OPTX’s Brooke Fiumara On Using Data Science On The Casino Floor
The data platform can simplify the life of casino marketing managers.
After years of experience working in the marketing departments of many casinos across North America, Brooke Fiumara is keenly aware of how many decisions operators have to make week in and week out. She also learned that aggregating all the information necessary to make those decisions was time-consuming and difficult.
Her informed experience on the operator side led her to co-found OPTX. The company uses data and artificial intelligence to help marketers and casino managers streamline both the information itself and the decision-making process.
“At its core, OPTX is a casino resort data platform, which means that we sit on top of the ecosystem that the casino already has, we ingest all of that data, and then we transform it into different operational uses,” Fiumara, who serves as the company co-CEO, explained.
Using her past experience, she recognized that the way the gaming industry is structured and the products the industry were using just didn’t sync up.
“We are highly, highly vertical in the gaming space,” she explained. “There’s a lot of different tools out there that I call incredibly horizontal, which means they do a lot of things for a lot of different industries, but they don’t do any one thing really particularly well right out of the box.”
With the help of Vice President of Data Science, Steve Bright, OPTX not only compiles data but also uses AI to help process that information. Don’t think of the AI like that in the sci-fi movies where the robots become smarter than the humans though.
“From a data science perspective, we love to say we are the co-pilot to the business, not the autopilot. And there’s a lot of misconception out there about data science, especially in gaming because it’s new,” Fiumara said. Citing examples, she noted, “it is commonly misunderstood that AI has to replace jobs or it can’t be effective with an ROI. We have found is that it makes operators smarter. It decreases the inaccuracy of their decision-making and it allows them to do more with less. So, it’s not about replacing. You still absolutely need human intelligence. It’s just too much information to digest efficiently with the human brain.”
The glut of information is one issue, but another problem casinos can run into is that information which may be useful to a wide range of groups is isolated to just one department.
“All of the departments traditionally work in silos. Your slot department works with the slot data, and they live in their slot department and your player development department works with their host-coded data. That’s a very traditional way of managing the business, but with OPTX, all those departments come together so you’re seamlessly navigating between slot information that drives player behavior and player behavior that drives slot performance and it’s easy and user-friendly to get at all of that information so that you have the full view when you’re making decisions for the business. “
In other words, OPTX has created the tool Fiumara wishes she had when she was working directly for the casinos.
“I look at this product through the lens of being an operator and being responsible for managing hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing budget monthly, and just needing a tool that gave me visibility into all the data in an easy-to-use fashion and not have to rely on an analyst. Everybody’s bombarded within the property. So for me, OPTX was all about creating a user-friendly tool that actually gave me everything I needed and nothing I don’t, and so that that was the way we approached product features.”
While major corporations may have internal programs that help solve some of these issues, OPTX is primarily focused for regional and independent casino companies, the kinds of groups that are often short on labor but still face the same decisions as their competitors. Hence why OPTX is particularly focused on Canada, where smaller operators are looking to gain a foothold.
“When we look at Canada, we see just an incredible market that is in our sweet spot. We are designed for regional operations all the way down to single property operations, and currently, we are installed in properties of all sizes, and our tool because it’s modular, you only pay for what you need,” Fiumara remarked. “It allows us to really help solve problems that operators face today. So for Canada specifically, it just feels like there is a great opportunity to help bridge the gap between, you know, the current view of analytics and the manual processes that exist to and bringing in a tool specifically for a lot of those regional operators.”
Currently, OPTX works with over 70 operators across North America, but that number continues to grow. With unique products like Slot Dispatch, the company can help operators optimize the gaming floor with the best-performing titles without relying on hunches and empirical observations. Meanwhile, the enterprise solution can address a range of data points relevant to multi-property casino operations.
With Fiumara at the helm, OPTX is not the standard business tech solution. It is one that has both cutting-edge tech and data but also one that understands, at its core, what it is like to be a person managing a casino and the stresses and decisions that go along with it.