How to train your robot-croupier? Levon Hambardzumyan, the engineer behind BetContruct’s first-of-its-kind live-casino automation project, Hands-Do, explains the logic and logistics of letting machines do the dealing.
iGAMING TIMES: How has the live casino sector weathered the covid crisis – and what do you consider its strengths and weaknesses to be as move into 2022?
LEVON HAMBARDZUMYAN: First and foremost the land based casinos got hit the hardest from the very first wave of the pandemic. While those businesses were suffering, the online sector was on the rise. This tendency is still growing strong and the curve will definitely go up in 2022 too.
The new player flow will challenge the game providers to push harder and generate brighter ideas. It goes without saying that it is a rather arduous task to please a casino visitor with an online alternative. BetConstruct has a number of specialists who have a background of working in brick and mortar casinos. They all contribute their knowledge and artistic visions for our live casino brand CreedRoomz.
In scoop this whole progression creates a strong product and propels a supplier forward on the market. The only weakness of online is that no matter how hard you try there will always be a player segment who will not be fully satisfied with the lack of real-life attributes and player-to-player and player-to-croupier interaction.
iGT: You’ve recently developed an innovation in what is typically embraced as one of the most traditional sectors in gaming – Live Casino. Can you tell us a bit more about Hands-Do, how it works and how you came up with the concept?
LH: Hands-do is a robot croupier that performs all of the manual actions of a dealer and offers an alternative gameplay to the player. Dealing cards, demonstrating the outcome, collecting the cards from the table and loading them into the shuffler for the next round – the robot does it all, hence its title – Hands-Do.
It goes without saying it all started with a simple concept – an automated, robotized croupier. Then the initial outline was mapped and the first drafts.
The challenges were mostly linked to the software design. Since this is a one-of-a-kind concept, we never really relied on best practices in the industry. It was all custom work. Upon understanding the issues we’ve managed to find the solutions and now there are no technical or software issues detected.
IGT: How does it achieve this, evidently hugely efficient automation, while also keeping the personal aspects that keeps players coming back to live casino? Is that important?
LH: Though robots can add up to levels of players’ entertainment, they can never replace the social aspect of a live casino, something that we have been proudly serving for years. However, the technology has already taken its niche and created a highly appealing market that is solely based on automated gameplay. As for Hands-Do, it offers an alternative entertainment and it is up to a player to enjoy and support it.
IGT: What games have you already adapted for Hands-Do? And taking these as an example, how does this innovation change the user experience?
LH: We started with Asia, the region that enjoys innovation the most. Currently our Hands-Do robot is trained to play Baccarat and Dragon Tiger games, but the software is highly intelligent and open to executing more algorithms. We plan to integrate more existing games while being open to custom game requests. One of the main features however is that for any game a dealing time can be fixed. Unlike a human dealer, Hands-Do will perform the dealing depending on the time set by a partner.
IGT: Can you tell us about any future innovations you’re working on?
LH: We currently focus on our robot and think of the further upgrades for it. The automated dealer will stay in CreedRomz’s casino and we already think of ways to enhance it. Another step will be the addition of a camera to Hands-Do. That will take the video streaming to another level, which again will be an interesting point of interaction with a player.