Electronic table games continue to soar in popularity, manufacturers prepare to meet the growing demand
It should come as no surprise that the electronic table games market has exploded onto the scene and continues to gain popularity among players and operators. After all, the devices tick a lot of the boxes for casinos—not only are they convenient for the customer, they also provide huge labor- and cost-savings for the table games pit area.
Although electronic table games (ETGs) have been around for quite some time now, they’ve only just begun to take off thanks to their growing popularity in Asia, Europe and certain U.S.-based gaming markets; where regulations makes them the only allowable form of table games.
In response, a number of slot manufacturers have recently either acquired or made distribution deals with ETG vendors to fill out their product lines and meet the new demand from operators and enthusiastic players.
“Casino operators are looking for new ways to gain incremental gaming revenue with new and more gamblers,” said Betty Zhao, chief operating officer for LT Game, who partnered with IGT in August last year. “Electronic table games help provide this by introducing a table game product in a less intimidating environment, with a lower minimum bet and [allowing] more people to participate in the game.”
According to Zhao, this market just keeps growing, and the biggest operators have seen the advantages of adding product to their floors, even creating specific gaming areas for them. She explains that they are continuing to expand because the players of today are always looking for what’s next and what’s new—and right now, that is electronic table games and the type of gaming environment they create.
“Electronic table games allow players to kind of learn at their own speed and pick it up,” said Gabriel Baron, general manager and senior manager of electronic table systems for Scientific Games. “We find a lot of the players then eventually graduate to the live tables. It really does help the live table business in casinos gain new customers in the long run.”
When it comes to a “typical” ETG player, Baron believes there really isn’t one type any longer. While he agrees that a lot of slot players are trying electronic games to learn how to play tables, he also has found that traditional table games players, low-limit players and Millennials all participate in ETG play.
Zhao agrees, but explained that this group is seen as a totally new segment of players. “The typical ETG player is someone that has some interest in tables but prefers the less intimating environment. They enjoy a faster-paced game as well. [They] are not always a die-hard slot player or die-hard table player,” she said. “The typical electronic table game player will continue to evolve as new ETG product, both automated and live, comes into the market.”
New trends and technologies in gaming always impact the casino products market, and ETGs are no exception. One issue Baron pointed out is that most ETGs, so far, only attract low-stakes gamblers and wagers, at least when compared to live table games. “We know players like to play they’re favorite games, and we like to present players with their favorite games in electronic format,” he said. “So the challenge we have is to continue to come up with side bets, progressives and other original ideas that leave the main game itself available for players, but also attract slot players and younger players who are willing to accept the volatility of a wager that has a high pay out.”
You would think that the online gaming market would raise flags and threaten to affect the health of the new ETG market in North America. But Baron said that it isn’t anything to worry about, and Zhao agrees, even going as far to say it will only help it.
“Today’s players want things quick and smooth, like the ability to do multiple things at once,” said Zhao. “ETGs give players the variety and flexibility to achieve this in their gaming experience. Players continue to learn of about the different gaming experiences offered online and might seek this experience in a live casino environment.”
Overall, it seems that with more and more casino-goers becoming more technologically savvy, thanks to online gaming and the increase of technology in our everyday lives, playing ETGs will be a natural and exciting transition for them. Naturally, as the number of ETG players grow, so too will the amount and variety of new electronic table games. Here is Casino Journal’s roundup of some of the latest and greatest electronic table game products hitting this expanding market:
LT Game is one of the major gaming and casino providers specializing in developing table game automation and innovating technologies that not only improve game efficiency, but optimize operations, according to company press materials. LT Game signed a partnership distribution agreement last August with International Game Technology (IGT). As the two seek to expand their global market share and product portfolio, this partnership will provide the opportunity to leverage existing sales and service and compliance infrastructures, and will drive revenues from incremental product segments.
According to Zhao, LT’s bestselling ETG product is the patented Live Multi Game System (LMG), which offers players the flexibility and convenience of being able to view and play multiple live broadcasted games simultaneously. This enhances the players experience while increasing game productivity for operators as well.
“The LMG provides first-rate live table gaming and is unparalleled in the electronic gaming world,” said Zhao. “It not only preserves the essential element of the table game, which is the dealer-player human interaction, but it is also built with a sophisticated high-tech platform.”
New from LT Game is the E-Baccarat table. This device allows five to 10 customers to play simultaneously and still get the experience and the excitement of playing a traditional baccarat table, but with the convenience of automated play and payouts.
It’s devices such as the E-Baccarat table that really sets LT Game apart from the competition, Zhao explained. “[LT Game offers an] unlimited connective to live table games,” she said. “And [other] significant features that increase table game productivity and efficiency, compared to the traditional products, in terms of increasing number of hands played per hour, as well as improving labor-to-player ratio.”
As an originator and leading provider of modern electronic live games, Novomatic products offer guests an authentic gaming experience at reduced costs for operators. With a growing assortment of games, Novomatic provides operators with high quality solutions for supreme electronic live gaming entertainment in style, according to company literature.
Today, the company’s electronic live games are based on the innovative NOVO LINE Novo Unity II platform, with the unique feature of flexible interconnection of a variety of electronic live and slot games on a practically unlimited number of individual player stations. This multi-game functionality allows operators to link any number of terminals to any number of different games, as well as a great slot games offering all within one installation, therefore choosing the best from server based slot gaming solutions and electronic live games.
Novomatic’s electronic live games include the fully automated game versions (Novo Multi-Roulette), the semi-automated, dealer-operated versions (Novo TouchBet Live-Roulette) as well as the virtual game versions (such as the Novo Flying Roulette). The respective game versions are available for a great range of electronic live games such as roulette, baccarat, bingo, various poker variants, blackjack as well as sic bo.
Their popular cabinets such as the Novo-Bar, available in slant top or bar top configuration, or the NOVOSTAR SL1 slant top cabinet, have a perfect ergonomic fit and display the game ideally for maximum player experience.
According to Baron, Scientific Games’ best seller is their Table Master Fusion. According to company press materials, this ETG brings the fast-paced excitement of live table games to a fully electronic platform. With a contemporary design, it has a modern look and feel that enhances player experience. The five-seat table design gives operators with the opportunity to offer some of the most popular table games, including blackjack, three card poker and Texas hold’em, 24 hours a day.
Their Fusion Hybrid, and Fusion Virtual Multigames, which have already gained popularity in Australia and Asia before hitting the U.S. market, are terminal-based products that connect players with live baccarat, roulette, and sic bo games. They are both suitable for stadium-style and smaller environment configurations, allowing modular, configurable floor layout options and comes with a variety of lighting color options. Betting timers are configurable for each game, allowing a truly customizable experience.
What’s on the horizon? “In electronic tables there’s always going to be a nicer screen and new technology,” said Baron. “So we’re looking at new touchscreen technology for our products and better resolution for our screens. We’re looking at how we can integrate all of our content into those as seamlessly as possible, so we don’t alienate players who already enjoy what our products look like, while at the same time continuing to advance with market needs and [what it] dictates.”
Specializing in electronic table games and established in 1989, Interblock is a worldwide brand of high-quality multiplayer gaming machines and services. According to the company website, their electromechanical and electronic gaming solutions provide casinos, arcades and gambling halls worldwide with superior product performance and their guests an exceptional gaming experience.
Among their latest innovations, according to company press materials, is the G5 MiniStar Roulette with eight G5 play stations, that is billed as the smallest and best performing eight-seat product from Interblock’s newly launched G5 family of gaming products. It is available with a single- or double-zero wheel, and spans a mere two meters in diameter, making it a perfect fit for smaller casinos. G5 MiniStar Roulette also offers the Golden Chip mystery progressive jackpot system, fast result detection, additional side bets and excellent roulette wheel visibility.