If you are heading off to a casino resort in California, or perhaps crossing the state line into Nevada, there is a fair chance you have honed your blackjack skills or roulette strategy beforehand. These games, along with poker, craps and baccarat, spring to mind when we picture ourselves playing at the casino; an image perhaps reinforced by their various casino scenes in popular movies.
And yet, while classic games have held up for decades, there is more pressure coming from new tech-heavy casino games, as well as some market forces. From 2000-2018, the state of Nevada saw a decline of nearly 30% of its blackjack tables, representing an inflation-adjusted 46% loss of revenue from the game. We can speculate about the reasons for this, including the loosening of gambling laws in other states. However, the raft of new games must also have had an impact.
New variants challenging the old guard
Indeed, when we look at the online casino industry and the various tech-orientated conventions that signal changes in both arms of the industry, we can see that there is a shaking of the traditional pillars of classic casino games. It’s not that they are being replaced, exactly; rather, it’s a matter of revamping and reshaping them for modern consumption.
The idea of messing with a classic might almost seem almost sacrilegious to some fans; after all, games like blackjack grew popular because of the math involved and the chance of beating the house through strategy. The probability, as any good card counter will tell you, rests on a knife-edge, so messing with the formula can be tantamount to destroying the fundamentals of the game.
So where does the attraction lie? Two areas tend to dominate the evolution of casino games: Prizes and the entertainment of players. For the former, we have seen a raft of new variants arrive, offering bigger jackpot prizes attached to the classic versions of the game. Even a retro classic like video poker, which you can see here at www.casino.com/uk/videopoker/, has been supercharged with bigger jackpots and gameplay. New technology has been used to add jackpot prizes to games like roulette and poker, even within the live dealer versions.
Video games and casino games will crossover
But as we move into the 2020s, it’s the entertainment factor that might become more integral to the future of classic games. Many of us grew up with the idealized version of what it meant to play casino games, perhaps fostered by movies like The Sting, Rain Man and James Bond. But many millennials do not share these memories, and there is plenty of research to suggest that they are eschewing traditional casino games. That has casino bosses from Macau to Monte Carlo to Nevada worried.
So, one of the main solutions mooted to attract the generations born after the 1980s is the merging of casino games and video games. Developers are already working on the next generation of casino games, which will involve the kind of skills needed for video-gaming rather than the head for math needed by top card players. It’s likely that by the end of the 2020s, you will be able to play games as diverse as Pac-Man and Fortnite for money.
Will the classic casino games survive this onslaught? The most likely answer is that they will, given the fact they have already withstood the test of modernity. However, the delivery and consumption of these games might be markedly different. We will have to wait and find out whether that turns out to be a good thing.