The new generation of touch screen table games making an impact on casino floors worldwide may never completely replace traditional felt tables, chips and dealers, but it has become a viable alternative.
Just as slot players have grown accustomed to touch-screen play and gaming floors where coins and tokens are relics from the past, so have table games players gradually been introduced to video screens and paper vouchers.
Rapid Roulette, a product developed by Shuffle Master, is in play at casinos around the country. The game is surrounded by touch screen player positions and uses a real wheel and a live dealer to spin it.
Players are comfortably seated in front of a video screen, where, at the touch of a finger, they make their bets for the next spin. The rules and mechanics of roulette make it a table game that is most easily adapted to this technology, which is why the concept is being expanded.
Gaming manufacturer TCS John Huxley has a version called Novo TouchBet Roulette, a game which has been popular in Great Britain for a number of years and which has been accepted enthusiastically by gamblers at casinos in Canada.
TouchBet Roulette installations can accommodate up to 250 player stations around the casino floor. In addition to the primary installation of the game, satellite locations with a real time projection screen showing the results of every spin are available, differentiating this product from Rapid Roulette.
Touch screen Roulette is an efficient and highly accurate modern version of the table game classic. All that's missing are the chips and the thrill of watching the dealer push the stacks of winnings your way when you hit. But just as slot players no longer rejoice over coins cascading into the tray, Roulette players will get used to it.
There's an upside for the casino owners as well. With a built-in house advantage of 5.26 percent on American ("0" and "00") Roulette, the increased number of possible players coupled with the increased number of decisions per hour increases profits.
Similar technology is being applied to other table games, including blackjack, craps, and of course, poker.
Touch screen poker is less intimidating for novice players. Touch screen eliminates all of the concerns. You can only bet at a certain time. People can't turn their cards over prematurely. All of the mistakes that can happen in a traditional poker room are taken away.
The applications of craps and blackjack to touch screen technology are a little more complicated than they are with Roulette and poker, but first generation versions are already out there and it won't be long before they'll be alternatives to the "real thing".