ATLANTIC CITY — Just like coin-operated slot machines, $2 blackjack tables have faded into Atlantic City’s gambling history. But in a nod to the past, the city’s oldest casino will resurrect $2 blackjack games.
However, Resorts Atlantic City will collect a 25-cent fee per hand for bets between $2 and $5 at its new “Retro Blackjack” tables.
The fee was approved Wednesday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and is the first of its kind in Atlantic City.
Resorts will debut the $2 games at two blackjack tables during a limited trial run beginning in February. If the games prove popular, Resorts promises they will stay.
Once common in Atlantic City, $2 tables have since been replaced by higher-stakes games in the profit-driven casino industry. Even $5 blackjack tables are rare these days.
“There was a time when there were more low-limit tables,” Casino Control Commission board member William T. Sommeling said, adding that he often receives calls from gambling customers urging the return of cheap games.
Resorts said the $2 tables are aimed at low-stakes players who are just learning blackjack and may be intimidated by higher-limit games.
“Retro Blackjack gives them an opportunity to become familiar with the game while playing with others who have a similar skill level,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of table games for Resorts.
Brown told the Casino Control Commission that the 25-cent fee will help defray Resorts’ operating costs for a game that doesn’t bring a lot of money to the casino.
“From the industry’s perspective, a $5 game is not a break-even game,” he said.
But Michael C. Epps, the only commission member to vote against the new fee, seemed incredulous that a mere 25 cents per hand could put Resorts in the black on blackjack.
“Now you’re telling me that I have to pay a quarter for every hand? Why am I going to do that?” Epps said to Brown while objecting to the fee.
Although the blackjack tables start at $2, gamblers will be able to increase their bets in $1 increments up to $5. The 25-cent fee will stop on wagers higher than $5. Bets bigger than $5 will have to be made in $5 increments.
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