New slot games take their places in casinos every day. When a new table game gets a nod, it’s noteworthy. Sometimes years pass between the first time I see a new game demonstrated at Global Gaming Expo and the time I see it in a casino. Often, I never see the games on casino floors, although many carve out niches overseas and online.
So I was intrigued recently to receive press releases announcing that Riverboat Roulette would be making its U.S. debut at the Golden Gate in Las Vegas, and that the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town (W. Va.) Races would be the first in North America to offer Fusion Hybrid tables with an electronic wagering interface.
I first saw Riverboat Roulette, from Double Luck Gaming, at the expo in the fall of 2012. I was intrigued. It creates multiple-spin wagers, a la craps. A traditional-looking wheel adds different colors in the spaces between frets, where the ball falls. The numbers themselves still are on red and black backgrounds — with green for 0 and 00, so you can still make all the traditional roulette bets.
But you also can bet on the three light blue numbers, the four purple numbers — seven colors in all. Bets on colors pay odds — 2-1 on light blue or 8-5 on purple, for example — but non-winners push and stay in action if the winning color is anything but white. They lose only if one the ball drops in one of the eight white numbers.
It’s an interesting twist, and doesn’t intrude at all on the traditional game. You can still make the usual bets and ignore the newbies if you like. That’s a point in its favor, giving longtime roulette players the game they’re used to while opening some extra possibilities
Golden Gate, in downtown Las Vegas on Fremont Street, traces its roots to 1906 and calls itself “Las Vegas’ original casino.” It recently completed its first major expansion in 50 years, adding a 35,000-square-foot luxury tower with 16 suites, an expanded gaming floor and a new lobby.
Fusion Hybrid, meanwhile, is among the products acquired by Bally Technologies in its recent purchase of SHFL Entertainment, the largest U.S. purveyor of proprietary table games. Among the familiar Bally/SHFL table games are Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Mississippi Stud and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
Along with its games on felt tables, Bally acquired SHFL’s lineup of electronic table games, including the iTable and the Fusion family of games. Within the Fusion family, there are fully automated games along with games that mix live and electronic elements.
The Fusion Hybrid is one of the latter, featuring live dealers but electronic betting screens. It’s been a hit in Australia and Asia, and now it’s coming to the U.S., configured for roulette and baccarat at Charles Town.
At the touch of the screen, players can switch between games, view results, make their wagers and watch the wheel or deal. Fusion Hybrid can be configured to allow players to switch between four games at once.
With electronic wagering, dealer mistakes and payoff disputes are eliminated. Because the dealer doesn’t have to take time to settle wagers or sort chips, games can move faster, with more hands or spins per hour. And the multigame capability enables casinos to offer more different games to more players.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is a full-service resort with more than 3,200 slot machines, 98 table games and 26 poker tables, as well as thoroughbred horse wagering on live and simulcast races all year round.
Gambling author and columnist John Grochowski’s weekly newspaper column began at the Chicago Sun-Times and is now syndicated nationally. He also regularly makes TV and radio appearances about gambling. His column appears weekly.