US Gamblers Getting Wider, Says Reno Chair Maker

Posted on: July 18, 2022, 02:33h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2022, 10:15h.

Betting your ass in Las Vegas is now a bigger bet, according to a Reno, Nev., manufacturer of deluxe gaming chairs.

Circus Circus slots
Chairs at slot machines, like this bank at Circus Circus, do not feature armrests in order to accommodate the reported 41.9% of adult Americans who are obese. (Image: Scott Roeben via Vital Vegas)

Seats for slot machines and gaming tables that once spanned 12 inches across have grown to a now-routine 17 to 21. (In Europe, the standard is 17 inches or smaller.)

“I don’t think anybody blatantly says it’s because people are getting wider. But I think that’s the way it is,” said Karsen Law, marketing director for Gary Platt Manufacturing, which furnishes casinos with leather and faux-leather foam chairs for slots, table games, poker, sportsbooks, and bingo.

That’s why we don’t make armchairs,” Law told “Normally, it would be more comfortable. But you can’t predict how petite or round someone is going to be.”

Recently, Law’s company supplied one Southern California casino with custom chairs measuring 28 inches across.

“We try to accommodate everyone who sits on our chairs,” Law said as politely as he could.

How Casinos Got Their Thrones

If you’ve ever wished you could time-travel back to the heyday of Las Vegas gambling in the 1930s, you’d probably be feeding the slots and playing blackjack while standing up.

A few stools might have been on hand, but they were wooden, rickety and rare. This was the uncomfortable situation furniture salesperson Gary Platt found when he walked into a Vegas casino to play blackjack in 1959, according to a recent article in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

When Platt pitched casino owners on adding stools for slots, according to the article, he was rebuffed, told that the casino aisles would be too narrow. Finally, he found a small Las Vegas hall willing to gamble on the idea. Customers so adored the two dozen 12” stools he furnished the casino with for free, Platt received a paid order for 100 more.

Platt designed and marketed casino seating for another company, L&B Manufacturing, for 35 years before striking out on his own in 1996. This June, Gary Platt Manufacturing produced its one millionth gaming chair. The company now produces one seat every two minutes for casinos across the globe.

Too Comfortable? 

Maybe standing up to gamble wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

As of March 2020, 41.9% of adult Americans were obese, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control. Twenty years earlier, that number was a slimmer, 30.5%. And that was before the pandemic confined most of us to our couches.