This week’s Green Felt Journal is a look into the hopeful world of new table game development, with a focus on Richar Fitoussi’s Double Action Roulette, which you can try for yourself at the M Resort if you’re so inclined.
I think the game is going to be accepted by casinos because it does two things that the generally like: it increases revenues while holding steady (or decreasing) labor costs. With one dealer, Double Action can generate as much revenue as two dealers on two tables. That’s important, because payroll (including pay, benefits, and payroll taxes) takes up out 32 percent of gaming revenues on casinos included in the “Boulder Strip” reporting area (geography be damned, that includes the M). In general, the casino innovations that have caught on are those that help casinos lower their labor costs; coinless slots are the most dramatic example.
And increasing revenues — well, that goes without saying, doesn’t it?
But why will players like the game? Fitoussi says many of them are drawn to the game’s big payoff potential: They can bet that the ball will fall in the same slot for both the inner and outer wheel, which pays 1,200 to 1. Fitoussi told me that over the game’s first month of testing, the M paid 18 of these jackpots. I went full-on gambling nerd and tried to sketch out the theoretical likelihood of that happening, and it worked out to about that frequency. So it’s something that can happen just often enough to make it a legitimate possibility, but rarely enough to allow a big jackpot.
When Fitoussi took me on the floor to show me the game, there were already a few players. One of them said that he’d come down from a Strip casino after hearing about the game. When he found out that Fitoussi was the inventor, he shook his hand and congratulated him, saying, “I hope you make a million bucks,” which might be the nicest thing to say to someone on the casino floor.
So I think the game has potential because it does things that will make the bosses happy (lower labor costs and increase win) and make players happy (offer another big jackpot chance).
And if you want to make a fortune in a casino, as I’ve said before, your best bet is figuring out a way to lower their labor costs, period.