Chinese New Year

Las Vegas casinos betting on baccarat for revenue


Baccarat is a popular game with Asian visitors to Las Vegas casinos.

Big-time gamblers, primarily from Asia, are flocking to Sin City to play baccarat and providing a big boost to the city’s casino revenue in the process.

In the days before Chinese New Year celebrations began this week, six Asian high-rollers sat down at the private baccarat tables at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas one day and began betting wagers of $100,000 to $200,000 a hand, the Associated Press reported.

In terms of casino revenue in Las Vegas, baccarat has easily surpassed blackjack and now represents nearly 60 per cent of the MGM Grand’s table games revenue over the past year.

The game has become especially popular this week, with tens of thousands of Asian tourists in Vegas to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

“For us to make money in gaming today without baccarat is almost impossible,” said Debra Nutton, senior vice-president of casino operations at the MGM Grand hotel-casino. “We need the big whales to make money.”

In Vegas lingo, a “whale” is a big-time gambler who easily wagers more in one night at the tables than most American families make in a year.

These “whales” are well-taken care of in the top casinos of Vegas, with plush, secluded gambling salons. Baccarat games in these secluded gambling salons often start out at a minimum $10,000 per hand.

The whales typically favour baccarat — a game romanticised in James Bond films and highly popular in the Asian gambling mecca of Macau and Singapore.

Nevada figures show that during the 12 months ending November 30, casinos statewide won $1.27 billion from baccarat players, with the game offered at a total of 258 tables in 24 casinos. Blackjack, meanwhile, raked in just $1.03 billion — even though it was offered at a significantly larger total of 2,810 tables in 151 casinos.

Slots are still the most popular and lucrative form of gambling in Nevada, with nearly 165,000 machines in over 330 locations.

Lana Galea View Comments

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  • Casino slots

    Baccarat is also a great table game and now Las Vegas casino is betting more in baccarat table to increase revenue. Its really a good table game.

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