COVID-19 Update

What the Coronavirus Pandemic Means for the AV Future of Casinos

Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other U.S. meccas of around-the-clock gambling have been forced to think differently about every aspect of their operations.

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What the Coronavirus Pandemic Means for the AV Future of Casinos

The days of packing casinos with back-to-back or side-by-side slot machines ready to dispense large amounts of riches—or gladly accept the never-ending deposit of willing patrons—has changed for the time being, or possibly forever, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite what you’ve seen in the reopening of Las Vegas, where masks were optional inside the resorts up and down the Strip until too many COVID-19 cases forced a new way of thinking, there’s an effort today to give people their space everywhere inside the casino to preserve everyone’s health.

Ken Newbury,  senior VP of technology and engineering at McCann Systems, says the company has had to evolve its plans and approach to projects during the pandemic, including its 2020 Integration Award-winning project at the Linq.

“A lot of McCann Systems’ new design ideas have included provisions for social distancing,” says Newbury. “In the retail and casino markets, the goal has always been to make a space feel energetic and active even during non-peak hours.

“Now, we have the added challenge of creating a space that needs to feel inviting and engaging while—especially for the time being—intentionally creating space between customers and encouraging guidelines from local governments,” he says.

How the Linq Delivers Unique Experiences

The Linq Hotel + Experience, which was completed in June 2019, is considered by those who designed and built it—and the guests who’ve stayed there or visited it during a trip to Las Vegas—to be “the casino of the future.”

It merges augmented digital art with audiovisual experiences, such as DATALAND, which features more than 160 displays and several thousand square feet of Unilumin LED and showcases designs by media artist Refik Anadol.

It actively collects data by measuring guests’ locations and actions, converts this data to flowing images and outputs onto a digital canvas for guests to interact with. These digital canvases display never-repeating art and also serve as digital wayfinding, collaborative AV and kinetic architecture.

Caesars Entertainment’s goal at the Linq “was to design a space and experience that catered to a new generation of casino-goers,” according to the McCann entry for the 2020 Integration Awards, who “demand unique, shareable, immersive experiences.”

McCann led the way on the LINQ’s transformation last fall with the opening of The Book, the next generation of race and sports book and continued with the introduction of the all-new integrated Strip-side RE:MATCH bar.

The new deployment also features a digital art exhibition by Refik Anadol that winds throughout the casino floor, outside towards the Las Vegas Strip and all around the architecture.

Virtual reality, hologram gaming, esports, interactive multi-stage entertainment, arcade games, the Pulse Arena, rentable Fan Caves and social media integration are all featured in the LINQ.

It’ll be interesting to see what new technology is developed or deployed inside casinos in Las Vegas between now and my next visit to the city for a trade show or AV industry event. Something tells me we haven’t seen the end of the technological evolution tied to the spread of the coronavirus.