There’s an old saying that goes, “Everything eventually comes around again.”
As I grow older, I find this very much to be true, especially with things like fashions and fads. For example, I can’t believe Rubik’s Cube has become a “thing” again, or for that matter vinyl records, which were such a pain to maintain and always warping or getting scratched. In my 50 years on this planet, I have seen 1960s fashion revived three times (once was plenty, really) and the television series Star Trek reimagined at least four times, with a fifth on the way as we speak (Live Long and Prosper, indeed).
Truth be told, one item I thought I would never see popular again were table games. When I started out in the industry in the early 1990s, they seemed well on their way out; people really preferred to play slot machines and megaresort developers were only too happy to expand gaming machine floors at the cost of table game space. This trend started to change in the 2000s, with the surprise success of televised poker tournaments. Suddenly, table games became popular with younger casino attendees, especially Millennials. Gaming operators are responding by devoting more floor space to table games and offshoots such as electronic table games. Meanwhile, the vendor community is coming out with second- and third-generation table games that feature new technologies and advanced play mechanics. Table games, it seems, are truly back.
BNP Media and Casino Journal are playing a part to help in this rebirth by sponsoring the upcoming Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, which will take place November 14-16 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (www.tablegamesconf.com). This event, according to the website, was created for serious table game executives from across the country that are sick and tired of rules, procedures and attitudes that ultimately lose customers and erode the table game business, features keynote speakers and sessions from progressive operators and the foremost executives who will address the numerous holes that leak away valuable table game profits while providing listeners with real solutions and strategies for using technology, promotions, service and marketing tools in ways never before seen. Conference highlights include:
- An opening day keynote from Johnny Walker, director of gaming operations for Muckleshoot Casino, who is responsible for more than 75 table games at the top casino in Pacific Northwest. Table games are a big part of Muckleshoot’s success, not least because Walker and his team have been consistently willing to break with conventional wisdom, successfully deploying such against-the-grain ideas as 25-cent roulette and dollar blackjack. In this opening keynote, Walker will discuss the ideas that animate his thinking about the table games business, the state of table games currently at Muckleshoot and what the future looks like.
- A program that features sessions such as “Bill Zender’s Cutting Edge Table Game Presentation,” which covers all the important areas of table games mathematics the table game executive needs to know, in addition to discussing house advantage and hold percentage numbers and gaining revenue potential through game pace, managing table limits, and optimizing side bets.
- The event’s opening night Welcome Reception on the tradeshow floor will also market the beginning of Casino Journal’s Best New Table Games of 2017 competition. After experiencing first hand each new table game on display at the reception and afterward, each attendee will vote for their top three games, based on entertainment value, application in a casino operating environment and potential for customer appeal. Winners will be announced after the Keynote Luncheon on November 16, with awards for Gold, Silver and Bronze new game winners.
As the Cutting Edge Table Games Conference shows, table games are back from the dead and in the mainstream of casino thought. I’m not sure the same can for my forlorn Pet Rock.