Shifting Popularity of Various Casino Games

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Poker might have been all the rage across the saloons of the old wild west, with blackjack taking the crown during the latter part of the 20th century.  Gamblers’ preferences are a continuously changing paradigm, and their game likings reflect these shifts.

Traditional casino table games have followed the development of gambling since the inception of classic casinos four centuries ago.  One can say that there are as many different card and table games as there are stars in the sky. 

Although we’d probably find it a bit overwhelming to put together such a comprehensive list of games, the fact of the matter is that many of these came and went after only a few rounds of play.  Only the most popular games endured to this day, albeit in a somewhat modified state, while the majority of others exist today only as references in historical books.

Gamblers’ Preferences for Modern Casino Games

Even those casino games that made it to modern times have not been guaranteed enduring fame.  The primary catalyst for change in tastes occurred with the arrival of online gambling.  Back in the 1980s, land-based casinos were the king, with wagering meccas such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City ruling the roost.

This all began to change when digitalisation got introduced to the gambling industry.  Gamblers could now actively search and play specific games to which they had no prior access.  Furthermore, new land-based casino powerhouses such as Macao and Singapore began to take the limelight away from the more established gambling destinations.

As a consequence of these changes, there has been a notable shift in player behaviour, as well as that of game preferences. 

The New Digital Landscape and Casino Games

An excellent example of the ups and downs of casino games can be observed through the game of blackjack.  In 1987, blackjack accounted for over 75% of all games played along the Las Vegas Strip.  Twenty years later, that figure dropped to 55%, with the current estimate pointing to “only” half of all games played being blackjack.

In a matter of three decades, a staggering drop of 25% was recorded.  While a small decline in popularity was already noted before the arrival of online gambling, following the digital revolution this fall became more rapid. 

As more players could now play blackjack for free via online casino free-game options, the idea of going to land-based casino became less appealing.  Also, the convenience of playing from home seemed to have far outweighed the desire of gamblers to regularly travel to in-house casinos and interact with masses of other players.

On the other hand, some games profited from the new digital age.  Baccarat, for one, has seen a massive uptake of new players.  In a matter of 13 years, starting in 2004, the game’s share of players skyrocketed threefold from 4% to 12%.  Easier access to this game via online casino platforms has contributed to far more players willing to try out this intimidating-looking game.     

Casino Game Popularity = Revenue                   

Ultimately, games are all about profit and the more money a game makes, the more the casino will promote it.  When a game’s popularity starts to wane, its designated physical space also starts to contract.  Equally, a well-performing game will likely get more tables on the floor.

Once again, looking at the overall casino revenue garnered by blackjack over the last three decades, we can see a drop from approximately half of all income to just over a quarter.  Reversely, baccarat now makes close to 40% of profit across casino table games on The Strip.  Interestingly, roulette saw close to no change, even after the introduction of online gambling.  

What Does the Future Hold for Casino Game Popularity?

While there’s no crystal ball to help analyse casino game popularity, the future does not seem to look too bright for blackjack.  The faith in the former player favourite is declining, especially following several high-profile legal suits surrounding the game that have cost casinos millions.

On the other hand, the future of baccarat seems better, with many casinos dedicating more space to the game.  There’ve also been new game additions to pique the players’ interests like mini-baccarat, as well as three-card and pai gow pokers.

Times have been changing for the gambling industry over the past 30 years, and that trend looks set to continue over the next three decades.

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