Poker might be the game that springs to mind when someone mentions Las Vegas. But another game has outstripped poker’s profitability in casinos on the strip – relieving gamblers of $1.38 billion in the last 12 months.
That game is baccarat, a gambling craze played in VIP rooms hidden from the general public.
For a fairly unknown game, the losses are big. The $1.38 billion lost on baccarat tables on the Las Vegas strip easily beats $831 million misplaced on blackjack and $258 million misplaced on craps.
Popular with Asian gamblers, it was recently hit by a crackdown on corruption in China’s slowdown. As Chinese wealthy players shied away from casino hubs, Las Vegas Strip revenue for July fell 2 per cent, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Baccarat particularly suffered from a 21 per cent drop in revenue.
Baccarat is a pure game of chance with no skills required. There are just two principal bets to make: banker or player - Banco or Punto, plus the rarely used Standoff. The card dealer gives two cards each; first to the player and then the banker. The object of the game is to bet on the hand that you think will have the highest total value.
With iconic casinos ready to take bets a high as $250,000, the wins can be as big as the losses. However, if the players stop betting and turn away from tables, it makes casinos susceptible to a big loss in revenues. In the past twelve months, baccarat play in Las Vegas is down 23 per cent and mini-baccarat (lower stakes) has fallen 34 per cent.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies