Namibia clamps down on illegal gambling

Namibia is clamping down on illegal gambling in the southern African countrys, with owners of unlicensed gambling machines now facing hefty fines or imprisonment.

This is according to the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, in a Motivation Statement of the Gambling and Entertainment Control Bill that was read in Parliament recently. The minister revealed that there are approximately 20,000 unlicensed gambling machines across the country. Shifeta said the Bill that provides for the establishment of the board as an administrative body or agency of the government, gives power to the board to establish and maintain a register of every gambling machine manufactured within or imported into Namibia. The new Bill also gives power to the board to establish and maintain a central electronic monitoring system capable of – detecting and monitoring significant events associated with a gambling machine or any device associated with the gambling machine that is made available for play in the country. Shifeta also revealed that there are 260 licence holders (six casinos and 254 gambling houses) and 2,845 registered gambling machines (1,145 casinos and 1,700 gambling houses). He said the gambling industry contributes to the State Revenue Fund about N$22 million annually in Namibia.

“We must note that this Act also regulates casinos. We have so far 6 casino licences that have been granted. It must also be pointed out that the Damaseb Commission of Inquiry did not find any challenges with the way the casino sector is being regulated,” he said.

Shifeta said the main objectives of the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill is “to regulate the gambling and gambling activities in Namibia; to set out the principles for gambling and gambling activities; establish the Gambling Board; to establish the Gambling Trust Fund; and to provide for incidental matters”.

Windhoek Avani unveils modernisation project

Windhoek-Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino is undertaking phase two of a N$24 million modernisation project, following the recent unveiling phase one. The redevelopment includes a new grand entrance and Porte Cochere, unveiled in February, that is able to accommodate passenger vehicles and busses for self-drive guests and tour groups, as well as allow pedestrian access to the hotel that is located on one of the busiest streets in town. The new lobby also features Pantry at Avani and uplifted guest and business facilities.

The second phase of the enhancement project is currently underway and includes an overhaul of the hotel’s Dunes restaurant and the introduction of new gym facilities with Avanifit concept and conference rooms. The final phase will see the complete reconstruction of all facilities at rooftop level and will feature a Grand Ballroom, a new signature rooftop restaurant and a rooftop bar alongside a new swimming pool and pool deck.

“Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino has been an icon to the city, with a strategic location in one of the city’s most popular shopping centres and the refurbishment has been designed to deliver the Avani concept of living spaces for our guests,” explained Rudie Putter, general manager of Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino.

“This first phase of our redevelopment means that guests can now enjoy the convenience of entering the hotel from the main street, while larger groups or frequent travellers are now also welcomed at their own entrance and reception area, easing the congestion for other guests in the main lobby during busy periods,” he added.

The new lobby area was designed by DLH, a Namibian interior design company, and includes the new Pantry at Avani.

This on-the-go café offers fresh, quick bites for guests on the move, whether they are looking for a healthy snack en-route to a meeting, or comfort food after a long day of work.

With fine, freshly made coffee, a selection of soft drinks, wines and cocktails completes the menu, offering guests a quick alternative to the hotel’s other dining option, which was designed for a more relaxing, indulgent experience.

In addition, Pantry at Avani is perfectly located alongside the new business lounge and is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology starting from Apple iMac, a wireless colour printer and high-speed internet access. The hotel will be rolling out upgraded high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the hotel during the second phase of the renovation, to ensure guests can stay connected.

“This project extends far beyond a structural and décor makeover of the hotel, as we have invested significantly in training and upskilling our 100% Namibian staff,” explains Putter. “Training programmes included website content management that’s accessible on any mobile device and internationally recognised sales training courses hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa.”

Supported by Avani Hotels & Resorts, which has properties in countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and in Europe, the massive redevelopment of Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino has been implemented by Aveng Construction Namibia, with all contractors and sub-contractors on site being of Namibian origin.

“I started my career at this property in 1994, and returned to the hotel in 2010, and I’m really proud of the work that the design and construction teams have done so far,” says Putter.

“We’re all looking forward to the finished result, and to welcoming our local and international guests to our revitalised hotel, in the heart of exciting Windhoek.

National Gambling Board outlines Strategic Five-Year Plan for Gambling Industry 

The South African National Gambling Board (NGB) has outlined its strategic plan for the gambling industry for the next five years. The plan, covering the NGB’s strategic thinking for the years 2018-2023, and compiled under the guidance of the dti, details the National regulator’s thinking with regard to future challenges, including technological advancements in the coming.

“Disruptive technologies, such as big data analytics, the inter-connectedness of electronic devices, the use of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, crypto-currencies and biometrics, also referred to as the “fourth industrial revolution,” have an impact on how punters and the public view and participate in legal and illegal gambling activities,” says NGB’s Caroline Kongwa, who oversees the current work of the NGB as the Accounting Authority.

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Trade Minister Rob Davies also echoed the need for a revised strategy to fuflil the NGB’s aims in light of: “The ongoing efficient regulation of gambling in a continuously changing, integrated,automated and user-friendly technological environment. The five-year strategic plan (2018-2023) will ensure that the NGBcontinues to strengthen its regulatory mandate in an efficient andeffective manner,” Minister Davies said.

The full strategy report can be downloaded here, or by clicking on the report cover in this article:

http://www.ngb.org.za/SiteResources/documents/2018/NGB%20STRAT%20&%20APP%202018%20WEB.pdf

AI’s impact on casinos and hospitality

How AI is Transforming Online Gambling in Canada

Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts Elevates Customer Service with Ivy, Personalized Virtual Concierge Service (PRNewsfoto/Caesars Entertainment)

Although AI technology has developed at a rapid rate in recent years, the intersection between AI and gaming is nothing new. Recent progress has led to a continuation of this trend, with the most famous example of AI in the gambling arena in January 2017, when Carnegie Mellon’s Libratus AI won thousands of poker hands over many top-rated players. Yet the utility of AI has the potential to go far beyond man versus machine showboating. Offering the enticing possibility of a vastly improved user experience, AI could help leading online casinos to create a platform that ’s virtually been built with the individual player in mind. One possible application is customization for the player. For instance, LeoVegas currently features 118 games available to players in Canada, including slots, roulette variants, blackjack and more. AI can learn from each individual player’s gaming sessions in order to build a personalized, player-specific home page. This will save sorting through dozens of slots games by ensuring their preferred options are right there in pride of place.More than this, AI will allow the scrapping of generic and impersonal customer service bots in favour of a new breed of intelligence concierge – one that’s not only set up to meet the player’s every need but also delivers faster, more focused resolutions to issues. The outcome of such a scenario being brought to the table is an enticing one: friendly, relevant, and above all responsive automated systems that do exactly what they’re supposed to.

It’s not only players who the implementation of AI technology could benefit. Online casinos too will be advantaged, in the sense that such advances could make it far easier to root out cheats and level the playing field.Helping to minimize the disadvantages associated with an inability to physically monitor player behaviour, this would allow casinos to keep one step ahead of would-be fraudsters, thwarting their employment of probability programs and their own AI bots to make play much fairer for all.

Offering a world of possibilities to the online gambling sector, AI has the potential to transform the Canadian casino industry, making it a safer and more enjoyable place for each and every one of its players. Protecting against manipulation whilst at the same time allowing a more efficient and individual experience, this rapidly developing technology might just represent a true force for good in the ever-evolving world of internet gaming.

Article originally published in and courtesy of Novia Scotia business Journal http://www.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/how-ai-is-transforming-online-gambling-in-canada/

Las Vegas Resort Elevates Customer Service with Ivy, Personalized Virtual Concierge Service

Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas are using technology to enhance the guest experience with Ivy, a 24-hour virtual concierge service. With additional rollouts to Caesars Palace and The LINQ Hotel & Casino, Ivy is now live in more than 6,000 rooms within Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts, making Caesars Entertainment the first major gaming company in Las Vegas to offer a widespread guest text messaging program with built-in artificial intelligence. Ivy, created by Go Moment, is the world’s first automated guest engagement platform for hotels powered by IBM Watson. Caesars Palace and The LINQ Hotel & Casino are the latest Caesars Entertainment resorts to introduce guests to Ivy, which initially launched at the boutique Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace and The Cromwell in December 2016. Ivy is expected to e xpand to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in February with planned rollouts to the remaining Las Vegas resorts in 2018.”This technology allows us to elevate the guest experience and improve speed and efficiency, resulting in increased customer satisfaction levels and seamless experiences for our guests,” says Michael Marino, senior vice president and chief experience officer for Caesars Entertainment. “Service is at the forefront of everything we do at Caesars Entertainment.”

Ivy allows guests to request the services they need to enhance their stay, all from their mobile device. Ivy can book dining, entertainment and spa experiences and facilitate housekeeping and maintenance requests. Ivy also surveys guests during their stay, which allows for quick recovery of unhappy guests in real time.

While Ivy is an automated artificial intelligence system, a human touch is incorporated when Ivy cannot provide a confident response. In addition to the hotel front desk agents, a specially trained universal agent team is available to provide around the clock coverage to address requests or inquiries. The average resolution time for manual guest text messages is less than one minute.

Guests can continue to text with Ivy once they return home for common requests such as to obtain a copy of their folio or locate a missing item. Guests who engage with Ivy rated their overall experience an average of five points higher than guests who knew about Ivy but did not engage.

AETHOS Partners with Stella.ai Providing Artificial Intelligence for the Next Generationof Hospitality Recruitment

AETHOS Consulting Group has announced a strategic partnership with Stella.ai as a next generation recruiting tool. Powered by artificial intelligence, Stella will make it simpler to recruit for line level and mid-management level positions in the hospitality industry. Stella.ai turns the tables on the traditional hiring process. Instead of candidates searching for jobs, Stella.ai uses artificial intelligence to help ‘jobs find the candidates’ – and quickly appeal to those for which they are qualified. Traditional job marketplaces can be flawed. They rely on candidates to find available positions and determine whether or not they’re qualified. Research has shown that more than 75% of applicants for a given role are under- or over-qualified for that position. Stella.ai utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning, with an original business model of companies sharing all their applicants, to source qualified talent at a fraction the time and cost.

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