How the Casino Business Has Changed

The casino business has changed a lot since the days of "Bugsy" Siegel and Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. The smoke that once filled the casino floor has lifted, and we can now see a new set of games filling the floor -- games that are advantageous to the house but lose some of the old luster of gaming.

If casinos wanted, they could go almost all-electronic these days. Here are a few of the noteworthy developments in recent years:

  • International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT  ) recently announced partners for its new cloud computing management system. It allows casinos to manage game content and maximize performance in their casinos.
  • Casinos like Las Vegas Sands' (NYSE: LVS  ) Marina Bay Sands have begun using RFID chips from companies like Gaming Partners International to enhance security of their chips.
  • It once was about the touch of the felt when gamblers were playing everything from blackjack and craps to poker, but Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL  ) is trying to change all of that with electronic table games. The company offers blackjack, roulette, and a number of other electronic games that have changed the look of the casino floor.
  • But maybe the biggest change is the advent of mobile gaming. IGT has a mobile gaming system that allows gaming from your mobile phone, a drastic change from the old casino days. The Venetian is offering some mobile gaming with its Pocketcasino gaming system.

These changes to the casino may lose some of the old feel of gaming, but they wouldn't be on the floor if they weren't good for the casino. If there's no dealer, there's no benefits to pay, and with automatic shufflers and other technologies, it's harder to gain an advantage over the house.

As gaming grows and Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN  ) , Melco Crown (Nasdaq: MPEL  ) , MGM (NYSE: MGM  ) , and Las Vegas Sands build new casinos, you can be sure more of these innovations will keep popping up.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has sold put options in Melco Crown. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

The Motley Fool owns shares of International Game Technology. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2011, at 4:00 PM, cp757 wrote:

    Travis You are right about changes since the Bugsy days .

    The Cotai strip is the new center so I thought this fun vidio would give the readers an idea.This is at the Venetion on the Cotai strip.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMQuMiywZ1I&feature=playe...

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2011, at 12:06 AM, JF125780 wrote:

    Great article Travis, with less overhead and unions to deal with the stockholders may be able to salvage a few more crumbs.

    Danny Kowkabany

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2011, at 1:19 AM, wolfman225 wrote:

    I don't think that casinos will ever go totally electronic. A great part of the enjoyment of gambling is the relationship built with the dealer(s). A good dealer can make even a losing player feel like they had a good time and a skilled dealer can keep a winning player at the table long enough to either put their winnings back in, or be a draw for other "fish" to contribute to the pool.

    I was an avid online poker player until the advent of "Black Friday", but I have always prefered the atmosphere of live gaming. There's nothing else like it. I think there will always be a demand for quality dealers, wait staff, croupiers, etc. Like the carnival barkers, they do a lot more to bring in custom than simply run the games.

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