Although blackjack and slot machines get much of the attention, the amount of traffic at baccarat tables has a strong correlation to overall revenues at Las Vegas casinos.
Baccarat a Winner for Casinos Worldwide
Baccarat is very popular in Asia, and it represents more than 60 percent of the gambling revenue in Macau. To put that in perspective, consider that Macau is the largest gambling center in the world, at least five times larger than Las Vegas and generated $45 billion in profits in 2014.
Baccarat Interests Fading in the West
Westerners are not nearly as enamored of the game. Despite accessibility and how easy baccarat is to learn, participation is dwindling in Western casinos. In Las Vegas, baccarat participation fell 5.6 percent in 2014, and that resulted in revenues that were well below expectations. Consider that revenue from baccarat at Las Vegas casinos generally account for 40 to 50 percent of total revenue from table games.
Casinos Promote Baccarat
Casinos in Las Vegas and throughout the Western world are not sitting idly by as one of their best moneymakers becomes a dinosaur. Baccarat tables are being positioned front and center, and many casinos have hosts pitching the game to idle patrons. Many also offer loyalty programs and loss rebates that give back to the players. Even the middle-class tourist can spend enough on baccarat to take advantage of these perks.
What the Future Holds
Many gamblers argue that baccarat offers the best odds in the house, and the added comp opportunities should make the game even more attractive. Still, the players go elsewhere. Casinos are then faced with the difficult task of making baccarat more appealing or of making the popular games more profitable. Some casinos have begun adding progressive pots to baccarat games, and perhaps that is the future.