Many players assume that Las Vegas casinos would make more money replacing poker rooms with slots. After all, slot machines do not require as many employees per player and generate more per unit than a poker table.
That is not what is happening in Nevada. Poker rooms that are shuttered are not always being replaced by slots or video poker machines.
We surveyed 12 Las Vegas casinos that closed poker rooms in the past 30 months. Most did not use the space to expand gaming options or operations. In one instance, the poker room was covered with a fake wall, taking that space out of the casino floor capacity.
Sports book expansion at Palms
Palms found the most unique use of its former poker room.
The area was converted into VIP seating for its remodeled sports book. Poker may not be gone from Palms forever. A large sign above the former podium still advertises a poker room.
Some poker rooms converted to promotional use
Several casinos converted former poker rooms to promotional uses. It did not take long for Hooters to do that. Slots related to the players club appeared in the former poker room within a week.
Circus Circus moved its entire players club booth into the area that once had its poker tables. M Resort now uses the former poker room for tournament slots. Tropicana did the same thing.
Aliante moved some tournament slots into its old poker room. Much of the area is not utilized at all. Like Palms, Aliante Casino still has signs advertising poker, directing players to the room.
The North Las Vegas casino is expected to roll out Poker Pro machines in the coming weeks, but these will be located in the table games pit, making the signs appear to be an oversight.
Casino floor changes can reduce gaming options in other sections
Riviera has completely redesigned the casino’s layout since its poker room closed. The table games pit is now in the general vicinity.
There was not a net gain of gaming devices as several areas of the casino have temporary walls restricting access to former slot sections. Riviera will never have poker again as it is set to close at noon on May 4 to make room for the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Like Riviera, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall has been modified since it added poker. The Cromwell is its new brand. The new boutique hotel offers less gaming than it did under its previous brand. Table games are in the former poker area.
What poker room?
Texas Station did not use the old poker room to expand electronic gaming or to add retail or dining options. In fact, it did not use the space for anything.
New walls now give the appearance that nothing ever existed in the area.
Three small rooms replaced poker with house games
Ellis Island, The Linq, and El Cortez are the outliers of the group.
All three placed casino games where poker tables once stood. Ellis Island experimented with poker for just a few months so it was an easy transition back to house banked games.
The Linq and El Cortez offered very small rooms that were converted by just adding a small bank of slot and video poker machines.
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