Economics of Dealing Table Games at Reduced Capacity

Casinos are working hard behind the scenes to comply with Nevada gaming regulations when the time comes to reopen. One of the orders is reducing the number of players per table. This will make it difficult to operate lower limit table games at a profit.

The requirement for most table games is no more than three seats. Roulette tables will be permitted to have four players. Craps tables may have up to six players, three for each side.

Labor costs associated with table games

For blackjack and roulette, there are just under two employees on the clock per table. This includes the dealer, a breaker and a pit supervisor. For craps, there are three dealers, a supervisor, a breaker and a fraction to account for another supervisor and breaker.

The labor side of the table is where the problem lies. Blackjack and roulette need to generate around $30 per hour to cover labor, payroll taxes and benefits. A craps table needs to generate around $85 an hour to cover these expenses. These are estimates that will vary from one casino to another and does not include comps like drink service, free bets, meals and hotel rooms or the cost of additional cleaning supplies and related employees.   

There will also be players that change bets around and go above the minimum. This will help bring up the average, and is something casinos want, but must plan for scenarios where that does not happen. Some tables will sit idle waiting for action to offset some of that. Games may also slow down for more frequent cleanings.

How much a blackjack table can generate shorthanded

A typical Las Vegas blackjack game uses a shoe, pays 3:2, allows the player to double down before and after splitting, with the dealer hitting soft 17. This puts the house edge around 0.65 percent. Below is the theoretical house win on a three-handed blackjack table per average bet using the hands per hours estimates published by the Wizard of Odds.

Legend for multi-player table theoretical: One player/table cumulative

3:2 blackjack

Heads up

  • $5: $6.79
  • $10: $13.59
  • $15: $20.38
  • $25: $33.96
  • $50: $67.93
  • $100: $135.85

Two-handed

  • $5: $4.52/$9.04
  • $10: $9.04/$18.08
  • $15: $13.55/$27.10
  • $25: $22.59/$45.18
  • $50: $45.18/$90.35
  • $100: $90.35/$180.70

Three-handed

  • $5: $3.41/$10.23
  • $10: $6.83/$20.40
  • $25: $17.06/$51.18
  • $50: $34.13/$102.39
  • $100: $68.25/$204.75

Las Vegas Strip casinos, as well as some in other segments, can pay 6:5 on a blackjack at lower limit tables. This chart shows the theoretical hourly house win at those games with a two percent house edge:

6:5 blackjack

Heads up

  • $5: $20.90
  • $10: $41.80
  • $15: $62.70

Two-handed

  • $5: $13.90/$27.80
  • $10: $27.80/$55.60
  • $15: $41.70/$83.40

Three-handed

  • $5: $10.50/$31.50
  • $10: $21/$63
  • $15: $31.50/$94.50

The numbers above account for players that use basic strategy but are not effectively counting cards. The actual losses will be a bit higher due to players making mistakes. However, the first round of guests will more likely be experienced players that know how to play blackjack considering few other amenities and attractions beyond gambling will be available in the reopening phase.

Expected house win at different forms of roulette

Roulette tables will be permitted to have four players per table. Below are the results from single, double and triple zero games:

Single zero

Plaza offers $10 single zero roulette. Cromwell offers it for $25. This is the theoretical hold on those tables:

Heads up

  • $10: $15.12
  • $25: $37.80

Two players

  • $10: $10.26/$20.52
  • $25: $25.65/$51.30

Three players

  • $10: $8.10/$24.30
  • $25: $20.25/$60.75

Four players

  • $10: $7.43/$29.70
  • $25: $18.56/$74.25

Double zero

Heads up

  • $5: $15.12
  • $10: $30.24
  • $15: $45.36

Two players

  • $5: $10.26/$20.52
  • $10: $20.52/$41.04
  • $15: $30.78/$92.34

Three players

  • $5: $8.10/$24.30
  • $10: $16.20/$48.60
  • $15: $24.30/$72.90

Four players

  • $5: $7.43/$29.70
  • $10: $14.85/$59.40
  • $15: $22.28/$89.10

Triple zero roulette

Heads up

  • $5: $43.06
  • $10: $86.12
  • $15: $129.19

Two players

  • $5: $29.22/$58.44
  • $10: $58.44/$116.89
  • $15: $87.67/$175.33

Three players

  • $5: $23.07/$69.21
  • $10: $46.14/$138.42
  • $15: $69.21/$207.63

Four players

  • $5: $21.15/$84.59
  • $10: $42.30/$169.18
  • $15: $63.44/$253.77

Expected house win on craps pass line bets

According to the Wizard of Odds, each roll from the pass line has a 0.42 percent house edge. The numbers below are based on this and the average number of rolls per hour at a table based on the number of players.

Craps tables are dependent on players making side bets such as hops and hardways to make money. Line bets will not cut it. A house can remove a dealer from one side of the table and have three players. However, that does not put a serious dent in the labor cost while at the same time cutting capacity by 50 percent.

One player

  • $5: $5.23
  • $10: $10.46
  • $15: $15.69

Two players

  • $5: $4.87/$9.74
  • $10: $9.74/$19.49
  • $15: $14.62/$43.85

Three players

  • $5: $4.54/$13.61
  • $10: $9.07/$27.22
  • $15: $13.61/$40.82

Four players

  • $5: $3.78/$15.12
  • $10: $7.56/$30.24
  • $15: $11.34/$45.36

Five players

  • $5: $3.02/$15.12
  • $10: $6.04/$30.20
  • $15: $9.06/$45.30

Six players

  • $5: $2.94/$17.64
  • $10: $5.88/$29.40
  • $15: $8.82/$52.92

 

 

 

 

 

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