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Casinos in the Sky – Cloud Journey

Casinos in the Sky – Cloud Journey
September 22, 2021

The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue report published in August 2021 states that the nationwide commercial gaming revenue in the US from casino games, sports betting, and iGaming exceeded $13.6 billion in the second quarter of 2021, surpassing the previous quarter from Q3 2019 by 22.5 percent, also grew nearly 500 percent compared to the COVID-19-impacted Q2 2020.  

While the recovery of land-based slots and tables bolstered the second quarter’s record performance, iGaming continues to set new records, reaching $901 million during this quarter, up 14.9 percent from the first quarter. With the hospitality segments expected to catch up, let us look at the imperatives, benefits, and trends for casinos in moving some of their platforms and systems to the cloud amid the new normal.  

Commercial land casinos  

Brick-and-mortar casinos have always been trying to cater to the ever-increasing demands for guest experiences and IT efficiencies. There is an ongoing restructuring of IT infrastructure to enable more flexible and efficient operations.  

Cloud imperatives and benefits 

  • Seamless guest experiences pre-trip, in-trip, and post-trip, catering to interests both in gaming and non-gaming segments 
  • Capturing real-time data, synchronizing across systems, and exceeding targeted guest expectations 
  • Analysis and creation of actionable patron profiles to make informed next best business decisions
  • Integration of legacy property management systems with Food & Beverage (F&B) and Point of Sale (POS) systems to create seamless transactions.
  • Interconnection of multiple systems in a cloud ecosystem across multiple sites from various geographies with virtual resources, thereby granting access to data from any location 
  • Bring in multi-channel and guest services directly to the patrons as self-service 
  • Efficiency in upgrading and configurations of various cloud platforms and offer greater security than on-premises infrastructure 
  • Enablement in building data lakes and MDM, and with specific strategies, casinos meet the stringent regulations and consumer privacy laws 

The Cloud journey and connected trends 

Data Platforms: Casinos ae increasingly leveraging cloud ecosystem providers for their data platforms with the proprietary toolset for ingest, distribution, and MDM being the deciding factor. 

Core Casino Systems: Traditional systems like CMS, player management, and floor management, etc., are third party service provider products which are not cloud-ready, and hence are largely on premises.  On the other hand, gaming service providers continue to modernize their platforms. 

Back Office and Hospitality: Major Commercial off-the-shelf products from Infor, Oracle, Agilysys, Workday, and many others dominate the landscape with increasing adoption of cloud-based SaaS solutions. 

Existing Investments:  A majority of the casino operators are planning their cloud roadmap as per their existing investments across the technology stack.

Online casinos and iGaming

iGaming is becoming increasingly modernized in the current landscape. Games that leverage multiple devices and enhanced connectivity are becoming very popular across public cloud and hybrid cloud platforms. As we see many land casinos have joined hands with online & sports betting platform players or they have created their own sport betting consortiums and hence cloud adoptions are gaining huge acceleration.  

Cloud imperatives and benefits 

  • More mobility and freedom to online casinos working through geographic boundaries and regulations 
  • Ability for online casinos to deliver in-play betting on a game that is in progress 
  • Use of edge analytics and tools to give players real-time, customized options and analyze the actions for business outcomes 
  • Ability to scale environments– storage and compute– during big sporting events, when online gambling activity spikes 
  • Immersive multimedia experiences and in-game advertisements 
  • Inbuilt redundancy of cloud platforms to reduce data loss with backup data, making it accessible, and secured 

The Cloud journey and connected trends 

While the iGaming providers are expanding to new states, countries, and regions, they also face the regulatory requirements that necessitates them to host player data and applications within their premises or within the same jurisdictions.

A cloud service provider’s AWS Outposts or Google Cloud Anthos can deliver virtual on-premises, or hybrid cloud strategies, complying with the complex iGaming industry regulations.  

Cloud solutions also meet various data residency requirements around the world with the infrastructure of the cloud service provider spanning multiple time zones in latency-sensitive, interactive live sports betting applications. The US betting market is creating customized strategies based on restriction on data flows, which varies by state.  

Be it a public cloud or hybrid cloud deployment, certain key metrics form the fundamentals for building a successful cloud infrastructure for iGaming deployments are: 

  • Shared resources 
  • Cost metrics in managing the life cycle of games 
  • Performance 
  • Multi-region game deployment, to ensure the shortest latency 

A skyward journey for casinos 

In conclusion, implementing a better cloud solution for gambling and casinos predominantly lies in creating a strategy that suits the unique needs of allowing businesses to focus on both the patrons and regulatory needs with the best possible experience and cloud platforms.  

Implementing cloud solutions for the Gambling and Casino businesses involves strategizing and focusing on both - the patrons and the regulatory.

If we bet on the cloud, then the sky is the limit for casino gaming! 

References: 

AGA Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker - American Gaming Association 

AWS iGaming Solution (awsstatic.com) 

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