CEO: Casinos increasing use of electronic table games over the next five years Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports · April 24, 2019 at 9:05 pm The chief executive of an electronic table games manufacturer said he expects casinos to move more live table games off the floor over the next five years and rely on automation. During a panel discussion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas this week on table games, Interblock CEO John Connelly said, “stadium gaming,” which allows multiple types of table games – blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat – to be played from one electronic terminal, is also replacing live tables. Connelly said electronic table games (ETGs) are finding increased usage both in the U.S. and foreign markets. “I would have never dreamed 12 months ago (that) a casino would remove all of their live table games off the floor and go strictly to electronic table games,” Connelly said. However, some casinos are doing just that, according to Connelly, who said he sees that trend accelerating as a way to reduce labor costs and increase hold on games like blackjack. Operators want to make their floors more efficient through technology, he said. “Within the next five years if you want to sit in front of a human and play a live table game, it’s going to be a $2,500 per play option,” Connelly said. “All of the table games below that will be automated.” Connelly said Interblock is four times bigger today than it was 48 months ago. It has gone from 70 jurisdictions to more than 200 and gone from one primary product to 12. Scientific Games Senior Vice President Roger Snow said explosive growth is taking place in stadium gaming. The company recently installed a dealer-assisted stadium gaming site in Rhode Island at the Twin River Casino. It allows players to play $5 stadium blackjack, roulette and baccarat from one terminal. The player terminals connect to live dealers located across four podiums at the front of the stadium arena. It allows players to play at their own pace. Snow talked about the trend in stadium gaming and cited a Latvian company that’s streaming gaming content live to people’s computers and about 1,500 players. It’s more like a game show that people find entertaining, he said. “This is what’s coming to a casino near you,” Snow said. “It’s a lot of fun and interactive. It reminds me of that line in Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox said, ‘you guys may not be ready for this, but your kids are going to love it.’ That’s what young people seem to be into right now.” Connelly said stadium gaming is about finding new players and incremental dollars and not moving money around from one part of the casino to the other. In the last three years, Interblock installed 50 stadium systems. It’s now installing one a week, he said. “It’s attracting a lot of players who were intimidated to walk up to a craps table or a blackjack table and get yelled at for splitting tens,” Connelly said. Players are able to start low with their betting, learn and increase their bets over time, Connelly said. Connelly said the concept makes sense for casinos wanting to cater to couples or groups of people. Casinos spend hundreds of millions of dollars on night clubs, hotels, restaurants, spas and other amenities, but the casino floor isn’t structured for date night or a gathering of friends. It’s difficult to get seats next to each other at a blackjack table. “With the stadium approach, we are starting to learn to bridge from all of the amenities that lead to the casino floor for a group or couple to stay together and have a fun social experience and still gamble,” Connelly said. “The majority of stadiums are adding rows and doing well right now.” Electronic table games, meanwhile, continue their evolution in the marketplace, panelists said. Connelly said there’s been more acceptance of ETGs in parts of Asia and Europe than in North America. One of the biggest mistakes by casinos in evaluating ETGs is that they were categorized on the slot report, thus setting back a decade of evolution, he said. “What happened is now you have casinos that have reports on tables, slots and ETGs,” Connelly said. “The biggest step we as an industry have taken in the last four to five years is our understanding of what an ETG is and what it’s designed to benefit and how it should be measured.” It’s an efficient table game that brings a younger demographic, Connelly said. “We’re feeling the momentum right now, and the industry is starting to understand what an ETG is design to do and how to maximize profit,” Connelly said.