weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Gaming theory: Play table games at Las Vegas mall to learn ropes

The best way to attract new players to table games? Take away the gambling.

That’s the theory behind Casino Quest, a casino game education space set to open at the Fashion Show mall this month. Run by Casino Education Group, which operates the CEG Dealer School in Las Vegas, the space would allow guests to rent a table by the hour to compete against friends or learn how to play.

“There will be no money. You pay to access the space,” said Casino Quest CEO David Noll. “It’s going to be (for) people who are risk-averse. It’s going to be (for) people who want to learn the game.”

Less intimidating environment

The facility’s founders were able to test run their idea this year during March Madness.

The Fashion Show reached out to the dealer school, whose YouTube channel has close to 12,000 subscribers, and invited it to hold an event that would introduce shoppers to table games for free, with students acting as the dealers.

“We were packed,” Noll said. “Monday night, the mall was closing at 9 p.m., and we couldn’t close tables.”

Casino Quest has obtained all the necessary licenses aside from a county license, which is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday. The facility is set to open on Black Friday, the busiest day of the year at the mall.

“I’m very optimistic about (opening day),” said Fashion Show general manager Brent Gardner. “I’m happy to have a tenant come in that will offer something so unique.”

The space is set to have a mix of table games — one craps, one roulette, one baccarat and four blackjack — and will give students from the casino school Noll manages a chance to practice dealing to players in a real-world setting.

For the players, Casino Quest offers a casual venue where they can take their time learning a game without being under the watchful eyes of pit bosses or more experienced players. The student dealers will be able to ease new players into the game, teaching them rules and helping them along as they play.

While some casino properties offer sessions that teach the rules of table games, the Casino Quest team said the hours are limited and the instructors aren’t allowed to use real casino chips, meaning the lessons often rely on verbal commands.

“In turn,” Noll said, “the level of engagement is low, the conversion rate is low.”

“We wanted to move that training experience off the casino floor into places that people are less intimidated,” he said.

Gardner said the space is a perfect fit for the Fashion Show and helps the mall offer its visitors a diverse range of entertainment options.

“When people spend all day shopping, they’re looking for things to entertain them,” he said. “I’ve never seen this offered in any shopping center I’ve had the privilege to manage. … It’s definitely going to fit a niche in that regard.”

Experiential-based offerings like Casino Quest are a growing trend in local shopping centers, according to Bryan Wachter, senior vice president of government and public affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada.

He said as the e-commerce market has ballooned over the last few years, malls have had to adjust. Experiential offerings are one way to get people in the door, and they could incentivise people to spend money at other outlets while they’re at the shopping center.

“These are community gathering places now,” Wachter said. “You have to give consumers a reason to go into your store.”

Social experience

Noll said the tables attracted players of all ages during the March Madness event, including a highly sought-after demographic by casinos: millennials.

Unlike most casinos, Casino Quest would let players record their games and share photos and videos on social media. This could be a big incentive for younger crowds — a 2014 report from Ipsos and CrowdDNA found that nearly half of millennials say they attend events so they have something to share on social channels.

“Young people, they like the social engagement. They don’t want to put their phones down,” Noll said. “They want to be able to interact (online). They want to be able to engage with the tables. … Casinos, right now, aren’t set up for that.”

Studies have shown millennials — those ages 23 to 38 — are attracted to social offerings. A 2016 report from Harris Group found 78 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences as opposed to material things. Alex Kim, president of Casino Quest, said table games fit right in.

“It’s a very popular thing now to play casino table games with your friends without money involved. You’re just playing a game, having fun,” Kim said. “It’s more like a social thing.”

And while younger, inexperienced players could drop hundreds of dollars as they try to teach themselves craps or blackjack at a casino, Noll said Casino Quest presents an environment with no rush to make a move and no money on the line.

Once players have learned the ropes, Casino Quest will act as a pipeline to local casinos, Noll said. The venue is planning to offer an app that would reward customers for visiting casinos and offer discounts at certain properties.

“We’re going to create new points of contact for them, new customers,” Noll said. “This is not meant to be a takeaway (from casinos). This is meant to be leverage.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino at the Golden Nugget on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fire damages 7 cars at Las Vegas airport parking garage - VIDEO
Firefighters on Saturday morning extinguished a car blaze that damaged six other vehicles in a parking garage at McCarran International Airport. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Changes Everything: Grandma - LVCVA ad
"Grandma" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
Vegas Changes Everything: Chaos - LVCVA ad
"Chaos" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
New allegations involved Steve, Elaine Wynn - VIDEO
The new allegations were presented Friday in a motion that included a 2018 affidavit, alleging former hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen tried to convince a friend to say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son. The affidavit also included new allegations suggesting Elaine Wynn and Nielson orchestrated the assault scandal. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fitness chain Life Time acquires former Sullivan Square site
Fitness chain Life Time has acquired the former Sullivan Square site in Las Vegas for $14 million. The southwest valley property, across the street from Ikea, is little more than a giant hole in the ground. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm outlet mall changing its name - VIDEO
Chad Dillow, co-owner of Step Right Up, is building his attraction at Prizm Outlets, which recently changed it name from Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, in Primm. It will include 3D trick art, ax throwing, escape rooms and carnival-themed games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Phil Maloof on selling his Palms Place penthouse.
Phil Maloof sold his 59th-floor penthouse at Palms Place. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bleutech announces Las Vegas land purchase deal
Bleutech Park Properties reached a purchase agreement for 210 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, project spokesman Tom Letizia announced Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at a news conference at the M Resort. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stolen Dodge Challenger found, suspect arrested - VIDEO
A $250,000 custom-built Dodge Challenger was stolen on Oct. 30, 2019, just before it was to be displayed at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas this week. The thief was found by an Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, who rammed the trooper's car with the Challenger and got away. The suspect was ultimately arrested and the car recovered. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terbine's, a tech firm, decision to relocate business from Bay Area to Las Vegas
Terbine's, a tech firm, decision to relocate business from Bay Area to Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
A walk through the historic Huntridge Theater in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The Huntridge Theater became a musical venue in 1992 and was a staging ground for groups on the rise and alternative superstars, from Smashing Pumpkins to Sarah McLachlan, the Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day and Fugazi. The venue has been closed since 2004. This video, taken on Oct. 31, 2019, shows what's left of the theater after 15 years. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International looking to sell another property
MGM Resorts International is working to sell its MGM Grand property on the Las Vegas Strip. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Developer Sam Cherry reveals plans for shareDOWNTOWN.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz will attend this event where plans are revealed for a future apartment complex in the Arts District. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion update - VIDEO
Take a drive outside of the new Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project. (Severiano Galvan/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Binion's debuts a spinning bar overlooking Fremont Street Experience - VIDEO
Binion's debuted its spinning bar inside the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon. The Rotating bar only goes at one full rotation per 15 minutes overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Day 3 of the 2019 Global Gaming Expo
Day 3 of the 2019 Global Gaming Expo took place at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Southern Nevada could set a new resale-price record in coming months.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes – the bulk of the market – was $310,000 in September. Before the economy crashed last decade, prices peaked in June 2006 at $315,000, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Walmart container park in Henderson - VIDEO
Henderson could be home to a container park associated with a Walmart Inc. initiative. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resorts World construction update - Video
Resorts World Las Vegas continues its construction on the Las Vegas Strip. Review-Journal studio host Aaron Drawhorn and business reporter Rick Velotta go over the newest updates in the construction. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recession lessons could help Las Vegas face next slump - VIDEO
While the last economic downturn had a dramatic impact on local casinos, most experts expect the industry will be better able to weather the storm during the next recession. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
St. Rose Parkway Construction - Video
St. Rose Parkway continues to have construction along the six-and-a-half mile road. Review-Journal studio host Aaron Drawhorn and business reporter Eli Segall go over the construction projects that are coming to Henderson.
MGM and victims of Oct. 1 reach settlement agreement - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International and lawyers representing potentially thousands of victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip have reached a tentative settlement of between $735 million and $800 million. (Mat Luschek /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Live music and EDM dominate the night on day 2 of A’Le’Innstock
After sunset bands rocked the crowds at A’Le’Innstock in Rachel, Nevada on the second night of the event.
iPhone 11 Release
Local Las Vegas long time Apple product consumer shares her excitement for the new iPhone 11 release Downtown Summerlin. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lihi Levin talks about a mobil app Dropit - VIDEO
Lihi Levin, regional manager at Dropit Shopping, talks about a mobil app Dropit. The app lets customers leave their shopping bags at a store then have them delivered the same day to their home or hotel so they can shop without carrying multiple bags all day. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
North Las Vegas company prepares for Mars - VIDEO
Robert Bigelow and his Bigelow Aerospace manufacturing facility played host to eight NASA astronauts and 60 engineers this week getting to know the company’s B330 autonomous, expandable space station. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
IGT CFO Alberto Fornaro resigning

After reporting positive third quarter earnings, International Game Technology revealed Monday that its executive vice president and chief financial officer has resigned.