OPTX to showcase new features at G2E

October 4, 2023 9:04 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
October 4, 2023 9:04 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States

OPTX will showcase its casino intelligence platform and new artificial intelligence features at the Global Gaming Expo next week in Las Vegas.

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Steve Bright, vice president of data science, said OPTX is demonstrating its Casino GPT feature, a question-and-answer service that allows users to chat with their data and interact with OPTX to get reports, widgets, and AI results by typing out questions.

Questions might be, What were their top five machines last week or in the past 90 days? Who were the top five players by theoretical and actual win yesterday? How did the last campaign perform? And who were the most productive hosts this quarter? The software will feed the information to a Large Language Model (LLM).

With a lot of products, it may be common for users to get accustomed to looking at the same two or three features or reports, Bright said. There are a lot of other interesting features for them to consider and this will be the “glue” for delivering AI results.

“The technology that allows this to be a useful product really just came into being in the last several months,” Bright said. “What’s great about this is that a lot of the fundamental AI models we’re building don’t really change at all. We still have our models generate a predictive future value for every player. We’re still predicting a churn risk for every player. We’re still identifying which players are inclining, declining, or overdue for a visit. All of our boilerplate AI features remain. We’re really leveraging this new chat technology to let the user interact with you in a much more simplified way.”

Bright said they view AI as just another tool that can help reduce or in some cases eliminate the boring and tedious work that can take up a lot of the time of a casino staff.

“We’re freeing them up to engage with their guests and ensure their visitors are getting the best experience. We want to give operators the space to think creatively about new promotions or new features to add to the casino. For now, the computer isn’t good at one-on-one human-to-human personal connections and relationship building. Computers can empower individuals to do that, but they do so by freeing up the casino employee from having to do tedious tasks that are mostly cutting, copying and pasting data.”

Also at G2E, Bright said OPTX will show the progress it has made on other AI features. For one, slot AI recommendations are in production and OPTX is rolling that out to properties and getting feedback.

“We’ll push a set of slot-floor recommendations to every client on a weekly basis. An important enhancement for predictive modeling is to be able to create model values for multiple changes,” Bright said. “When a new theme is added to a gaming floor, that will typically take away some game play from existing machines, rather than creating new incremental play. What we’re finding is those additions can generate less incremental game play and eventually you reach a diminishing return. Operators know this instinctively. When a popular new game comes out, they’re faced with whether they need, one, two, four, or a hundred. That’s an important decision to make, because those capital expense cycles come through once a year. You can always replace an underperforming game, but doing so requires money and opportunity costs of not having it optimize floor content.”

Operators are concerned about the problems, but don’t have good tools to address them, Bright said. A lot of the slot directors’ decisions are made largely by gut feel.

By applying rigorously developed and tested mathematical models, Bright said OPTX can give a complete picture for a what-if scenario if an operator puts in place multiple instances of a new popular game.

OPTX is also looking to give operators “a much more complete” prescriptive picture on slot-floor analysis.

“We can tell them that this new game, which overall is performing three times the house average at other sites and the manufacturer has told you to expect great things from it, we can give them a numerical prediction backed up by data and track this recommendation in progress,” Bright said. “After the changes are implemented, we provide the operator with daily updates as to how that change has worked out for them.”

OPTX has also made significant enhancements to its Top Contacts program that identifies the top players hosts should contact today, Bright said. Casino hosts typically have a book of several hundred players and are responsible for their experience, and it’s easy for players to drop off the host’s radar of the host.

“These players still have a lot of potential value, might not have visited in some time, or their activity may have trailed off so slowly that it might not be immediately noticed,” Bright said. “Hosts and player-development executives have a gut sense of a trend and future behavior, but what we’re doing is more specific predictive quantities around the player and providing a way to rank the order of importance of each contact on each day.”

That lets hosts chip away at a backlog of hundreds of players that they need to contact, but can’t do so all at once. OPTX also wants to build the habit of having a set amount of contacts on a daily basis.

In addition to all this information about a player’s game-play history, Bright said they’re also building a set of data for their contact history.

“As with all of our features, we want to track the activities of these contacted players before and after. Where this is useful as an AI developer is that we’re now gathering training data and building the knowledge to understand which players are more likely to have individualized personal contact. That’s powerful. A host may have a book of several hundred players and a gut sense of who should be contacted in what order. We’re building a model backed up with experimental data.”

The data might show that a contact will increase the chances of a player showing up at a 10% higher rate during the week and how much they’re worth, Bright said. “We can say this phone call is worth $200, this one’s worth $150, and this other one is $120. We’re looking to give casino hosts as specific as possible guidance on how to contact these individuals.”

Finally, Bright said they’re looking to roll out a product called Slot Prophet. OPTX works with more than 50 properties and the data on their floor performance is not only machine-level, but also session player data – demographic information and player preference at a granular level. It gives a more complete picture.

“This will allow us to give an operator guidance on how a new theme is likely to perform, specifically at their property,” Bright said. “Because we know for each one of our clients what their player base is like and how other machines perform for clients, we can expect that this new theme, while it does 1.3 times the house average nationwide, will do 60% above the house average.”

Because they’re combining multiple change logic that OPTX developed, Bright said they can tell properties what they think will happen with one instance of the new theme.
“We can tell them with granular information what a new bank should look like, what the theme mix will be for a new bank, and how many of each game should they have and what they think the payback period will be.

“We’re looking to give them the most accurate and complete mathematical picture that we can, along with details of analysis to keep score on how our predictions are doing, so we can always be improving our model.”

Bright said for operators to generate campaigns, they need to take several steps, starting with a budget and dividing player bases into segments and designing an offer amount to each segment.

“What we’ve done is add a couple of enhancements. We can tell operators how any given player is likely to spend in a future period. That’s been a product for some time, but now an operator can build campaigns around future data.”

Dividing people into segments, however, isn’t the best way to design a campaign, Bright said. What they should be doing is treating players as five or six segments, but 100,000 individuals.

“Every individual in your player database will behave slightly differently than every other one and generally do so in a way that predicting any individual is incredibly difficult, but making 100,000 predictions will average out to your benefit,” Bright said. “Creating these optimized offers for every individual is onerous and prohibitive from a time and expense standpoint, but this is what AI excels at. What would take a person weeks and weeks to do, an AI model and computer script can do in a few seconds. This notion of giving a customized optimized offer for every individual isn’t out of reach and not prohibitive to do for an AI model and the direction we think it’s going to be. We think that’s the future of casino marketing.”

OPTX will show its products and services at booth No. 1824.