When it comes to the world of gambling and gaming, there are few brands that are more innovative than the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. They’ve found success everywhere from The Strip in Las Vegas, to middle America spots like Pennsylvania, to Macau, China. Their latest novelty could be one that changes the game.
At the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, the company has installed a set of hybrid table games, which combines live dealers with the rapid-fire quickness of slot machines. But you’re still playing table games. This has been done in Macau before, but now Sands is trying it out in the United States. They’re calling it a stadium as Sands has set up 150 seats in the area, complete with game screens, a live dealer in the middle of the action, and tiered seating like a stadium.
Originally, Las Vegas Sands had Infusion in its place, which was a juice bar that didn’t move the needle for revenue. It was a costly mistake that came with a $5 million price to remove it, but at least it looks like what’s replaced it is a hit. The early popularity of hybrid gaming stadiums looks like it will turn into a big deal, which means Sands will make that money back and then some. Other casinos are already trying it out as Parx Casino in Bensalem and Mohegan Sun in Wilkes-Barre will have 50 and 20 seats, respectively, but it is nothing like Sands, which always does it big.
It works pretty simply as there will be the 150 seats and screens with players at each of them. A live dealer will be in the middle, dealing out a hand that each player can see on their screen. The whole process works faster, though, because you don’t have to stop to cash in or pay off, as the machine does it all for you. That’s a big part of the attraction. When you’re done with that “table”, you can press a button and receive a voucher that you will go and cash out. There is no in-between each round, which means you can stick to business and play faster.
Also, anyone can play because a bet is not affected by anyone else’s play. You won’t even see anyone’s amount, so intimidation won’t be a factor. The other main draw is the limits. Sands is offering bets as low as $5 for blackjack, which is not something they currently offer during busy times. In the past, it might not have been worth it to them to open up a separate $5 table, but now that the machines are handling it, it can be accommodated. One last cool feature is the language selection. You can choose which one you want, so the games are friendly to visitors from other countries.
This is a plan to attract younger players, which is something that a lot of casinos are trying to do. Remember, this is a generation that is used to multitasking and betting online, so land-based table games sometimes feel like they go at a snail’s pace to them. And for the casino, what better than to have their players go through more hands and more money? The whole stadium concept creates a live buzz in the casino and it’s become an area in which a lot of players want to be.
As a result, Sands brought in over $225 million in 2015 from their table games (Parx came in second, at roughly $70 million less than Sands). A lot of casinos are waiting to see how this works out for Sands over a longer trend, but if it keeps up expect these hybrid gaming stadiums to be appearing in casinos across the country.