A top casino is set to become the first in Las vegas install AUTOMATIC poker tables.
The Excalibur Hotel and Casino will also be the first casino in Nevada to install the controversial machines, made by PokerTek, when it opens its new room this Friday.
PokerTek CEO Chris Halligan said the acceptance of the automatic game had soared in the last year and continued to grow.
He said: “We’ve opened a successful 20-plus table room in Montreal, a beautiful 12 table room in Michigan, a high-end 12-table room in Atlantic City and now 12 tables in the gaming hub of the world, Las Vegas.
“With more than 230 tables currently installed worldwide, we’re ready for Nevada!
Professional poker player Clonie Gowen said she was excited by the prospect: “It’s is an amazing way to play the game. The speed and accuracy beats any manual table.”
But the rise of the robots has attracted criticism from ordinary casino staff who claim they DENY them the tips income they need to make a living wage.
Yesterday, the Press newspaper in Atlantic City reported how many casino staff relied on tips to boost their earnings of less than £2.50 AN HOUR.
It said dealers — who relied on tips to make up more than TWO-THIRDS of their pay — were worried poker machines could cost them their tips AND their livelihood.
Paula Cifelli, a dealer at Caesars in Atlantic City, told the paper that no matter how clever the technology became, electronic games could never replace the interaction between human dealers and players.
“I entertain the customers,” Cifelli said. “We laugh, we joke. Is a machine going to do that?
“I have people staying at my table for a long time, even if they are losing money.”