Â Â There’s a war going on in casinos all over America and victory or defeat could determine the fate of table games and the amount of floor space they will occupy in the future.
Â Â America has developed a love-affair with slot machines and that attraction has caused many casinos to devote more space to the “one-armed bandits,” although through the ingenuity of designers and manufacturers that designation has become a misnomer.
Â Â And, not only does every casino fill every nook and cranny with these devices, there has been a new entry into the gaming field. That is the “racino” a racetrack where space is now allocated for video lottery machines, which is just another name for slot machines. Currently, such tracks are legal in four states but a dozen others are being pressured to join in the new craze.
Â Â All this emphasis on slots has many casino executives worried that the machines will push aside the classic games of chance: blackjack, craps, roulette etc.
Â Â One of these is Ted Gottlieb of Reno, who saw the trend beginning more than a decade ago and decided to do something about it. He formed a company called Gaming International Inc. and developed its primary product, “Win Cards.”
Â Â “Live gaming must be sold to the public like any other commodity,” Gottlieb says. “The audience must be made familiar and comfortable with the product and they need to be provided with incentives to engage in this new activity for them.”
Â Â Addressing the problem is where Gottlieb and his “Win Cards” take the lead.
Â Â Many casinos do offer gaming guides for people to read and learn the basics of how to play.
Â Â “But, you know and I know that few people want to take the time to sit down and read a book about playing a table game. It looks complicated and time-consuming and it’s just so much easier to wander over to the slot machines,” he notes. “Perhaps that’s why the slots have become so popular.”
Â Â To address the problem, Gottlieb developed the Win Cards program, a table games marketing promotion designed specifically to tackle the problem of declining table games action. A little more than a decade later, the Win Cards has become the most popular promotion to familiarize players with games they might have avoided.
Â Â The cards are in a tri-pack that opens like a three-panel brochure. Each panel contains simplified instructions about the basics of how to play the individual games. “This makes learning how to play blackjack, craps and roulette fun and easy. They are designed for beginners or those who would like to have a reminder of the basic playing strategies,” Gottlieb says.
Â Â At the casino where the Win Cards Promotion is utilized, the Win Cards are sold to interested patrons for $10. These players are then provided with $15 in special, free-play, non-negotiable casino chips and one “dealer’s tip coupon.”
Â Â Typical of the program’s supporters is Bart Pestrichello, assistant general manager at Sunset Station Hotel/Casino. Recently, he remarked, “Many of our customers have never been properly introduced to the live games. Sometimes we think that because they might live in a gambling capital, they must be savvy gamblers. The truth is that many of our locals are just as intimidated by the craps tables as our tourist visitors.
Â Â “The Win Cards Program gives us access to the tools necessary to get these customers out of their rooms and properly introduced to the live games,” he said.
Â Â Gaming International Inc. is participating in the Global Gaming Expo and Win Cards can be seen at Booth #2216.