A slender brunette with an hourglass figure and a friendly face will soon deal your cards. But she can’t talk. At least, not yet.
Her name is “Min,” and she’s a human-like robot whose creators said could revolutionize card dealing in casinos all over the world, Bloomberg News reported.
Hong Kong-based gaming machine manufacturer Paradise Entertainment Ltd., the brain behind Min, believes the prototype will pave the way to new markets for casino operators, while at the same time, lower labor costs.
The robot can only deal cards at the moment, but Paradise Chairman Jay Chun told the news outlet they are planning to improve Min so that she can recognize customers’ faces and even speak to them in different languages soon.
Min, who was introduced in Macau last month, and her clones will make their debuts first in the United States, where labor costs in casinos are higher compared to Asia and where some states also prohibit humans—but not machines—from working as dealers.
Paradise already has potential overseas buyers, but the company wouldn’t say how much Min and her clones cost. Chun was quoted by the news outlet saying: “We are the first gambling equipment manufacturer in the world that produces the human-like robotic dealer.”
Experts believe having electronic table games—and robot dealers soon—is an overall good move for the North American gaming industry.
Union gaming Group LLC analyst Christopher Jones told Bloomberg robots is still relatively novel in the United States, but it will soon be viewed similarly to virtual dealers by regulators. In addition, robotic tables will be a welcome sight to newbie customers who don’t want others to know if they make a mistake.
Carlos Siu, an associate professor at the Macao Polytechnic Institute, noted that robots is the answer to gambling jurisdictions in the United States that ban real, human dealers.
Asia, however, is a different proposition. Siu told the news outlet Asian customers like to gamble in a noisy environment where they can banter with dealers and other gamblers rather than sit in front of a machine that gives very little to nonexistent engagement.
“Gamblers often slam the table and shout loudly to pump up the mood,” Siu said, according to Bloomberg. “I’m not sure if robotic dealers can tap into the gamblers’ psychology correctly and give an appropriate response.”
Last year, police in Japan raided an illegal casino in Tokyo where they found a robot dealer. This was the first published case of a robot used in gambling. However, the Taiwan-made robot was actually a robotic arm—not a full-figured woman like Min—that dealt cards to customers who wagered using touch-panel monitors. The robot was also a selling point for the street touts who drummed up business for the casino.