Table games have been slow to catch up to the technological revolution happening on the slot machine side of gaming, but that’s changing.
On Tuesday, table game manufacturers at the annual Global Gaming Expo, or G2E, showed off some of their latest products striving to narrow that gap while fostering a lively, social gaming experience.
“Slots have advanced significantly because they themselves are centric in technology,” said Brendan Bussmann, partner at Global Market Advisors consulting firm. “Table play still is about interaction that technology can’t replace.”
Gaming manufacturers such as Interblock Gaming are working to advance the table game experience. The pit “hasn’t really done much to evolve” compared with slot machines, and that’s where Interblock has found space to innovate, marketing director Bethany Kozal said Tuesday at The Venetian Expo.
‘A destination on the floor’
The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Las Vegas, showcased some of its hardest-to-miss products at the convention. Its Pulse Arena stadium product combines electronic, automated table games and live gaming — live dealers dish out cards at a table and players at any one of the affiliated gaming stations play the hand. Alternatively, the games can run with an automated dealer function.
Interblock’s Pulse Arena video wall shows the dealer table or tables and features a DJ and what Kozal dubbed “dealertainers” who deal cards as well as sing or dance.
The Pulse Arena can change lighting to fit the mood an operator wants on the floor, she said. The Pulse Arena Halo works similarly but with a tall, attention-grabbing ringed LED display rather than a wall.
“It creates a destination on the casino floor,” Kozal said. “It creates this new energy vibe that really marries that nightclub vibe with your casino floor.”
The Halo is at Resorts World Las Vegas and just launched this week at Palazzo, she said.
“What we find is once we’ve got a few players sitting down in our stadium, the seatings all fill up because people want to game around other people, and they want to have fun,” said Kevin Parker, Interblock’s director of gaming operations.
The company is awaiting approval to launch a craps table product that allows players to play at individual machines until it’s their turn to roll dice at the live table, Kozal said.
Interblock’s multigame machines allow players to bet on multiple hands or games at the same time, such as roulette, blackjack or baccarat. International Game Technology plans an “imminent” launch of its own concurrent table game software once it completes testing, said Paul Baskerville, director of electronic table game product management.
The software will update existing electronic table games in a stadium setup to allow them to place bets on up to 12 different games at once, Baskerville said. The update will apply to its Dynasty communal gaming products, he said.
The product will also come with an autobet function if a player happens to like their bets and wants to stick with them for a particular game, Baskerville said.
Las Vegas-based Scientific Games Corp. is debuting four new renditions of its Quartz electronic table games product line, including Stadium Craps, Stadium Ultimate Texas Hold’em Roulette X and Dragon Tail Baccarat.
The company also had its Kyber augmented reality table game series, which combines projections and object recognition technology. Scientific Games has new additions to its GM Atlas table progressive operating systems with the Magic Card Progressive, Must Hit By Jackpot and Cash Spin Bonus Wheel.
‘Having fun together’
Players at an electronic roulette table by Swedish manufacturer Tangiamo Touch Technology might be shocked to find out their own electricity is key to play the game.
Metal sensors on Tangiamo’s roulette tables register a player’s electric current to track who is placing which bets, said Tim Cook, a developer with Tangiamo.
Players place one hand on the metal sensor and use the other to tap their bets on the electronic screen — infrared sensors at the table help match the player to the bet.
The company on Tuesday highlighted its new features for the table: an automated roulette wheel that can be disabled for a live dealer and a function that allows players to bet on roulette hands from afar, CEO Linh Thai said.
Tangiamo is also launching gaming cabinets that play like table games, complete with a glass-encased dice roller.
“It’s my baby,” she said.
Gaming at a slot machine can get “lonely” when it’s just one person, Thai said. The table game cabinets buck that through an ability to host up to five players.
“That is the thing with gambling, that we’re having fun together,” Thai said.
Tangiamo products have yet to arrive in U.S. casinos. Tangiamo sells to emerging gaming markets such as the Caribbean, Russia and the Philippines. But Thai said the company is hoping to expand into the states by starting in New York before heading to the “mecca” of Nevada.
“I want to be everywhere. We want to be everywhere,” she said. “But we need to think twice. Think small and get bigger.”
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian Expo, The Venetian and Palazzo.