Casino game popularity is a strange, organic thing, with preference seemingly swinging back and forth at random. Many would not think that Baccarat is the most popular game in Las Vegas, but it just so happens to be seeing the highest revenue earnings in both Macau and Vegas.
At least, it was seeing the highest revenue return until just recently. It seems that Blackjack is making a comeback in a big way, and Baccarat is being pushed to second position. This change in game preference trend might just be dismissed as player’s tastes changing, but there are a few rather interesting factors involved in this recent development.
The Asian Market
The rise of Blackjack over Baccarat is partly being attributed to developments in China. The Asian market has always preferred Baccarat, with it being the number one game in Chinese based casinos. Many Asian casino game players were, however, travelling to Vegas to do their gambling. So many travellers were crossing from China into Vegas, in fact, that it made Baccarat the most popular game in Vegas.
But, with the situation changing in China, and a great deal more local casinos cropping up, Chinese players are no longer making the trip to Vegas as often as they used to. Many are deciding to play closer to home, and this is resulting in the popularity of Baccarat in Vegas to drop significantly.
To look at another statistic that drives the point home, overall revenue for casinos in Nevada is recently down about 4.5%, which is an enormous amount when we’re talking about the overall earnings of the entire area. Earnings in Macau, however, are up a staggering 17%. It doesn’t take much to see how one figure feeds into the other.
Another factor involved in the drop of popularity for Baccarat is the younger generation. It seems that millennials are not into Baccarat, and prefer games such as Blackjack, poker and roulette. This may be partly due to the influence of popular culture, but either way, Baccarat is not a favoured game in the millennial generation.
But simply saying that Blackjack has now become more popular than Baccarat is not painting the picture clearly. Just how much of a difference are we talking about here?
If taking a look at the Nevada gaming report, which gives detailed information on the revenue earned in Las Vegas, we can see that in February, 2017, Blackjack was responsible for generating about $106 million. A pretty significant sum. Baccarat generated about $98 million.
This doesn’t seem like a big difference in the grand scheme of things, but if comparing the numbers to the previous year it becomes clear that Baccarat is down 12% overall, and Blackjack up 19% overall. When looked at in this sense, there is a clear trend of one game falling, and the other rising to take its place.
Is This the End For Baccarat?
Seeing the popularity of games shift is normal, and although it seems like the current trend spells the eventual end for Baccarat, it is highly unlikely that any casino game simply ceases to be. Baccarat may fall into a second place position behind Blackjack, but will likely stabilise. Games such as Baccarat have survived for many decades up until this point, and will always have a core fan base.
It is likely that Blackjack will also lose popularity at some point, and fall into second position behind another game. Which game it will be is very difficult to predict, but it is worth noting that in the same gaming report mentioned earlier, roulette saw an enormous gain of about 29% in overall revenue. Roulette has never been as popular a game like Blackjack or Baccarat, but seems to be on an enormous climb at present. It isn’t impossible that roulette will soon be in the number one spot.
The Online Gaming Factor
The online casino industry is similar in many ways to the real world casino industry, including how games tend to swing in and out of popularity. It is slot games that earn the most revenue online, but as far as table games go, it is poker that draws the most customers. This is interesting, certainly when compared against statistics from Nevada and Macau.
Some have speculated that the online and real world casino industries will become intertwined, with those learning to play online taking their skills to real world casinos. If this becomes the case poker is sure to soon see a spike in popularity. At present poker is not an especially popular game in real world casinos, partly due to the long turn around time for each round. But, if predictions are correct poker players may soon be pouring in, ready to put to the test their online poker honed skills. If this situation comes to pass, however, remains to be seen.