Where have all the Table Games Gone?

Las Vegas may still be expanding, but overall, the state of Nevada has seen a dip in gaming revenues, visitors, and yes, even table games. Because I follow a lot of weird things, I can remember the number of casinos in the 1990’s and the big expansion Vegas experienced as the valley expanded to the horizons with homes and new gaming properties, but I also remember how table games were doing at the time.

Twenty years ago the poker scene was abysmal in Nevada. I drove to downtown Las Vegas and couldn’t find a decent game anywhere on one trip, wishing I had stayed in LA, and finally settled in at the Mirage. There was no Bellagio then, the Sands, Dunes, Stardust, Desert Inn were soon to be memories, and I was frustrated. Reno wasn’t any better. The Hilton downtown was soon to be a ghost town, Harrah’s had moved their poker room (again!), and the little places like the Horseshoe, Spur, Onslow, and Harold’s Club that once had good action were a thing of the past.

Right now, there are 5676 table games in the casinos of Nevada, and 902 poker tables. The poker room total is double what it was 20 years ago, but the table games number is only a bit larger, because so many casinos outside of Las Vegas have cut-back on what they offer. You may learn the top tips for roulette, but you won’t find as many tables waiting for you anymore. Once a staple of casino gambling, the state of Nevada now has just 465 roulette wheels!

If that still sounds like a lot (although Nevada has over 200 casinos), consider that 395 of those roulette tables are in Clark County and Las Vegas. For the whole of the rest of the state (Lake Tahoe, Reno, Elko, Carson Valley) there are just 70 wheels. There used to be more than that just in Reno. Of course there are a few other changes, like the 319 baccarat tables in Clark County. That’s a big number to fit the big players who spend the big bucks, but there isn’t a full-size bac table anywhere else in the state!

For what it’s worth, there are only five Caribbean Stud tables left in the state too, all in Vegas, so it’s not all bad! And, the Big-6 Wheel (Wheel of Fortune) has also disappeared from most casinos. There are 35 wheels left in the state, but only three outside of Las Vegas. Harrah’s in Reno used to have three of their own! Maybe players just want more action and better odds for their money. Is it that, or the interaction with the dealers they want? What do you think?