Three weeks after being selected as the preferred bidder for the license to build and run a new casino in the northern Illinois city of Rockford and Hard Rock International has reportedly announced that it does not intend to offer games of live poker at the coming facility.
According to a Saturday report from the Rockford Register Star newspaper, the Florida firm is now awaiting approval to begin work on its $310 million Hard Rock Casino Rockford and envisions the facility encompassing a 1,600-seat music venue alongside a 65,000 sq ft gaming floor featuring a selection of approximately 1,500 slots as well as some 55 gaming tables offering more standard games such as craps, roulette and blackjack.
But, the revelation from Hard Rock International reportedly means that future Hard Rock Casino Rockford patrons will be unable to enjoy the popular games of Omaha high-low, seven-card stud and Texas hold‘em, which are contests of skill that pit poker players against one another instead of the house.
The Rockford Register Star reported that the decision from Hard Rock International seems to be down to economics as games of poker traditionally do not bring in as much money as slots and other table games. It cited Anthony Lucas from the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ William F Harrah College of Hotel Administration as explaining that recent years have even seen numerous casinos in Las Vegas downsize or eliminate their poker rooms as part of programs to remain as profitable as possible.
Lucas reportedly told the newspaper…
“A casino floor is a war for space. There is a finite amount of it and there is an ongoing turf war. Everyone is jockeying for more space and they do it by saying ‘This is the profit per square foot I can produce’. You start weighing all these possible uses of space against one another and the poker room is one of those things that doesn’t do so well in the conversation.”
According to the source, poker competitions usually involve casinos only making money off of the fees they charge participants, which is known as ‘rake,’ while they profit directly from slots and other table games as players contend directly against the house. Lucas detailed that a typical poker room with 20 tables inside a Las Vegas casino will generate an annual operating profit of about $3 million while venues can increase this tally by up to 400% by replacing these units with some 200 slots.
“I love the game and I wish they had a poker room because it’s fun but a lot of places aren’t going with poker.”