GPI tunes Macau to REID future

Making waves in Macau with its RFID chips.

At the prestigious mandarin oriental Hotel in Macau, last month, Gaming Partners International (GPI) held a private RFID seminar for local operators interested in the large range of equipment and applications of the company’s 125khz RFID technology. “Our intention is to bring the operators up-to-date with the most recent evolutions of the RFID technology and introduce them the benefits it provides to table games operations,”  declared Christophe Leparoux, Manager International Sales and Marketing for GPI. Over 70 executives and managers from leading operators SJM, Venetian Sands, Galaxy and Wynn Macau visited the show during the course of the two seminars. The capacities and functionalities of the 125khz RFID technology were demonstrated on both aspects of casino  currency control and player tracking.

On display were various RFID readers such as the Table Top Authenticator, chip Tray Reader and Cage Reader. But the main attraction was a fully RFID- automated baccarat table complete with a RFID chip tray as well as readers at each betting spot that was demonstrated with a wide selection of chips, jetons and plaques all fitted with 125khz microchips. At the baccarat table, in addition to having the chips and plaques read and listed with the RFID  tray, all wagers placed on the betting spots were authenticated and accounted for. When a smart card with the punter’s details was placed at a betting spot, it attributed this spot to this specific player, enabling the accurate recording of his game. “All the chips on the nine position baccarat table are read automatically and continuously in less than two seconds with the use of GPI readers with multi-plexing and synchronization,” said Mr. Leparoux.

This event comes at a crucial time when more and more casino operators around the world are considering the application of RFID technology. “Speculations and projections about RFID abound nowadays, but operators want to see for themselves what is really working and operational in their own gaming environment, not RFID applications in general. Therefore, the alternative is not so much about a choice between two frequencies (13.56MHz or 125KHz), but about what benefits they bring to table games management,” added Mr. Leparoux. “We introduce our guests to a tested, proven and available technology. This cannot be understated. GPI has the only RFID gaming chip technology in use in the marketplace. Chips are mass-produced with high process yeield, we guarantee the continuous supply of this technology for the next 10 years and due to the low frequency and GPI’s accumulated experience, the readers are sold at very reasonable prices with no royalty and with the programming system totally open for the casinos ’ own systems developers. ”

American style kids club causing concern in Czech

The first children’s redemption-based amusement centre, has been opened in Prague amidst considerable controversy. The club, which has been descried by local press as ‘seeking to resemble a gaming hall for adults,’ though most of its custom is of preschool age accompanied by parents, allows players to buy counters for five crowns to be used in ‘gaming’ devices. Children use chips to play the machines, winning further chips that they can then redeem against prizes, from sweets, small dolls and cartoon figures to electronic toys. The top prize is a child’s Harley Davidson motorbike that costs 32,000 chips. “We are generous in giving numerous rewards. It they play in our club and are lucky, they will gain more toys than they could buy for the same sum in a toy shop,” said Matrin Vozka from the company running the centre. The Prague centre also offers the largest climbing frame in the Czech Republic as well as a wall for simulated mountain climbing, but the machines remain the most profitable attraction, with psychologists outraged at the prospect.

Hilton Hotels has signed a conditional agreement for the sale of its hotels and leisure division Hilton International, to Hilton Hotels Corporation for a cash consideration of approximately £3.3bn, which, when added to the proceeds of the recent sale of 16 UK Hilton   International Hotels, realizes a total of approximately £3.7bn for its hotels and related assets. Upon completion. It is planned that Hilton Group will be renamed Ladbrokes Ladbrokes. Sir Ian Robinson will continue as Chairman, supported by the existing Non-Executive Directors, other than Stephen Bollenbach who has resigned as a director. Christopher Bell will become the Chief Executive and John O’Reilly and Alan Ross will join the Board as Executive Directors with effect from completion.

At the end 2005, Holland Casino, the Dutch national casino operator, released figures to show that the group had recorded static growth over the last 12 months. Annual income amounted to approximately 680m euros, though a figure for the profit ratio has not been released. Profit goes to the Dutch state, the owner of the casino group. According to a spokesman the stagnating turnover has been blamed on economic recession. Dutch customers have been more cautious in their playing habits in 2005. And while visitor numbers increasingly by 73,000 to total of 6.4 million, the average spend fell to around 106 euros per person. Income also fell in the previous year, when there was also talk of shrinking income and lower expenditure per head. The fall in turnover has also been attributed to increased Internet play among Dutch residents, particularly with British companies such as party gaming and Empire Online. Worldwide the market for Internet gaming is valued at US $9.5bn, but to date such practices within The Netherlands have been made illegal by the government.

  Minister Jan-Hein Donner van Justitie, responsible for gaming, has resisted all foreign proposals to establish online gaming in The Netherlands. However,, Mr. Donner van Justitie recently suffered a defeat when a court in Breda judeged that a French casino company had been wrongfully refused a licence. Mr. Donner and Holland Casino are now believed to be entertaining a plan to begin to develop its own national site, to be launched in 2007, which will only be accessible to Dutch residents. In January, the House of Commons is expected to discuss the proposals.