Sometimes it seems that if you turn your attention away for a few days (or even hours), you return to a sector that has been transformed by some trend or another.
So far, the story of the season has been the worldwide robust resurgence of revenues following the success of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, and the subsequent reopening of gaming floors across the globe.
Indeed, it’s been an optimistic time for the gaming industry!
Going back a bit further, it seems like the only thing anyone could talk about was the rise of live dealer gaming in the online sector.
With those trends in mind, and the generally positive feeling across the industry of things looking up in the aftermath of the pandemic, the latest trend seems like a surprising one at first…
… why are so many casinos tearing out their gaming tables, and replacing them with machines?
Out With the Old, In With the New
It began at the Tuscany Casino, where all live table games were removed in early July.
While a respectable Les Vegas resort, the Tuscany isn’t exactly the beating heart of the industry. Nevertheless, this move was a kind of harbinger of things to come, as cost-saving measures sweep the brick-and-mortar side of the business.
Later that same month, the bone fide heavyweight Caesar’s Entertainment began a suspended campaign of removing table games from its multiple casinos in Las Vegas.
From Harrah’s to the Flamingo to Cromwell, table games have been ripped out of the casino floor and replaced by slots, video poker, and other electronic offerings.
It’s a major change taking place at multiple locations at the same time. So where and why does such a trend come about?
So why are so many table games being removed and replaced with machines? And why now?
The cold fact of it is machines don’t require an hourly wage. They don’t take vacations, or sick days, or breaks for a cigarette or a meal. They don’t unionize. It’s just much, much cheaper for casinos to employ electronic games than it is to retain human dealers.
This is obviously bad news for the Vegas dealers who make their living at these tables. But it’s also bad news for the public!
How many iconic casino movie scenes take place at an electronic table? Can you imagine James Bond going toe-to-toe with a villain bent on world domination at a neon, electronic baccarat machine? Or the Dustin Hoffman helping Tom Cruise win counting cards around the glow of an automatic blackjack terminal?
Sitting down at a real table, with real felt, real chips, and a real, live human being taking bets is nothing less than iconic.
If these things to fall out of favor, it will be the entire industry that suffers the loss.
A Penny Pinched is a Penny Earned
Savvy gamblers know that small tweaks to their game can have massive impact on their bottom line. That’s why we continue to emphasize strategy as a way to take your play to the next level!
If this is true for players, though, it’s a thousand times more so for casinos themselves. Theirs is a volume game: so long as the house turns a handsome profit on the average player, it can and will withstand the lucky jackpot winner who wagers a few dollars and walks away a millionaire.
But imagine if that profit on the average player were raised by even a few cents?
With tens of thousands of gamblers placing bets every day, even the very smallest shift in profit margin can translate into a tremendous financial gain.
That’s why Caesar’s move to cut costs is so sweeping. And we’re not just talking about the decline of table games with live dealers!
There have been closures of VIP Laurel Lounges, of many food buffets, and even of various entertainment venues! But that’s not the worst of it…
… Caesar’s has also recently reduced their standard liquor pour from 1.25 ounces to .75 ounces.
That’s a low blow if ever there was one!
All of this comes in the wake of the acquisition of (or merger with, depending on whom you believe) Caesar’s Entertainment by the Eldorado Resorts.
Under new management, cost-saving measures like these have accelerated to an almost comical degree. What’s next, removing chairs from the machines so that everyone has to remain standing?
We certainly hope that not too many Las Vegas professionals are displaced by these reductions in live table games. Furthermore, it’s our sincere hope that top industry brands like Caesar’s don’t fall too far from their usual standards in the name of saving a few dollars here and there.
Even if their profit margins soar for a year or two, to undermine the good reputation of a blue-chip casino group is penny-wise but pound-foolish.
But considering long term repercussions has never been the strong suit of companies who try to turn a profit in acquisitions.
So, let’s keep a close eye on this trend going forward, and hope it doesn’t do too much damage in the meantime!