The gambling landscape has certainly changed over the past 30 years. A big reason for this has been the rise of online gambling. As recent as the 1980’s, gamblers had to travel to Las Vegas or Atlantic City in order to play the table games and slots that define casino gambling. Today, those who like to gamble can play blackjack online right from their computer, phone, or tablet.
At least one group of researchers is contending that the popularity of blackjack in the live casino has dropped thanks to the way people like to gamble today. The Center for Gaming Research at UNLV has published a revealing study which reveals that traditional blackjack might be slowly dying as a table game played in live casinos.
Blackjack-The King of the Casino
When it comes to table games, blackjack has always been the king of the casino. In the late 1980’s when Las Vegas casinos were thriving and Atlantic City venues were hitting their stride, more than 70% of table game players preferred blackjack. Just a little over 10% identified Craps as their favorite game.
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The reasons for blackjack’s popularity can be attributed to several factors. For starters, the game is easy to learn and play. Even more important is that blackjack is a game that can offer a nice statistical edge for the player when basic strategy and card counting are mastered. Even so, today only 50% of gamblers in the live casino claim that blackjack is their favorite table game.
These findings by researchers at UNLV begs an important question. Why has the popularity of blackjack in land-based casinos fallen? The answer to that question can be found on the device you are using right now to read this article.
The Rise of Online Blackjack
While blackjack may not be as popular in Vegas today as it once was, it still reigns supreme when it comes to Internet gaming. Online blackjack and Texas Hold ‘Em poker are the most popular games when it comes to gambling online.
Some theorize that this fondness for blackjack among those who play the game with their computer began because free blackjack games introduced more people to 21. Long before online casinos started allowing players to wager and win real money, various websites and social media platforms were offering free blackjack games. There are many sites that still do. You can find numerous blackjack apps for Facebook and also for the Android and iOS mobile platforms.
Efforts to curb online blackjack, especially in the United States, have largely failed. While the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was successful in shutting down poker sites like Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, it wasn’t long before states that allow land-based gambling introduced their own measures to legalize online gambling.
If you live in Nevada or New Jersey, you can legally play blackjack and other table games as well as slot machines online. The online casinos in these states are operated by gaming companies such as Golden Nugget and Caesars which have live casinos in each state.
Online gambling has also been legal in many other parts of the world for some time. Some overseas sites even accept US players. It all boils down to convenience.
Why drive to a live casino and incur the expense of a hotel room, meals, and travel when you can stay at home and play? The blackjack games online are driven by the latest software and work seamlessly. There are no other obnoxious players to contend with, no smoky atmosphere, and no dress requirements. You can play in your underwear if that is what you want to do.
Also consider that many online casinos are now offering live blackjack dealers. This has upped the popularity of online blackjack even more. Players can watch the dealer deal the cards from a shoe and even chat with other players at the table. This creates a live feel that mimics what is found in a live casino.
Blackjack is Being Reborn
Despite what the findings of the UNLV research team indicate, blackjack is not a dying game. Blackjack is being reborn. The evolution of the game in the online environment has actually produced new variations of the game, exciting new blackjack side bets, and attracted individuals that have never played the game before.
From time to time, it becomes necessary for a gambling game to evolve. A good example of this is baccarat. As little as ten years ago, baccarat was a game reserved for the wealthy and played in elegant rooms in the casino. Today, thanks to the introduction of mini-baccarat and other variations, the game is the most popular in the live casino and can be found right alongside the craps and blackjack tables.
Blackjack is undergoing the same evolution. The difference is that blackjack is being transformed online. If the current trend continues and more states in the U.S. legalize online gambling, it is certain that the popularity of blackjack will swell once more. This, in turn, could lead to a revival of the game in live casinos.
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