Doesn’t it always seem to be the case that when you decide to take some time off for vacation, something major happens in the business you temporarily left behind?

That happened to me this year when, as I was on a boat off Cape Cod having mixed success fishing for Stripped Bass, I happened to check my Blackberry (I know, very old school) and found a number of urgent emails regarding the Bally Technology acquisition of SHFL entertainment for a cool $1.3 billion.

Without a doubt, this was a very big deal on a whole slew of levels. On paper, the combination of Bally and SHFL should be a formidable combination, a seemingly perfect match of a major slot manufacturer with a major table games supplier; providing an opportunity for operators to one-stop shop for many of their gaming floor needs. It will be interesting to see how the combined enterprise goes about producing and marketing its wares.

The acquisition/merger also emphasizes the rebirth of importance table games are having on the casino gaming scene. As recently as 10 years ago, many gaming cognoscenti openly wondered if table games were on their way out; to be replaced by ever more profitable and exciting slot machines. Today, table games have undergone a remarkable rebirth, thanks to factors including the popularity of televised poker, the acceptance of the games among the young, the seemingly seamless transference of the games into mobile and social formats and the growing importance and popularity of electronic table games in both domestic and overseas markets.

Still, for all this success and consumer desire for the table games experience, entrée into this segment of the market continues to be tough. Each year, entrepreneurs come up with hundreds of new table game concepts they hope will attract the attention of either casino operators or table game manufacturers (see Innovations/Insights article on page 36). Few succeed.

Fortunately, there is a place these table game dreamers can turn to for some help. Raving Consulting, with the help of BNP Media, the parent company of Casino Journal, is once again sponsoring the Raving Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, which will take place November 18-20 at Paris Las Vegas. As in previous years, the conference will include a wide array of table game-oriented sessions, including:

• Table Game Trends and Analysis: The UNLV Center for Gaming Research 2nd Annual Table Games Report;

• Jim Kilby’s Straight Talk on the Best Ways to Positively Impact Your Table Game Business

• The Two Ends of the Table Game Profit Spectrum: Dr. Eliot’s Top 5 Ways to Win More or Lose Less; and

• When Self-Interests Collide: Inventors and Operators Discuss How to Make a New Table Game Successful.

Equally interesting is the event’s trade show floor, which will showcase new table game concepts from smaller, start-up companies. These exhibitors will also get a chance to compete inCasino Journal’s Best New Table Games of 2013 Competition.  This competition is designed to recognize those new table games and their inventors, companies and promoters, whose new games, as judged by casino table game operators and marketing executives, have the best combination of player appeal, ease of understanding and potential commercial success.

The Gold winner of the Best New Table Game Competition will receive floor space at Bucky’s Casino, Arizona, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, Oregon, and Muckleshoot Indian Casino, Washington.

 Getting a foot, or in this case a table leg, in the door can never be a bad thing.