Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Casino changes, new WSGC newsletter

As I mentioned a few months ago, baccarat has come to state minicasinos. I've not visited one in a few months, but the billboard near the Puyallup River advertises that Chips Lakewood has baccarat available. It's the table game with the lowest house edge, so if any match plays come open, that's the table to use them at.

The latest Washington State Gambling Commission Focus On Gambling newsletter is out. It looks like electronic poker tables are still being discussed by the vendor and the WSGC. "At the November 2008 meeting, the petitioner requested the Commission hold over the petition to allow the Commission’s lab time to test the device and re-analyze the system for changes made after the lab’s initial review in November." They're discussing it again next month.

The Five Hundy By Midnight podcast has mentioned -- and a good friend of mine has confirmed -- that the electronic tables are already in use at the Excalibur poker room in Las Vegas. The more and more I hear about them, the more I'm liking the idea: faster play, no mistakes or rules arguments, no tipping, and, perhaps, lower limits and rakes.

The WSGC has approved the change to allow 9 players (instead of max 7) at table games. I think I've only once ever seen a full seven player table, so I don't think this will affect me, unless this prompts a casino to close down one of its extra blackjack tables and replace it with a poker table. That'd be nice.

There's one significant new proposal in the newsletter. Last year, the state casino industry asked to increase the single-bet limit in poker from $40 to $500. The WSGC asked for an alternative, so that $500 could only be used as a max all-in Hold 'Em bet. The industry countered with a proposal of a $300 max poker bet. The WSGC is discussing it.

Something I may not have mentioned before, and which is some of the most interesting reading in the newsletter, are the list of administrative cases. Usually, that's when a casino does something bad -- like failing to submit a report on time -- or when an employee does something bad. Like this one from page 13:

[T.L.O.] (formerly employed by Chips Casino) Lakewood
  • Admitted turning off the closed circuit television system on several occasions while working as the Director of Security and Surveillance.
  • Allegedly removed money from the house-banked card room’s count room.
The licensee waived his right to a hearing. A Default Order revoking his license was entered.

Most of them aren't nearly as egregious. The most frequent seem to be applicants for dealers' licenses who don't fully disclose their criminal history, dealers who fail to properly collect a bet, dealers allowing a minor to play, or casino employees who find money on the ground and pocket it instead of turning it in. Seems like a tough job, and it's one that can be ended by a single mistake.

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