Elwha River Casino Case Study
Like most gaming enterprises in Washington State, Elwha has faced competitive pressures by regional operators. Competition for gaming share of wallet is fierce, with multiple operators vying for player visits.
Elwha has invested heavily in creating the best slot floor experiences for its local players, with an eye towards cultivating personal gaming connections through its products on the floor. As a result, Elwha has focused its efforts on optimizing slot floor product investments.
As with any property, a large portion of capital expenditures rests in the gaming products on the floor. Understanding the right mix of products to invest in is a critical function of the property. Elwha makes frequent investments in new products to ensure that the slot floor is refreshed with the latest and greatest games, keeping local players energized and engaged.
Elwha intended to make investments in their floor using data to guide their investment
decisions. They wanted to answer the following questions:
What slot machine attributes affect performance?
What factors affect machine performance relative to the customer base?
How would changes to the mix of machines impact the performance of other slot machines on the floor due to market saturation and cannibalization effects?
What products should Elwha invest in and which products should be retired?
What uplift in overall win will be achieved with the investment?
“Reel AI has helped us understand our slot floor in ways that we never could. Optimizing our slot product mix means greater revenue with less expense. That means more money for the casino and the tribe.”
Elwha River Casino
Even with decades of experience, it is impossible for a human to understand every possible slot machine mix and how it will impact the performance of the slot floor. The slot floor is a dynamic ecosystem where every change impacts the performance of every other machine on the floor, often in surprising and non-intuitive ways. No human, regardless of experience, can evaluate the full range of possible slot floor configurations.
The Reel AI™ solution discovers which slot machine characteristics drive performance, finding the best possible changes to the mix of slot machines to suit the preferences and play characteristics of players. Moreover, it predicts the uplift in win from such changes.
Core to Reel AI™ is its ability to understand important subtleties of the slot floor that are not discoverable by human operators.
Reel AI™ helped Elwha to understand which machine categories to invest in and which to retire. It may seem like an obvious choice to simply remove the lowest performing machines from the floor, but using performance statistics without fully considering the full floor impact often leads to less than optimal removal decisions. Reel AI™ is able to explore these trade-offs in an intelligent way and flag these harmful low performers for removal.
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Partnering with NEXUS
The University of Manitoba's data science NEXUS is a interdepartmental group within the university whose mission is to promote and facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research and education in data science, to train the next generation of data scientists, and to inspire these new data scientists to employ their talent and aspirations to solving our world’s problems.
nQube is a corporate partner with the data science NEXUS, where we have graduate students working on science problems within the casino industry. If there are students are researchers interested in gaming related research you can contact us about possible research opportunities.
nQube also works closely with NEXUS to run a data science conference every year, which brings the best and brightest students and researchers together to talk about advanced problems in the field.
Winning the GiGse Launchpad
in 2017, nQube won the Launchpad competition at GiGse, the Global iGaming Summit & Expo. Competing against four other international gaming startups, we pitched our artificial intelligence-based casino optimization software. Our product, which tracks casino customer behaviour to optimize casino floor layout and revenue, came out on top of the leading names in the gaming industry.
The win almost came as a surprise.we were just a couple of university researchers talking about mathematics and science, up against some really slick international gaming companies. However, the win was a turning point for nQube, as it allowed us to receive our first real data sets and refine our product. Reel AI™ is now used at a number of casinos, and is available to casino operators worldwide. This win also represents a big shift in the way floor operators are viewing artificial intelligence as a tool for getting ahead of the competition, and making sure their customers are happy and spending money.