The future of casino gambling is a big question mark, but we can draw some inferences about recent trends that accurately predict the near future, anyway.

What’s been happening in the United States as it relates to casino gambling recently?

And what does that mean for the future?

I know one thing. Land-based casinos are growing greater in number across the United States, and this trend has been steady for almost 3 decades now. A lot of these new casinos are Native American casinos, but that’s not the exclusive area of growth.

Poker saw a huge boom in popularity between 2003 and 2006, too. It’s still televised as a sport now, something that would have been unimaginable just 25 years ago.

One of the results of this is that the population has had more exposure to casino games than at any time in the past. With the rise of the internet, players also have access to more information about the math and strategy behind these gambling games, too.

I’ve seen reports that millennials don’t have much interest in casino gambling any more.

What does that mean for the near future of casinos?

The short answer is that they’re going to need to change what they offer and how they offer it if they want to continue to attract new customers.

And that’s what this post is all about.

Video Games and Skill Elements in New Slot Machines

Since this generation of gamblers grew up playing video games, it seems natural that casinos would try to capitalize on that when designing new gambling games for this audience.

As a result, a lot of modern slot machines seem to have a skill element to them. I’ve seen video slots where I got to play a game similar to Space Invaders after going to the bonus round. I don’t think my skill had much effect on the outcome or payout for the game, but it might have.

Even the illusion of control can be a motivating factor when you’re trying to attract new players to a gambling game, though. And brand names matter, too. If a slot machine is named after a popular video game, it has a stronger appeal to video game players, too.

As I did some research, I learned that it wasn’t just a knockoff of Space Invaders  I was remembering. There’s actually a 6-reel, 60-line slot machine game based on the video game available from Scientific Games now.

I’m predicting that this is the beginning of a trend.

Can Pac-Man slot machines be far behind?

(As it turns out, no—they released a Pac-Man slot machine game in 2017.)

Blackjack Seems to Be on Its Way Out

In 1985, 56% of the table game revenue at the casino came from the blackjack tables.

As of 2013, though, blackjack only accounted for 28% of overall casino revnue.

Why the change?

Multiple factors contributed to this, not the least of which is the rise of multiple other table games that players like. But casinos have been so paranoid about preventing card counters and advantage players that they’ve almost removed all the incentive to learn how to play blackjack.

In other words, the casinos have made the rules for blackjack so lousy that it’s not even worth the trouble to learn how to play. You can just play baccarat or casino war and not have to make any decisions about how to play your hands.

Here are some examples of the rules changes that are killing blackjack games:

  • Using multiple decks instead of just one or 2 decks.
  • Using continuous shuffling machines to prevent card counting entirely.
  • Reducing payouts for a blackjack from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5 for certain games.

You see, part of the appeal of blackjack was the idea that the game was potentially beatable by the skilled player. By making that idea ludicrous with these lousy new rules, the casino industry has halved the appeal of their onetime most popular casino game.

New Table Games Are on Their Way In

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the casino industry. Something has been taking the place of these blackjack tables over the last couple of decades.

And that something turns out to be a lot of new table games.

There’s probably no better time to be an inventor of gambling games.

Some of the more popular new table games that are taking up space where blackjack tables used to be include Caribbean Stud, Casino Holdem, Pai Gow Poker, and Three Card Poker.

You’ll notice that the names of those games are capitalized. That’s because they’re proper nouns. These are names of specific, trademarked games from companies like Shufflemaster. (That company not only makes continuous shuffling machines; they also sell unique card games to casinos as part of their business.)

It seems like every time I visit a casino (which is admittedly only once a year or so), they’re trying out some new casino game or two. Some of them are there again when I return, but many of them don’t catch on.

Most of these newer games have less of a skill factor than blackjack. The games that do reward skill often have complicated strategies to learn. I think most of them are inferior to blackjack, but that hasn’t slowed down the casino game manufacturers or the casinos they serve.

The tricky thing about these new casino games is that they need to be complicated enough to be compelling to the casino gambler, but they also need to be simple enough that a player can learn to play in a couple of minutes. That’s a tall order for a casino game designer.

You can expect casinos to continue trying out new proprietary games in the near future.

Other Changes in How People Gamble

Now that more people live closer to casinos than ever before, gambler behavior has started changing. Most people don’t stay at the casino as long as they used to. On the other hand, they visit the casino more often than they ever have in the past.

Everyone has a cell phone now, and no one likes to go without it. As cell phones continue to take up more importance in our life, you can expect more casino tolerance for their use in the gaming area. In fact, casinos are being encouraged to direct their players’ attention toward using their cell phones for gambling purposes at the casino.

Social gambling is becoming more important, too. This combines elements of games you’d play in a bar setting with wagering and the internet. For example, you might start seeing casinos offering more tournament-style skill games like billiards, darts, and shuffleboard.

As gambling becomes less popular with this new generation, casinos are going to focus more on generating revenue through other channels, too. The Winstar Casino now offers golf, for example, and that’s a big moneymaker for them. Concert tickets and food are also revenue generators for the casinos.

In today’s casinos, the gaming areas are mostly separate from the other areas in the casino. One notable exception is the keno game, which is seemingly everywhere. As the future continues to come at us, you can expect to see the other areas of the casino offer gaming. The entire casino will become a casino, instead of just the casino section.

You can also expect to see customer service improve. There was a time when people would put up with good or mediocre customer service just so that they could gamble. Since millennials are less interested in gambling, the properties will need to find other ways to attract these customers. Offering stellar customer service is one way they’re going to accomplish that.

You can expect 2 big changes from slot machines, by the way:

  • They’re going to become more social and integrate better with channels like Facebook and Twitter.
  • They’re going to introduce more skill elements to attract the crowd that grew up playing on their X-Boxes and Playstations.


Casinos aren’t going anywhere. The internet is going to put the land-based casino business out of its misery anytime soon, either

What you will see in the near future in the casino business is a rise in skill elements with slot machines, more new table games, and a focus on some of the other revenue streams they’re able to offer their customers.

I found the following article at The Motley Fool extremely helpful when I was researching this post. This post was also useful.

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