Indian Gaming Today

Friday, July 14, 2006

Advantage Players and Tribal Casinos

Thread: Gambling and Risk-Taking Conference

Back to the Tahoe conference, where we were interested to see panel discussions –- in the style of an academic conference –- on advantage play. Advantage players insist that they are not cheating, but simply taking advantage of their own skills (like card counting or shuffle tracking in blackjack) or circumstances (like a sloppy dealer). Even if they’re not cheating, a casino can still ask them to leave (i.e., “86” them –- the difference is that they get to keep their winnings if what they’re doing is legal).

At the Tahoe conference, we asked one advantage player if such players target tribal casinos, looking for less experienced dealers or less sophisticated security. The answer, we were told, is no. There is tremendous variation in casino success in the Indian gaming industry, but most tribal casinos are not big grossers. They also primarily are located in remote areas. For these reasons, the tribal casino market most likely isn’t big enough for the player to go to another casino, especially if 86’d. We were told that the most sophisticated or successful advantage players are looking to score big from a well-scheduled trip to the casinos.

In the next post in this thread, we’ll turn to some thoughts on the conference presentations.


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