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p36-42 table gaming:Layout 1 04/03/2010 09:37 Page 34
TABLE GAMING
Turning the tables
Once upon a time, table games were traditional and slots were at the
sharp end of new technology. But now table games are increasingly
incorporating digital elements while retaining the best of old-school
casino style, as Barnaby Page reports
S
ay “casino” to a consumer, and the Atlantic City that it could lose its edge as the region’s
chances are they’ll think of table games. only place to play them. (We report on these
From James Bond to 21, it’s the likes of developments in this issue’s news pages.)
Blackjack, Poker and Roulette – played in
black tie, of course – that have formed The challenge for casinos and the vendors who
the public image of the gaming world, even if the supply them is, then, how to harness new
reality is often rather less glamorous and the stakes technologies to add greater flexibility to table gaming
not quite so high-rolling. and to reduce costs relative to revenue, while
maintaining the core of the traditional games that
Table games only account for about a quarter of attract players. Areas of particular interest for casino
overall casino revenue in the U.S., with slots far ahead management include easily changing the layout of
(although there are significant differences between individual tables from one game to another, and
cities, and the popularity of Poker is now helping to liberating casino floor configuration so that table
bring younger players to the tables). The situation is gaming is not confined to one area.
reversed in table-dominated Asian casinos (as our
boxed section discusses), but wherever table games One popular route has been to extend play at the
are played, they do have some features in common. tables to remote terminals as well. Inspired Gaming
Group’s server-based gaming versions of Baccarat,
They are, nearly always, long-established games Blackjack and Roulette, for example, can be played
rather than completely new concepts. They use up electronically anywhere on the casino floor, with or
space – a lot more than the slots that would be without live players
required to serve an equivalent number of players. at the table.
They use up staff. And because they’re staffed by Likewise,
humans rather than incorruptible machines, they
need supervision too.
Despite their cost base and relative
inflexibility compared to electronic devices,
however, they remain popular with
casinos and gamers. Perhaps it’s
because of that public image: table
games seem to add a new level of
excitement to what could
otherwise be slightly dreary,
somewhat predictable slots-
only venues.
Witness, for example,
the enthusiastic
welcome in
American states
such as Delaware
and
Pennsylvania for
newly-legalised
table games, and
the fear in nearby
36 MARCH 2010
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