Electronic poker tables coming to AC casinos

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Dealers getting dealt out? Atlantic City casinos given go ahead for electronic poker tables

In a climate already heated over the ongoing unionization of dealers at Atlantic City casinos, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission added a little more fuel to the fire Wednesday.

The Commission announced the 11 local casinos now have the go ahead to test electronic gaming tables for both poker and roulette - eliminating the need for some dealers altogether.

"I think it adds a new element to the Atlantic City market," Casino Control Commission Chair Linda M. Kassekert told the Press of Atlantic City in an article last week, "and is particularly important because Pennsylvania and Delaware have them."

Casino operators in Atlantic City are keenly aware of the erosion of gaming profits towards the neighboring states' slot parlors, which have already incorporated electronic blackjack, poker and baccarat tables in to their offerings, and feel it's a necessary step to keep pace.

"We're approving them because I think they're a very important product for Atlantic City," Kassekert told the Press.

The machines are not expected to completely replace live dealers in Atlantic City, the Commission says, but are an attempt to grab some of the slot players back from the neighboring markets and to entice players who find electronic table games less intimidating than playing in front of live dealers

The versions used in New Jersey will be slightly different than those on offer in the slot parlors also. Electronic poker tables will look like real poker tables, with seats for all of the players, but with individual screens where they will read their cards. Roulette tables will still have a live dealer and wheel, but bets and payouts will be made electronically.

The Commission did acknowledge the machines would be useful to save on labor costs and some dealer positions could be lost, but said the decision to introduce table games at this time had nothing to do with the ongoing unionization efforts.

No casinos have applied for permission to test the tables yet, a Commission spokesperson said, and no timetable has been developed for their incorporation.

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