The Microsoft Surface multi-touch console and surface computer likely isn’t familiar to most gamers or computer gadget fans due to its target market — largely hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses — but it is increasingly being used by casinos and for other entertainment applications, letting users play in 3D casinos or draw and paint by dipping fingers into virtual ink. Launched in 2008, Microsoft Surface has attracted more than 100 partners from around the world that support it or develop applications for it, with Samsung being the primary partner behind the launch of the latest Microsoft Surface 2.0 version unveiled in 2011.

Microsoft Surface includes an interactive touch-screen that is incorporated into different forms, with the most common being a table-top console. Its technology not only allows users to interact with it via swipes and gestures of their hands but it can also recognize and respond to real world objects, such as scanning a credit card that is placed on its surface for payment for goods or services. Multiple users can interact at the same time and Surface supports log-in and authentication for applications that store and remember a user’s past preferences and choices.

While many Surface applications are targeted for consumers and end-users it can also be used by employees for tasks such as checking in hotel guests or managing orders and tabs at bars and restaurants. Surface can also be integrated with other Microsoft products for managing and storing a variety of information and data, letting businesses track and analyze usage data and other information about patrons and guests.

The Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was one of the first casinos to implement Microsoft Surface at its iBar lounge. The 30” table-top units let patrons create and order their own unique cocktails and flirt with other users by taking and sending photos and texts, with video cameras incorporated into each unit. Other casinos have used Surface to offer additional games and content (including tips for playing perfect blackjack strategy) that keep guests plugged in and enjoying various games even when away from the actual gambling tables.

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