There’s nothing like a good cruise! Sure the food and entertainment are great, but the casino is where I have the most fun on the ship. There’s nothing like winning $5 on a $1 bet. Or that time I won $500 on $100. I could go on and on about my big wins and big losses, but that’s not what this week’s blog is all about.
Today I’m taking on BIG data– by analyzing some of the industries that use it and how they can better use it. When I looked for examples of big data use I ran across an article about casinos and I thought–JACKPOT– I know what I’m going to write about.. so here I go.
While my love for casinos started on cruise ships, it hasn’t stopped there. While I don’t go out looking for places to play slots, if I have an opportunity I take advantage of it. For anyone who hasn’t been in a casino before it can be a little overwhelming. There are machines everywhere– rows upon rows. I always go in and look for my favorite games and never put much thought into how the floor was setup, until now. There’s actually a method to the layout madness. Casinos use big data to help determine what machines should be where. If a machine is a hot machine, it’s getting a key spot on the casino floor. After all, you want to make sure the hottest machines are the easiest to find.
Big data is also being used to get us to spend big. According to Yahoo Finance, casino resorts are tracking the spending habits of their customers while they stay at their hotels. Yahoo says that information is used to come up with incentives that keep the big spenders spending! That kind of tracking is not just limited to the casino resorts, I’ve also seen it in on the cruise ship.
When you play slots on most ships you insert your sign and sail card into your machine. Those cards are used to collect data on your spending through a points system. On a Carnival ship for instance, there are incentives tied to those points. The more you spend, the more you get. For example 1,500 points — which equals $1,500 gets you free drinks in the casino through the end of your cruise. For someone who’s a drinker what could be a better incentive, right? I’ve also personally noticed that my spending in the casino has been tracked to offer me special rates to go on casino specific cruises.
Now, while I’ve expressed my love for a good slot machine– gambling isn’t always all fun and games. According to addictions.com there are at least 750,000 people dealing with some sort of gambling addiction. To be clear we’re not just talking about casinos– however, they are definitely getting richer off of big data.
While profits are great, there are people fighting addictions who need help and just maybe big data can give them that. As I mentioned before, some casinos offer cards that will help track your spending on slot machines etc– it’s optional but maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe we should require our gamblers to tell us about themselves. Why? Maybe just like a bartender cuts off the obviously drunk person at a bar– we cut off the person that can’t afford to play any more. If your profile tells me you’re a single parent of 4– who makes $10 an hour but every Friday you’re throwing hundreds of dollars in a slot machine– that’s setting off red flags. Or maybe every few pulls of the lever the machine will throw you a bone and you might actually walk away making more than you spend.
Of course this is a pretty far fetched idea, but if we’re looking at what we can do with big data why not think big and out of the box.
Gambling is a game of chance—but big data could be used to give someone a chance at a life they never thought was possible.