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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Banking on the Success of Electronic Baccarat

1 July 2009

International Game Technology, one of the world's leading slot machine developers and manufacturers, is betting that the time is right for gaming enthusiasts to start becoming comfortable with electronic table games.

The company is starting to aggressively market what it calls its M-P Series, a line of fully-automated electronic games that are designed to be attractive to players and at the same time appeal to the dynamics of gaming floor design and efficiency.

Its product line includes electronic versions of blackjack and roulette, titled Digital 21 and Roulette Evolution, respectively, as well as Texas Hold'em Bonus Poker and two versions of baccarat: Dragon Baccarat and Golden Baccarat.

Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan, earlier this year became the first property in the nation to feature Golden Baccarat.

The installation includes four player terminals which face a large-screen LCD monitor upon which a virtual dealer is displayed. The product's server can accommodate up to 100 player stations.

"The great thing about electronic table games is that you can offer a lot more flexibility in the types of wagers that are offered," explained Tim Richards, director of table games for IGT. "Also, you don't have to worry about a dealer making mistakes."

Electronic table gaming is nothing new, but players have been slow to embrace the technology. It seems playing at a real table with a real dealer, and playing with chips and cards, is an interactive experience that gamblers enjoy.

People, however, are becoming accustomed to touch-screen transactions in the business and retail worlds. This familiarity and comfort level is gradually carrying over to casino gambling as well.

"Everybody plays against the hands the virtual dealer deals," Richards said. "Players wager according to rules of a standard baccarat game. There is a tie bet, player and banker bets, plus wagers on pairs and three-of-a-kind. You pay the same five percent commission for a bank bet as you would in a live game."

Golden Baccarat affords gamers the same opportunity to enjoy an interactive and community setting as at a traditional table.

Four Winds also has IGT's Roulette Revolution available with eight player stations.

"We launched Roulette Revolution prior to Golden Baccarat," Richards said. "We have the product currently installed at upwards of 20 sites globally."

Richards acknowledged that baccarat is most popular in larger gaming markets. The success the game has generated at Four Winds is being monitored closely.

"The property and senior management gave Golden Baccarat kudos at a couple of conventions we attended recently," Richards said. "

Poker players were quick to accept electronic gaming via the PokerPro table experience. Four Winds opened with the nation's first fully automated poker room nearly two years ago.

Getting blackjack, roulette, and baccarat players to migrate over to the electronic world is a challenge, but given the advancements and improvements that have been made, it's a sector that will experience expansion in the years ahead.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp