Will Robots Replace Casino Jobs Worldwide?

Bell on silver platter held by robot hand

AI and robots are transforming many different industries, with casino employees in particular raising concerns about the future of their jobs. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Massive change on the horizon

While the integration of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) into everyday life seemed like a distant reality just a few years ago, this is no longer the case. The launch of ChatGPT to the general public in late 2022 opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of these technologies.

300 million full-time jobs could be automated through AI

Workers in many industries are now expressing concern about the future of their jobs. There are fears that everything from writers to chefs to accountants to programmers could disappear from the market to some extent in the coming decades if things continue as they are. Goldman Sachs has predicted that 300 million full-time jobs could be automated by AI. Could casino jobs be among those being replaced by machines?

Automation is nothing new

Robots are already crucial for many industries. Auto factories rely heavily on them to assemble vehicles, while Amazon has more than 750,000 robots working in warehouses to manage inventory. Machines can now perform everyday tasks with high accuracy.

Often you only realize what’s on the horizon when you see these robots with your own eyes. At the recent CES 2024 convention in Las Vegas, many casino employees were trained, with some of the exhibits showing machines that can prepare, cook and deliver food.

Unions around the world are already aware of the potential dangers of new technologies. The Culinary Workers Union, which represents about 40,000 casino workers in Las Vegas, threatened strikes for much of last year as it fought for new five-year contracts.

Job protection related to the introduction of new technologies

One of the most intensely discussed topics during the negotiations was job protection related to the introduction of new technologies. The union ultimately secured assurances in the new contracts that workers will be trained in any new technology and that workers may be able to move to another position or receive additional severance pay if the new implementation results in job losses.

Changes to the customer experience

Some Las Vegas casinos are already using robots in various areas of their business. They can help reduce high labor costs and fill gaps in staffing shortages. Robots prepare and serve drinks at bars at The Venetian and Planet Hollywood, while a robot security guard patrols the parking lot at M Resort. Customers also no longer have to check into their rooms manually.

A 2019 Nevada Independent The article estimates that between 38% and 65% of jobs in Southern Nevada could be automated by 2035.

Guests could theoretically spend their entire stay in a casino without having to interact directly with staff. Guests can use the automatic ticketing service upon arrival, self-check in, order room service delivered by a robot, and have vending machines prepared at the bar. If they feel like gambling, they can play electronic table games or slot machines.

Increase in profitability

Casinos are always looking for ways to increase their profits. Replacing non-customer-facing roles like chefs and cleaners with machines could be a big money saver without compromising the guest experience.

The savings that could be achieved through automation could be significant.

Robots do not require health or pension benefits, can work longer hours, do not strike, and are not paid. MGM Resorts International employs approximately 75,000 people around the world and the company accumulated $478 million in payroll-related liabilities in 2022. The savings that could be achieved through automation could be significant.

A powerful robot vacuum would cost around $30,000 and a bartending machine would typically cost between $100,000 and $200,000. Although repairs and replacements may be necessary from time to time, casinos will weigh the trade-offs to determine what is most beneficial to their long-term viability.

Not entirely bleak

Although no one will be able to stop the continued advance of new technology and jobs will inevitably be lost, this does not spell complete doom for casino employees. There will always be a place for the human touch in the service industry. People like to chat with bartenders and waiters rather than sip their drinks in silence. They enjoy interacting with dealers and their fellow players while gambling.

Concerns remain that minors are bypassing robot bartending systems to purchase alcohol. Bots also have a hard time knowing when to interrupt someone after they’ve had too much to drink.

Many casino employees are not against even a certain level of automation as it would mean a lighter workload. However, you will want to receive adequate notice from employers about the implementation. A more efficient workplace, where robots take over certain unsavory or labor-intensive tasks, could even help increase workforce satisfaction.


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