Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, one of the gaming industry’s premier market research and consulting firms, is betting on the benefits of artificial intelligence.
Last week, Eilers & Krejcik announced that it has closed on a strategic investment in Gaming Analytics, a leading firm offering software solutions that use AI to help casinos make strategic improvements on their floors.
Gaming Analytics boasts a cognitive computing platform that is the first-ever product to bring search-driven analytics to gaming, in a simple format that allows users to enter business questions and get contextual answers.
While one of the most famous applications of AI is as a virtual opponent to chess masters in competitive contests, it has been used in the casino industry not only as a potential addition to slot games, but as a marketing tool. AI has the ability to automate processes, make better decisions about customer preferences, and find efficiencies that are not discoverable by human observation.
Casino applications of AI include slot floor optimization, AI-driven segmentation of slot machines and player databases, and more recently, sportsbook automation and strategy optimization. In casinos, AI facilitates machine learning techniques, in one example, to identify individuals who have used self-exclusion tools, based on analysis of gaming behaviors.
For marketing, AI can enable casinos to analyze patron behavior to identify preferences and gambling trends that can’t be gleaned simply from the information entered into player loyalty club databases. The technology can analyze complex data to recognize hidden patterns in player behavior, boiling them down into proactive recommendations that can improve the bottom line on the slot floor.
According to Eilers & Krejcik principal Todd Eilers, in deciding to invest in Gaming Analytics, his firm looked not only to utilize AI in its renowned game performance analysis, but out of respect for the software company itself. “We as a firm were looking for a couple of things,” Eilers told GGB News. “No. 1, we were looking at the AI market for a potential business partner, whereby we could provide some game performance information that would allow them to make better game recommendations, by utilizing our game performance database, because for most of these companies, it’s a closed loop to just that casino they’re servicing; they don’t have access to market data.
“Secondarily, we are also interested in making investments in startup companies, and early-stage companies as well. And our view was this was an emerging technology that over the course of time can create a lot of value. So, we wanted to be invested in that sector as well.”
Eilers says the roles of artificial intelligence in the gaming industry will only multiply in the near future. “I think the use of AI technology absolutely has a role in the industry,” he said. “Casino operations involve a lot of moving parts, and an intersection between a lot of different variables. And I think AI technology has the ability to uncover and recognize relationships and underlying trends that might not be top-of-mind, readily available, or easy to identify…
“There’s absolutely a player/customer dynamic in being able to optimize your marketing campaign, and being able to recognize the potential to lose a customer, and how to retain them. So, there’s a lot that can be done on the customer and marketing side. But (AI) also can help casinos optimize their floor, by providing recommendations for what games go best together. If you have games trending lower and it’s time to replace them, when should you do that? And what are the best games to add to replace them?”
Finally, Eilers said, artificial intelligence can aid marketing in developing a more complete player profile of loyal customers. “It can dive a lot deeper into player behavior and characteristics, and extract some information out of that that can allow a casino to more effectively segment their player base, and thereby market towards them.”
According to Eilers, the agreement with Gaming Analytics will not only involve a financial commitment to the company, but Eilers & Krejcik’s advisory services will help the company to grow. “We will advise on market trends, market dynamics,” he said. “We can also make introductions to potential customers. We can market their services, and we can look to partner with them as well, by providing them some data to make their products better.
“We are thrilled to have EKG as a strategic investor and adviser, and believe their investment is a validation of our best-in-class product offering,” said Kiran Brahmandam, founder and CEO of Gaming Analytics, in a press release announcing EKG’s investment. “Eilers & Krejcik Gaming’s investment in Gaming Analytics also expands the company’s portfolio of private investments within the gaming and entertainment sector.”