August 4, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic saw casinos all over the world close or reduce their operations significantly to arrest the spread of the virus. With things gradually opening again, many establishments — including casinos — are taking steps to minimize infections while ensuring that players still get to enjoy their favorite games.
Harrah’s is one notable example. In February 2021, this famed casino on the Las Vegas Strip introduced a digital craps table designed to minimize human touchpoints. Called “Roll to Win Craps,” it was developed by Aruze Gaming America Inc., it is the first hybrid craps table of its kind on the Strip.
The hybrid craps table features live dice along with a digital board and payment system. Though it uses a footprint like that of a standard craps table, Roll to Win Craps graphics and animations are provided by LED panels.
And although players toss live dice across the field, they do not use physical chips. Instead, participants place their bets on screen and use virtual chips to monitor their payments. Meanwhile, players can keep track of craps rules, get a breakdown of craps odds, and learn tips on how to win at craps from various player stations.
According to Aruze president Rob Ziems, the table allows players to learn at their own pace. This way, a new generation of players get to find discover and experience the thrill of a great craps roll.
The hybrid craps table keeps touchpoints to a minimum in several ways. First is the removal of physical chips, as described above. In addition, plexiglass barriers were installed to separate players and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Other Las Vegas casinos have adopted their own safety measures in response to the pandemic. Moreover, they have also put into practice non-traditional concepts to encourage tourists to visit.
One example is Park MGM. Located on the Las Vegas Strip near the T-Mobile Arena, this establishment implemented a policy in 2020 to become the first smoke-free casino in the area. Meanwhile, casinos such as Circa Resort and the Cromwell have decided to only admit people who are at least 21 years of age to their main gaming and hotel areas.
Las Vegas has its fair share of gambling legends, and one of them involves the craps game. According to writer Michael LaPointe in a piece published in the “Paris Review,” an anonymous man wearing cowboy boots placed a $777,000 bet on the craps table at Binion’s Horseshoe Club in the Glitter Gulch in downtown Las Vegas.
Nicknamed the Phantom Gambler, the man visited the casino on September 24, 1980, and placed his wager on the “don’t pass line.” In effect, he was betting against the woman rolling the dice. She first rolled a six, then a nine. Finally, she rolled a seven. This gave the Phantom Gambler his win, which was $1.5 million.
The Phantom Gambler turned out to be William Lee Bergstrom, a gold and silver trader who also had a business that made money by flipping buildings in Austin, Texas. He returned to the Horseshoe Club in 1984. Sadly, luck was against him that time. Betting on the “don’t pass line” once more, he lost $1 million when a seven was rolled by the shooter on the first throw.