With casinos struggling to cope with Covid 19 effects and openings, One has to ask the question:
Are ETGs the answer?
Electronic table games or ETGs have been on the rise for the past 5 years, especially in Asia and Macau where they represent almost 30% of EGM installations. The live dealer version DETG as it is referred to in Macau, was the fastest growing sector in the years leading up to 2019.
With social distancing restrictions being par for the course for the near future at least, we see casinos reducing gaming seating to a maximum of 3 and turning off almost 50% of EGMS to increase spacing between them. Some jurisdictions even impose reducing the number of tables permitted to open. So venues need to rethink space utilisation and product placement.
We can all agree, It makes no sense keeping dead assets on your floor, it would be more beneficial to remove closed dead tables and utilise the space to maximise potential of the EGT products. If you have large installs of ETG terminals or have a stadium set up, think of re-arranging the terminals to create “socially distanced pods”, which can cater to players in a safer environment and keep all your terminals live.
With DETGs, players can access the exact games they would see on the live tables. The difference being bets are placed via terminals across the floor. As most terminals use touch screen monitors there is no chip handling and monitors are easily cleaned with sanitisers between use.
Players concerned about hygiene, can forget the cramped atmosphere of the live tables and the many hands touching casinos chips. They can relax in their own space, enjoying their private view of live tables and scorecards from private monitors or large screen LED and displays.
Some vendors like Interblock and Spintec already offer Covid Screens or Plexiglass barriers. These can be fitted on terminals giving the player some protection from each other. We have also seen this on live tables too with some dealers even kitted out in full protection gear. But with the likelihood of smaller crowds, effective space planning could allow each terminal its own area, even adding consoles to create semi-private pods, or spaces (similar to what’s been done for VIP gaming seating). This would not only offer the health and safety factor, but it also increases the comfort and status for the players and dealers don’t have to sit face to face with players (or mask to mask).
Interblock Ltd Screens
If you are concerned about ETG terminals and pods moving too far from the large screens, you could also think of adding extra screens or monitors closer to them or building a console with its own personal monitor and replicating all or parts of the main display. This should be relatively simple depending on what system you use to drive the stadium.
At IDX games, our X-Stadium system is usually used to create a “wow” factor to stadium game installs. Our dynamic gaming media system can be integrated to any vendors ETG product to read gaming results and drive awareness to hot trends, hot tables and side bets with eye catching animations. This drives excitement and more play, especially with multiple simultaneous games running. We also allow the entire screen to be utilised better for marketing and events.
Below is a sample of how X Stadium can be streamed to remote monitors close to players.
X-Stadium not only controls the content on the large screen with our “one canvas solution” but it also allows the ability to stream any part of the content anywhere on the network. This means we can easily stream customised content to many other screens and monitors, giving players an immersive view of the games for any private areas you create anywhere in the casino.
An example of a typical space plan below, shows the impact from Post Covid , Option 1 simply closes seats, Vs Option 2 shows how you can space out terminals and create VIP style seating. Though this is a simplistic view, it shows how you can maximise open seats and utilise all your ETG terminals
ETG and DETGs don’t just have merits during covid time, they are more economical to run. Games turn faster, resulting in more hands per hour and less dealers are needed per game (usually one table can deal two games). There is also the saving on cards, with no squeeze or player intervention, cards can be reshuffled and used again, which reduces the number of cards used. With an average casino using around 50,000 decks a day the cost savings could be considerable.
Both staff and cards can be big running costs for live bricks and mortar casinos, especially in developed nations and upcoming jurisdictions like Japan, where affordable labour may be a scarce resource given that it is viewed as relatively low skilled. Add to the fact that for international customers, multilingual language skills may also be required. The options are to either import it or reduce the need for it somewhat.
Technology both in live tables and hybrid casino games like DETGs, should be embraced as in many other parts of our lives. DETG don’t need to replace the human dealer entirely, they just allow one game to be played by many customers more easily. Technology, if implemented correctly can enhance both the health and safety factors and also the comfort and service level of your guests.
IDX Games offers consultation on designs, technology and layout options for all gaming spaces and products. We can draft up plans and create 3D walkthrough animations of areas showing you how new changes could look, as well as helping you design table products and deliver the technology and content to these areas.
Both our X-stadium and X-tables products are designed to increase the appeal and excitement to games as well as improve the productiveness of live tables and ETGs. Our features are designed to increase appeal and play, ensuring your casinos keep competitive. Our X-Trend product can even stream live games to touch screen terminals and devices allowing more players to get involved, (where the jurisdiction allows). As well as assisting management in monitoring service and the integrity in the games.
If you would like to learn how we can help bring your casino in to the future, please let us know.
About the Author: Peter Johns is an accomplished gaming executive with over 30 years in senior management and operations. Focusing on delivering customer centric products that add value.