Last week blackjack tables in three western Pennsylvania casinos opened:Rivers, Meadows and Presque. They ran the blackjack table test on July 6th and then opened completely on July 8th, much to the pleasure of local residents.
The addition of blackjack tables and other table game such as roulette, craps and mini baccarat are now pulling patrons away from the slot machines in favor of casino games they feel more in control of, especially blackjack.
Staff noticed a difference in the noise, energy and excitement of the casinos’ patrons when the table games were opened. They truly feel that the addition of blackjack and other casino table games is the reason.
“Primarily, they [table games] are the most exciting part of the gaming floor – the noise and action there dominates the rest of the casino,” said gaming expert David G. Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz is the director of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research.
So what makes for the change in the dynamic at these western Pennsylvania casinos? Can the addition of blackjack and other table games really have that big of an impact? And can they really push slot machines off to the side?
Yes, table games can change the dynamic of a casino floor, but this is because table games, like blackjack, offer a different playing experience. Table games offer players more camaraderie while playing. Even though blackjack is a player vs. dealer sort of game, having other players at the same table boosts the feeling of ‘we are in this together,’ whereas slots are a more individual game.
Because of the single player feeling and the actual design of the machines themselves, slots can literally be pushed off to the sides of a casino, against the walls and to line walkways.
Patrons seem to be quite happy with the addition of blackjack. Bill Shuba, who is a blackjack player, says that he probably will not be back to the casino in West Virginia he patronized before the addition of the blackjack tables to the western Pennsylvania casinos. In his words, “[They] probably won’t see me anymore.” This was said before he sat down at a $25 minimum blackjack table at the Meadows on the blackjack tables’ debut.