It looks like slot machines are the new poker tables, with a Las Vegas slots increase forming a direct correlation to the decrease in poker tables and rooms that have been found in the casinos of the city over the last few years. Take the case of the Tropicana: when it opened a poker room in 2011, it unfortunately coincided with the events of Black Friday, and now less than a year and a half later the casino has shut down the poker room and brought in more slot machines instead.
It seems as though one of the big motivations behind the change is that poker games are just not a money maker for casinos any more, while slot machine games are a real draw and can bring in extra business for those casinos which make sure to include them. It used to be that the poker games themselves were the big draw – casinos could accept that they did not make much money because of the fact that they would get players inside the building who would then go off to play other games as well – but now it seems as though they just are not as popular as they used to be.
In the past two years in Las Vegas, which is often considered to be the centre of the poker world, at least eight different poker rooms have folded, given way to refurbishments and more slots as casinos compete to survive in a world where the yearly revenue goes down more often than it goes up. When you look across the US you can see a general extension of this trend, from the riverboars in the Mississippi to the big city gambling halls, taking in Indian casinos along the way.
“I just think the allure of poker is lessening,” said William Thompson, author of “Gambling in America” and professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “That’s one reason the smaller casinos would just say, ‘Hey it’s not worth all the time to set everything up. A slot machine would do a lot better.'”