The Digital (Analytics) Divide …
… between Casino Analytics and the Rest of the Analytics Community
As our industry starts to encompass more than just web analytics, but truly is starting to embrace digital analytics, it’s made me start to think more about other types of digital analytics out there beyond the types I already work with: web, mobile, and social media. I was once again visiting Las Vegas a couple of months back, and it occurred to me that they must also use digital analytics in their day-to-day operations at the casino.
Casinos every day collect thousands of pieces of data, both in aggregate, and personal data, from everyone who plays. They encourage players to sign up for “player’s club cards” or “comp cards,” in order to be able to better track individual players in the casino, for the promise of earning perks or “comps” from the casino. Besides these player’s cards, they also put RFIDs into all their casino chips in order to track them, along with some sophisticated video tracking as well.
Where the divide comes in is in how much people in the general analytics community share their tricks and techniques, while folks doing casino analytics generally do not. There are some blog articles relating to casino analytics, primarily focused how bleeding edge their industry is in regards to trends like behavioral and predictive analytics. Those articles are a bit thin on the details of how they are achieving their behavioral and predictive analytics. I also don’t see a lot of (or any) people who work in the casino analytics industry tweeting a lot. A lot of the top results when searching for “casino analytics” on Google leads you to sites that want to sell their software or services for casino analytics.
Now I understand that casinos need to keep a lot of their tricks of the trade a secret. If people knew they were being tracked, and how, they might find ways to circumvent this and be able to fly under the radar. Understandably, casinos don’t want that for a variety of reasons. However, I think that what casino analysts are learning in regards to behavioral and predictive analytics could benefit the entire digital analytics community. I think some way should be made to be able to share these learnings, without divulging casino secrets at the same tie. In many ways, I think we could learn much from each other.