots might seem good, but that the enthusiasm will eventually wear off and never entirely replace human croupiers. Instead, they argue that the future will likely involve a combination of robots and humans that work together to bring the player the best of both worlds. 

Mattias Fröbrant is a passionate iGaming journalist renowned for his comprehensive reviews of over 300 gambling sites in India. With a remarkable 17-year gambling experience and a background working for industry giants like Betsson Group, Mattias has earned recognition as a leading expert in the Indian online gambling field.

At GamblingBaba, Mattias’s commitment to providing accurate and easily digestible information shines through meticulously researched reviews, guides, and news articles. His strong belief in honesty and transparency ensures that readers receive the most reliable insights on the Indian gambling landscape.

To get in touch with Mattias, connect via Linkedin.

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