Why Do Vegas Casinos Use Drink Monitoring Software?

Crosshair on a Martini Drink With a Las Vegas Background

Las Vegas casinos used to be overly generous with free drinks. They’d give you an alcoholic beverage even if you were just standing on the gaming floor without playing.

The idea was simple, to get you drunk enough to either start gambling or gamble more. They benefited greatly from this free-flowing model for years.

However, competition in the American casino market has ramped up. Vegas casinos must watch their bottom line closer and avoid handing out drinks to just anybody. Such is the concept behind drink monitoring systems. Casinos now use technology to deem who’s worthy of a free drink.

I’m going to cover more on these systems along with why Vegas is infatuated with them right now.

What Is a Drink Monitoring System?

Casinos have been tightening up on whom they give free drinks to for a while. Up until now, they’ve only been able to visually monitor who deserves free beverages.

Cocktail waitresses know what to look for regarding players who earn drinks. Simply put, any true gambler should get alcohol every hour or so.

As you can imagine, though, this system is far from perfect. Some people are able to dupe waitresses into giving them drinks without offering much play.

A drink monitoring system helps prevent this from happening. It incorporates technology into judging which players should get a drink.

Bar Shelf Full of Liquor Bottles

Casinos can install monitoring systems into their slot and video poker machines. The software tracks whenever a player bets enough to earn an alcoholic beverage. Caesars Entertainment was the first company to roll out drink monitoring in Las Vegas. In 2018, they began using software in combination with lights on top of the machines.

The lights remain red when a gambler hasn’t earned a drink. They turn green when a player has wagered enough to be served.

The Westgate Hotel features a different system that notifies you on when you’ve earned a drink via the screen. You can actually order your beverage through the screen afterward. Your order then goes to the bartender, who prepares more drinks.

The Westgate’s system may serve as the prototype for future casinos that want implement this technology. After all, it seems more efficient than the red light/green light model.

Reasons Behind Using Technology for Free Drinks

Reward Actual Gamblers

Again, Las Vegas is no longer as loose when it comes to giving out drinks. They don’t want to serve people who aren’t offering much value.

A drink monitoring system accurately determines which video poker and slots players should receive a beverage. Casinos can enter how much they want gamblers to wager before delivering alcohol.

Discourage Loitering on Machines

The best way to fool a cocktail waitress into giving out free drinks is by pretending to play video poker or real money slots. Gamblers can bet small amounts when the waitress goes by and make it appear that they’ve consistently playing.

These are the worst possible customers for casinos. They’re not only trying to get drinks they don’t deserve but also taking up seats.

Monitoring systems discourage this sort of behavior. A person will only pretend to play slots for so long until realizing that they aren’t getting served.

Streamlining the Process

These systems make the process of giving out drinks more efficient. First off, waitresses no longer have to hunt for gamblers who are worthy of drinks.

Instead, they can look at their company issued tablet to see who’s on tap to receive a drink. Waitresses can focus on serving more customers this way rather than walking through the casino over and over.

As a gambler, you don’t need to flag anybody down to see if you’re going to get served. The software ensures that you get alcohol faster.

Gambling Takes a Backseat

Las Vegas used to earn the vast majority of its money through gambling. In recent years, though, Sin City has diversified to include more attractions, nightclubs, shows, and spas.

Las Vegas casinos no longer need to rely on gambling alone to stay in business. Furthermore, they needn’t hand out drinks to everybody on the floor in the hopes that they’ll stick around.

Gaming establishments are fine with fake gamblers leaving after their attempts to get a drink fail. The same people might very well spend their money elsewhere in the resort anyways.

No Over-Comping

Bartenders and waitresses are more likely to serve tippers. Even if you haven’t gambled enough to earn alcohol, you might still get served if you are a good tipper.

The workers make out under such circumstances regardless of how much you’re betting. Casinos, however, lose out in these situations.

Automation prevents over-comping. Any bartender or waitress who gives out drinks to those who don’t qualify risks their job.

Prevents Over-Serving

Casinos can get fined for over-serving customers, especially compulsive gamblers. Therefore, it’s in their best interests to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Monitoring software not only deems who’s worthy of drinks but also the amount of time in between rounds. A casino may want to ensure that they don’t give the same person more than two drinks per hour, for example.

Saves the Casino Money

Casinos lose money when they keep serving people who don’t gamble much. They also must pay more bartenders and waitresses when the drinks are flowing.

Drink monitoring helps cut down on some of these costs. After paying upfront for the software, gambling establishments can save themselves a lot of money down the line.

What’s the Future of Drink Monitoring in Vegas?

Not every Vegas casino has implemented this system. However, it’s very likely that more gaming venues will implement drink monitoring in the future.

This concept offers several key advantages that save casinos money in the long run. It also ensures that deserving players are rewarded.

Two Cocktail Waitresses With Drink Trays

Of course, drink monitoring does have minor downsides. Most notably, gamblers don’t get to interact as much with bartenders and servers. Some players don’t care about the suspect. However, others may enjoy talking with the waitresses and bartenders while ordering.

Another potential drawback is that some players may get annoyed when they’re just under the borderline for getting a beverage. They may never come back to the casino if they get angry enough.

Nonetheless, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives when it comes to drink monitoring. You shouldn’t be surprised to see these systems eventually offered in all Las Vegas casinos.


Should you play slots at Vegas casinos with drink monitoring?

You may initially be turned off by having software determine whether or not you get free alcohol in Vegas. Assuming you’re a real gambler, though, then you shouldn’t be too bothered by this system.

Drink monitoring is specifically designed to cut the people who fake gamble to pick up free drinks. It’s not, however, implemented to cut real players out of alcohol.

In summary, you can play at casinos with drink monitoring systems without worry. You’ll still get served as long as you gamble enough.

You only need to fret this concept if you’re sitting on penny slot machines and spinning the reels whenever the waitress goes by. In this case, you’re not going to get anything from the casino.