Games people learn

Apr 20, 2004 6:25 AM

As the popularity of slot machines has surged over the years, interest in playing table games such as baccarat, craps, blackjack, and roulette has steadily eroded.

One of the reasons for the waning popularity of table games is the sometimes confusing and complicated set of rules, as well as daunting betting possibilities.

But, thanks to kiosks developed by a Las Vegas gaming manufacturer, novice casino players can view a quick and free instructional video on the most popular table games.

The self-contained kiosks were developed by InfoTouchscreen Systems and are currently located in three Las Vegas casinos — Bally’s, Paris and the Rampart. Additional kiosks are expected to be placed at other Caesars Entertainment casinos later this year.

Games that are taught include baccarat, blackjack, 3 Card Poker, craps, Caribbean Stud, roulette and Let it Ride. The interactive videos run for about two minutes each.

In addition to showing players how to play the game, the videos teach other valuable information, such as the odds in various craps bets, how to split a pair or double down in blackjack or what the various bets are in roulette.

"The kiosks are trouble-free and designed as a teaching device that gives a new player all the information he needs to play table games," says Frank Arrias, developer of the machine. "The kiosks can also serve as a refresher course for experienced players who might need a little brush-up on some rules or want to learn a new game."

Arrias points out that the terminals are strictly teaching devices and, because of state gaming regulations, cannot offer betting tips (such as which cards to split in blackjack) or how much to bet.

The kiosks are leased to the casino for a monthly fee, and the videos that run are custom-designed for the casino. That is, the videos are filmed at the casino, using the casino’s tables and personnel. The terminals may also contain promotional information for the casino, including a listing of restaurants, entertainment, slot tournaments and special events.

For the kiosks that have been installed in Bally’s and Paris, Arrias says, the most popular videos chosen by customers are craps, blackjack, roulette and entertainment, in that order.

Arrias says that table games are the only ones currently featured on the kiosks, but the company is exploring the possibility of adding slots and/or video poker.