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EDITIONS
 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 13:19 GMT
Casino gambles on text messaging
Croupier at Melbourne Casino
Staff are called in for extra shifts via text messaging

Behind the scenes at Melbourne's Crown Casino there is a surprise in store.

At the heart of the Casino's massive organisation is the humble text message.

Mobile text message
The main benefit is saving time from our end

Tania Anticev, Melbourne Casino
The technology that started off as a favourite way for teenagers to organise dates has now graduated to become an indispensable corporate tool.

It is four in the afternoon and Tania Anticev has a problem - the Casino is getting busy and she needs to open another room of gaming tables.

But right now there are not the staff on duty to do it.

Instead of hitting the phones, Crown's chief scheduler heads for her computer to type a global text message that will go out immediately to the mobile phones of all casual staff.

The first ones to ring in get the night's job.

Running out of time

Lyla is one of Crown's 400 casual and part time workers.

When her phone beeps during coffee at one of the south bank's riverside cafes, Lyla knows she has to act fast.

Crown will fill all of the 20 or so shifts on offer in a matter of minutes.

It is a process that used to take Tania and the scheduling team hours.

"The main benefit is saving time from our end.

"We'd spend a lot of time trying to contact 2-400 people, ringing them individually.

"And when you're working to tight deadlines you can sometimes run out of that time."

Customer demand

In a busy month, Crown will send up to 10 SMS or text messages to its pool of casuals.

Croupier at Melbourne Casino
A text to all staff cost $55 to send

In a highly automated business, saving that amount of time adds up to big cost savings.

For the carriers, that is the key selling point of corporate SMS.

Telstra's Chris Newlan markets it as a productivity tool.

"Wireless Data as a proportion of total Telstra Mobile revenue is increasing and is now around 8 or 9 percent of our total revenues and is increasing over time.

"That is largely being driven by SMS use by our corporate customers."

Gains for wireless networks

Back at the Casino, the animatronic all-singing and dancing Christmas display is drawing in the crowds and it is time for Lyla to get to work.

The message that brought her in just one of the 400 million or so sent each month in Australia.

And if you think the House always wins - that text to Crown's pool of casuals cost about $55 to send.

In this game, it is the wireless networks that are hitting the jackpot.

See also:

30 Nov 02 | Technology
24 Jul 02 | UK
09 Dec 02 | Technology
03 Dec 02 | UK
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