Casino floors from Macau to Mississippi look eerily similar. The slot machine seas. The table game islands. The high-limit oases. The restaurants, shows, buffets. The colorful currency. The slot machines. The excruciating check-in lines. Minimum bet forced scarcity. The bleeping beeping slot machines.
The games themselves are for the most part the same that people have played for centuries, with rare exceptions. People flock to the games they already know: blackjack, craps, baccarat. Is this a matter of making gamblers comfortable wherever they go, luring them into a wallet-emptying rhythm? Have casinos evolved to perfection, like sharks? It seems ironic that gamblers who clearly exhibit risky behavior only want to deal with games that are known and familiar. Is there room for innovation in casino gambling? Is this a fat satiated industry resting on its laurels ready for a spark of creativity to ignite a shakeup, or a smart, precisely tuned machine already operating at full throttle in optimized mode, thank you very much?
For example, innovation in slot machine design seems to involve replacing spinning wheels with LCD screens that display in gorgeous 3D detail… spinning wheels. The greatest advance in poker technology has been the hole-card camera, enabling more engaging television coverage.
I’d love to see an experimental marketplace where people play and invent new gambling games, and where breakout winners move on to trials in the “big leagues”. Would it ever fly? Would gamblers bother to play, or are they by and large unimaginative creatures of habit?
P.S. Did I mention that the woblomo deadline is midnight Hawaii time?