And there rises a shining palace whose crystal glittering roof is seen by mariners who traverse the extensive sea in barks built expressly for that purpose
Historically, casinos have been eager adopters of technologies that help them to gather knowledge about their customers. The knowledge-gathering repertoire of the modern casino has shifted from telephone surveys, focus groups, and rudimentary datasets to complex feats of reconnaissance and analysis enabled by player tracking systems, data visualization tools, and behavioral intelligence software suites.
Many surveillance techniques first applied in casinos were only later adapted to other domains—airports, financial trading floors, shopping malls, banks, and government agencies. […]
Nearly 70 percent of casino patrons in the United States participate in so-called loyalty programs, using player cards to gamble rather than coins, paper money, or tickets. While their participation grants them redeemable points based on the volume of their play, it grants casinos a wealth of information. Casino player tracking systems, inspired by airline and credit card reward programs in the mid-1980s, record the value of each bet gamblers make, their wins and losses, the rate at which they push slot machine buttons, and what drinks and meals they purchase.
Tracked gamblers are treated less as individual subjects than as “dividuals” in the Deleuzian sense—collections of traits, habits, and preferences that casinos can systematically compare to those of others in order to identify distinct customer niches.
Harrah’s, a franchise that tracks players seamlessly from coast to coast by pooling information from its national chain of properties into a single centralized database, parses its market into ninety different segments and addresses each with a unique marketing scheme. […]
As in the case of online venues like Amazon.com, individuals’ consumer behavior in casinos, recorded in a common data cloud and refracted through statistical analysis, becomes the basis for group classifications of which they may not be aware but in which they continue to participate—sometimes more robustly as a result of the customized product marketing that follows.