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Shuffle Master Bets On RFID Poker Chips

Casinos have sought in vain to accurately track table game bets and rate a player's wagering tendencies - until now. Shuffle Master has acquired two RFID patents that will allow them to track every chip on the table. RFID tags will actually be manufactured into each chip; table scanners will be able to read denomination and position on the table (read more about RFID chips). The chips should be available sometime this year.

"RFID technology allows the casino to calculate a player's average bet size, their won-loss percentage and their quality of play," Shuffle Master CEO Mark Yoseloff said. "But RFID is just a small portion in the broader issue of data gathering in a table game environment."


(From Shuffle Master acquires patents)

Shuffle Master plans to use RFID-implanted chips with optical card readers embedded into the company's automated shuffling products; casinos will get better game security against chip counterfeiting and card counting. It will also improve the ability of casino managers to determine average wagers and win/loss percentage for any given individual player - not just the high-rollers, who have been tracked by hand for years.

Yoseloff isn't concerned about being perceived as Big Brother. "I think it's more intrusive to know what brand of toothpaste or what brand of intimate product a consumer is using than collecting wagering data," he said. "This technology gives the casino an accurate read on a customer so they can reward them properly."

Don't be too sure about poker players and surveillance. Science fiction readers may recall the bugged money from Bruce Sterling's 1998 novel Distraction. In the novel, American cash was known to be bugged; no one would play with it or accept it for ordinary use. You might also be interested in taking a look at the Polybot-based gambling robot; if you are interested in placing a wager for your grandchildren to collect, try the Long Bets Foundation web site. From Shuffle Master acquires RFID patents to track table play.

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