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To reverse fortune of table games, stop squeezing the players, experts say

November 30th, 2016 · No Comments · Blackjack News

In the early ’80s, a battle was fought and lost in the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The result, said two experts at the Cutting Edge Table games conference being held at the Flamingo Las Vegas this week, was that slot machines won the high ground on the casino floor.

“1984. What does that year mean to us?” Michael A. Meczka, president of Meczka Marketing Research Consulting, said during a session titled “We Have Met the Enemy: It is Us!” “In 1984, across Nevada and Atlantic City, it was the year when slot revenue began to exceed table revenue.”

Corporate ownership may be more to blame for the decline of table games — and also diminishing gambling revenue in Las Vegas — than any generational shift if the arguments of Meczka and other speakers on Tuesday, the second day of the conference, hold any weight.

“The reality of life is slots have overpowered table games and if we’re going to get any regeneration of players we’re going to have to figure out ways better than we have now to improve the table game experience,” he said.

Meczka said the early ’80s were pivotal because that was when corporations began investing in the gaming industry.

“In 1984, the number of publicly traded companies that were gaming oriented was less than 10,” Meczka said. “Today, it’s over 100. I’ve been in multiple meetings where the first order of business is not how to take care of the customer or what does the customer want. But it’s ‘what is the value of the stock’ and ‘how can we increase the value of stock.’ Somewhere along the line we lost the concept of customer service for the gaming patron.”

Rediscovering that concept could reverse the fortunes of table games in a way that marketing to millennials probably won’t, Meczka and other conference speakers said.

“Everyone’s talking about millennials,” said keynote speaker Brian Decorah, president and CEO of the Firekeepers hotel-casino in Battle Creek, Mich. “But, when we look at it, our slot players are 62 and they have always been 62. Our table games players are 42. They have always been 42. We have not seen that change.”

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