Casinos Bet on Table Games Taking Over Slot Machines


Slot machines, the casino games that generally take up the most room at casino floors, are losing ground in the land based casinos in Maryland because younger gamblers prefer to play table games more and old gamblers are not enough in number to keep the slot stools busy.

It appears that skill games are taking over slots as Maryland’s three largest casinos, namely Hollywood Casino Perryville, Maryland Live and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, have removed 1,350 slot machines which is a 16% cut over the past 15 months. Apparently the interest in slots has decreased as these casinos are making room for more table games, restaurant space and other amenities.

The decline of slots popularity in Maryland’s casinos also has revenue implications for this US state. The taxes on slot machine earnings at these casinos are from 57 to 61%. In comparison, earnings from table games in the state are taxed at a 20% rate. The casinos in Maryland have produced $833 million in gross gaming revenue in 2014.

The same thing can also be felt in Nevada where the number of slots has decreased from 217,000 in 2001 to 175,000 in 2014. Earnings from slots have also fallen. Casinos in Nevada record a 20% cut in slots revenue between 2007 and 2014 according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada.

An example of how casinos are trying to stem that tide can be seen in the new skill gaming legalization recently introduced in Las Vegas. Nevada’s governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill that allows the development and creation of interactive slot games. These skill based slots would presumably become appealing to younger players who don’t seem interested in playing traditional slots. Casinos and slot machine developers can now freely pursue slot games that will minor video games and have some level of skill into the gaming experience rather than pure chance.

The growth of table games at some land based US casinos can also be seen online where it is possible to play table games against real dealers. Live casinos are hitting the ground and are becoming more and more popular, with many of the more prominent online casinos having a live dealer section in place already. Live casino games offer a realistic and authentic online casino gaming experience from the comfort of the home.

Del. Eric G. Luedtke, the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight, believes that the trend of casinos switching from slots to table games is an expected part of the business. In a way casinos are responding to the consumer demand.

Regarding the idea of introducing skill based slots in Maryland, he says that Nevada and Maryland are in two different positions in the gambling industry. “I simply don’t think that we are ready to have that conversation in Maryland, at least not now,” he said.