"The poker craze reinvigorated table games by appealing to a younger, hipper crowd," says Jason Fitzhugh, president of Gemaco's casino division.
Pop culture influences such as the movie
Casino Royale added to the craze.
Fitzhugh says Gemaco was the first to offer commercial casinos certified pre-shuffled decks, called the "Gempak," beginning approximately three years ago with Connecticut's Mohegan Sun.
created the concept after watching Macau operators employ 30-40 workers whose only job was shuffling.
A pre-shuffled deck adds around 25 cents a deck to the cost, but Fitzhugh
says the extra revenue dwarfs that cost.
"It takes 15-30 minutes to open a table," he
"If you can save 15 minutes each time, then high-end players don't have to wait for cards to be shuffled.
For a few dollars a day, the average operator can add hundreds if not thousands of dollars."
just signed the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has been adding table games to its six casinos using pre-shuffled decks exclusively.
"Some states are looking at changing regulations to allow for pre-shuffled decks," says Fitzhugh