When current restrictions ease and gaming venues finally get to open their doors in Manitoba, government-run casinos will be embracing a new way of providing table games. It’s called Stadium gaming, and predictions are that it’s going to be perfect for the physically distanced world we’ve found ourselves living in.

What is Stadium Gaming?

Several other Canadian provinces have already adopted this gaming approach very successfully, and Manitoba is about to follow suit.

Stadium gaming is a sort of hybrid between video slots and live casino games, specifically roulette and baccarat. Each chair in the Stadium Gaming area of a casino has its own interactive video display.

Players place their bets through the screens as live games are dealt by actual human dealers nearby. The video screen is relatively intuitive, so you can jump right in and start playing.

The rules are also available via the screen, so beginners get the opportunity to learn before they make their first bet.

It is thought that the Stadium Gaming set-up has been imported from Asia, where the demand for table games is so great that the casinos can’t keep up.

This form of gameplay has apparent advantages for the casino. It only requires three casino staff members to serve all those players, two dealers, and a floor manager. The benefits of this are low costs and high returns, both of which are what a casino is looking for.

The downside for players is that there’s no camaraderie. Everyone plays their own game. There’s no feeling of the chips and no dealer interaction. There’s also little excitement, it’s very mechanical, and there’s room for human error.

One of the biggest attractions of this gaming approach is that it allows for proper physical distancing between players and between players and casino employees. Stadium gaming looks set to become a permanent way of playing at Winnipeg casinos.

In addition, it’s a new way of doing table games that allows Winnipeg casinos, run by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, to call back many employees who previously worked table games in the province.

More Machines Tends to Lead to Fewer Humans

All that aside, this form of gaming relies heavily on technology and automated processes. This inevitably means that should there be a Manitoba-wide roll-out, it will significantly reduce the number of casino employees at casinos such as Winnipeg’s Shark Club, Gaming Centre Club, Regent Casino, and McPhillips Station Casino.

The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries haven’t confirmed the exact number of employees this change will affect. But, Unifor has confirmed that at least 150 people were offered severance packages at the beginning of the year. Of those 150, a Unifor national representative has said that 124 labor union members accepted the package.

A Shift to Electronic Gambling was Inevitable

The packages offered by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries were over and above what collective bargaining agreements had already been made between the employer and the union. Even so, many employees chose not to accept because they’d been working their jobs for so long and wanted to stay on in the hope that they would be able to retire with a pension.

Electronic gambling has been on the cards for casinos worldwide, even before the global pandemic hit. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to bear for those affected. Moving forward, machines will be used for many of the tasks human employees would have performed in the past.

As yet, however, there are no plans for the reopening of the province’s casinos. 

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