Casino Design 101 (Part 2 of 2)

Casino Design 101

The last blog entry talked about basics of casino design and layout. This entry will discuss some specifics of slot and table game layouts.

Slot Machine Layouts

The most critical aspect of any casino layout today is all about slot machines, the bread and butter of the casino industry. In the 1970s, slots earned about 40% of casino gambling revenues, but today it’s up to 71%. In most casinos, slots now outnumber table games by well over 10 to 1.

The millennials now are coming of gambling age, and being gamers raised on smart phone games, they continue the trend of vastly preferring gambling via machine, including video poker and blackjack, over traditional table games. The modern success of slots has been driven by touch screens, which have allowed designers to create a wild array of currently popular themed slot machines. Today’s slot machines are no longer all identical machines, now the consumer can choose from more variety and therefore has more impetus to stick around and play different types of casino games – for example, if “Wheel of Fortune” doesn’t pay off, maybe “Family Feud” will.

Casino designers arrange machines in smaller groups, with a shift away from long rows and towards circles or smaller rows. This design lets players see a wider variety of games from any vantage point, giving them more choices and more gambling options, and making them more social, mimicking table games. Groups of people can all gather around in and play together, making the experience more fun – particularly for younger gamblers out as a group.

Table Game Layouts

Designers are still traditionally placing table games together in the middle of the casino where they can be centrally managed and secured. These games usually aren’t of much interest to casual gamblers, and regular gamblers will gravitate here anyway, so placement isn’t that critical.

Clustering table games in a group does have other advantages, though. Table games such as Blackjack and craps are often rowdy and noisy, which generates energy and creates a “party” environment. Having these games centrally located allows that energy to spread out, drawing in new players.

The next time you walk into a casino, pause for a moment and think about why it was designed the way it was, and notice how it’s been laid out. Are you in a maze or a playground?


“When I was young, people called me a gambler. As the scale of my operations increased I became known as a speculator. Now I am called a banker. But I have been doing the same thing all the time.”

Sir Ernest Cassel (1852-1921; British merchant banker and capitalist)


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