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Is blackjack on the decline?

Is blackjack on the decline?


It’s one of the most iconic casino games going, but blackjack is currently suffering from a drop in the number of people playing it, in particular in Las Vegas. For years it was the king of the table games, but over the last few decades, this has changed, mostly down to a change in customers’ tastes.

While its popularity may have dropped in brick-and-mortar casinos, online games like blackjack from Betfair continue to remain popular. Let’s take a look at the decline of blackjack and whether we’ll see the iconic casino game return to the top of the pile.

How much has it declined?
The UNLV Centre for Gaming Research published a report on “The Evolution of Casino Games, 1985-2018” which looked into the popularity of different casino games on the Las Vegas Strip.

Back in 1985, blackjack had 50.25% of the revenue share in casinos, with its nearest rival being craps, which had 28.04% of the share. In 2018, blackjack’s share had dropped to 28.43%, a drop of over 20%. Craps has seen a similar drop in revenue share, while roulette, baccarat, and others all experienced an increase.

Of course, one of the major problems for blackjack is that while it has stayed still in terms of the rules, other games have developed and changed. Poker is just one example of a game that continues to remain popular, and part of that is down to the fact that there are many varieties of the game which help it appeal to different people.

The popularity of slot machines has also had an impact on the revenue share of blackjack. Slot machines are far more versatile than blackjack, offering casino-goers the opportunity to try out a range of games with different themes and bonuses.

Blackjack is, unfortunately, a game that, at the present time, doesn’t offer much in the way of variety, and in a world where we’re constantly looking for entertainment, other games offer more in the way of an interesting product.

Is it all bad news?
Although there has been a significant decrease in the revenue share from 1985 to 2018 overall, in the past few years, there has been some fluctuation. In 2012, blackjack saw its lowest revenue share from the Las Vegas Strip, at just 23.62%, but this has steadily grown and in the past decade, 2017 saw its highest share since 2008, when 30.50% of the revenue share came from blackjack.

This demonstrates that there is still life in blackjack yet. Its simplicity helps its appeal to a wide audience and if casinos can take their own steps to increase the appeal of the iconic game, then there’s no reason why it can’t continue to increase its revenue share on the Las Vegas Strip.

It will always hold onto its core fans, but if it is to thrive again, then something needs to change. New variations could work wonders for blackjack as it has done for slots and poker, it just needs an innovator to start the trend.