Roulette Makes Its Vegas Comeback

Posted on: April 15, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: April 15, 2017, 10:26h.

Roulette is back in fashion on the casino floors of Las Vegas. That’s according to figures released this week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board which show that roulette win shot up 58.87 percent in Nevada in February compared to the same month last year.

Roulette makes a comeback
A surge in the popularity of roulette is causing casinos to bring more wheels onto the casino floors. Significantly, it seems to be a younger crown gathering around the wheel these days. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The popularity of the game was also climbing steadily for the most of 2016.

Could it be that, for all the talk of esports and skill-gaming, a means of attracting millennials to the casino floor has been hiding in plain site all along, and also happens to be one of the oldest casino games there is?

Reinventing the Wheel

Anthony Curtis, owner of lasvegasadvisor.com, told the Las Vegas Sun that he believes roulette has become “cool” again.   

“When I’m walking through the casino, there’s always a younger customer and a younger crowd on the roulette wheel,” he said. “It’s a hit with the club crowd. Roulette seems to be a cool thing to do before you go into the club and when they come out they play. I see them all the time, having a few drinks and powering up on the roulette table.”

While millennials are turned off by slots, Rob Cinelli, LVS’s senior vice president of casino operations, believes that roulette offers just enough sense of strategy, albeit illusory, to keep young people interested.  

“Although roulette is not a skill-based game, players have a feeling that they are responsible for the outcome by placing the bet, unlike a slot where there’s no involvement other than pushing a button,” he said. “We are seeing that our roulette players’ age is skewing a bit younger. So we are seeing an increase in volume and also a decrease in the age of the demographic playing it.”

Figures Down Across All Games

Cinelli believes that roulette is a “volume game” and as tourism numbers increase, then so does roulette. To accommodate the surge in popularity of the game, LVS has added between five and seven new wheels at the Venetian and Palazzo casinos.

But while roulette is on the up, Control Board figures showed a decrease in overall gross gaming revenue across all verticals for the month. GGR dropped 4.48 percent in February, statewide, in comparison with the previous year, to a total of $945.6 million.

Part of the reason for this may have been that Chinese New Year staggered January and February in 2017, whereas last year it fell in February in its entirety.