Is The Death Of Blackjack Coming Soon? The short answers are yes and no.
During this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) I noticed a lack of new or interesting blackjack games or side bets. This annual gaming expo is where the casino industry goes to look for new ideas and games for their casinos.
G2E is a showcase for casino games and concepts that will be in casinos immediately and in the future. In both cases, the games on display are a good look at the casino or today, in the upcoming year, and way down the line.
Electronic table games (ETGs) are a great example of what G2E offers. These games have been on display at G2E for nearly a decade. Some of these games have been in casinos since first debuting at G2E. However, it wasn’t until recently that we started seeing these games infiltrate casino floors en masse.
It will be nearly impossible to visit a casino without some kind of electronic, video, or stadium blackjack games next year. The new versions of these games compliment the live dealer games so many casino guests love.
Different Types Of Table Game Manufacturers At G2E
The expo floor at G2E is similar to a casino. Most of the space at the expo is dedicated to slot machines. There are other games on display but there are fewer just like you see visiting a casino.
Table games on display at G2E are split into a few categories.
The large gaming manufacturers (Scientific, IGT, etc.) dedicate a small portion of their expo space to table games (electronic or traditional) and side bets. These companies mostly focus on selling slots and other machine games.
There are companies that only offer ETGs and stadium gaming installations at G2E. Interblock is one of the largest of this type of gaming manufacturers. You may remember the name from the recent Pulse Arena installations. These companies have installations of all sizes for casino game buyers.
Lastly, there are smaller companies with as little as one table game on display. We try to explore new games like Down Under Blackjack when they reach casinos. This company was at G2E once again.
Not Many Blackjack Games At G2E
This year at G2E there were few live and electronic versions of blackjack on display at all three types of companies. Blackjack games were not front and center the way they used to be.
There were some blackjack games but they took a backseat to craps, roulette, and baccarat. There weren’t even many new concept games at G2E this year.
Lack Of New Blackjack Games Not Entirely Surprising
It isn’t too surprising not to see many new blackjack games even though it’s the most popular in casinos based on the number of tables. Nowadays, casino operators are looking to increase revenue wherever they can.
One of the main reasons blackjack is such a popular game with gamblers is that it offers one of the lowest house edges in a casino. Games with a lower house edge allow gamblers to play longer and possibly walk away as a winner more often than games where the casino has a greater advantage.
Blackjack players like to trade in the volatility of carny games for steady play. This is one of the most attractive qualities of blackjack to me.
There have been many blackjack rules changes to increase the house edge over the years. The most drastic change has been the proliferation of games that pay players 6:5 instead of 3:2 when they receive a natural blackjack.
There just aren’t many rules left to change before blackjack games become entirely unappealing to even recreational blackjack players. Even if a low house edge isn’t on the mind of a blackjack player, many will notice that there’s less time at the table when the advantage for the casino is too large.
Casinos are looking at other options than blackjack games to increase revenue.
Blackjack Isn’t Going Away Tomorrow
The lack of blackjack games at G2E is concerning but the game isn’t leaving casinos right now. This could be a blip or the beginning of a trend.
Casino operators are looking for games that will generate revenue lost last year due to Covid-19. Visitors to Las Vegas casinos have noticed the increase of crapless craps games in casinos this year. This game is similar to craps with a higher edge for the casino.
The lack of blackjack games at G2E could be a short-term change by manufacturers to help casinos deal with lost revenue. It could also be a sign that fewer casinos are looking to add new blackjack games in the future.
Blackjack is still a popular game in casinos. The game isn’t going away right now regardless. Casinos are still trying to find the right mix for the gaming floor in 2021 and beyond.
In the meantime, there are more electronic solutions and higher minimums at live dealer blackjack games. We’re definitely keeping our eyes out for more blackjack trends inside casinos around the country.