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The new hierarchy in gaming18 February 2010
In the good old days of the mid-1950s, craps was the game of choice for almost all of the high rollers. Blackjack had an audience, but it couldn't match the number of craps players and the size of these craps players' bets. Look at those old black-and-white photographs of elegant ladies hanging on to feverish men who were themselves hanging on to some hope for Lady Luck's largesse. Craps was the game of choice. It ruled the casino kingdom.
In the early 1960s, owing to the card counting revolution, blackjack forged ahead of craps and by 1970 there was no doubt about it. Blackjack was the new king of the casinos — craps was now a distant second. Blackjack players could strut through the casinos knowing they ruled this new world order.
Blackjack ruled the casino world in the 1970s and early 1980s and everyone knew it. Many casinos looked like football fields littered with countless blackjack tables. The biggest comps went to blackjack players; hundreds of books were written about the game; casinos took the existence of advantage blackjack players seriously; a mythology revolved around the game with famous players, famous incidents and famous dates. The game became the icon of casino play. Blackjack players were the elite of the elite; the new masters of this casino playing planet.
And what of those one-armed bandits and their slot-playing aficionados? Harrumph! The table game players looked down upon the machines and laughed with scorn at those poor souls who played them. Casinos didn't do much in the ratings department for the slot players — there were no slots clubs in those days. Slot players were kind of like leftovers from the big meal being devoured at the tables. It was a version of this: "Hey, baby, you got nothing to do. Here's a hundred. Go over and play some slots, OK?"
In 1984, things changed dramatically in terms of casino revenues. It was the first year that slot machines brought in more money than the table games — in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Still slot players had not yet achieved individual supremacy in the house that Dame Fortune built. Check out the commercials of those days and you will see almost each and every one showed laughing, good-looking table game players having a ball. Slot players rarely made it into a commercial. If they did it was in the background usually.
Fast forward to right now. Casino gambling has spread throughout the nation. Harrah's estimates that there are some 54 million Americans who go to the casinos each year — that's more than watch American Idol and Oprah combined. Of these (hold your breath) about 40 million are slot players!
Slots now account for between 65% and 90% of various venues' revenue. And now the individual slot players are the kings and queens of the casinos. Why? Because the slot players' overall expectation is to lose far more money than table game players.
As an example, let's take a look at a one-dollar slot player in contrast to a $100 blackjack player who plays basic strategy. The blackjack player faces about a half-percent house edge. Given 80 hands per hour, he bets $8,000 with a losing expectation of just $40.
Now a one-dollar slot player putting in three coins will face about an 8% house edge. Given 12 spins a minute that means he puts in $2,160 per hour. His expected loss on that money is $172.80. Casinos base who rules the roost on how many eggs their chickens drop. And slot players are productive egg layers.
Slots players are No. 1; followed by all the other table games players. The casino world has now been turned on its head. Slot clubs abound. Slot players are lionized. Casinos hunger for slot players like vampires hungering for warm, rich blood. They hunger for slot players from Atlantic City to California. They hunger North, South, East and West. More money is spent by the casinos to feed their hunger than is spent on all the table games combined.
The smiling, happy craps players may still smile and be happy but they only make up about 2 million players. Blackjack players may think of themselves as the superior gamblers but they make up about 9 million players. The other 3 million are spread out across all those carnival games, plus roulette and baccarat. Those 40 million slot players are the casino industry, and they are the reason this industry has swallowed the country the way the blob attempted to swallow earth.
There is now no reason why slot players should hang their heads in shame. They rule. Indeed, they should learn how to stride arrogantly through the casinos the way those old-time blackjack players used to stride, because without them there would be no casinos to speak of. The world of Lady Luck would be barren indeed.
A new hierarchy has now been established; one that looks to rule for a long time to come. Say it loud. Slot players rule.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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