It’s interesting how the once tidy division between ‘video games (poker, slots, keno)’ and ‘table games’ are rapidly converging in the gambling industry. In many casinos and jurisdictions ‘table games’ as we once knew them are a complete anachronism. Like many other areas of the gambling and casino industry rapid technological growth has allowed the offering of identical (or identical enough for undiscerning tourists) table games using fewer–and in come cases no–human employees. This has also been done in other areas of the casino (anyone under the age of 40 won’t remember when ‘change girls’ were ubiquitous in video poker and slots banks but for many years casinos were hesitant to tinker with the games themselves.

Casino management–even up to the corporate level in huge publicly traded companies–major and perhaps one day fatal flaw is that they lack vision. They’d rather just keep doing things like they always have until they can no longer milk a buck out of it. For many years they were able to get protection from rapid technological changes due to regulatory cronyism and other back room dealings. There’s always been a ‘take it or leave it’ mentality about a casino’s gaming options. It almost seems that there’s collusion between casino companies that in theory should be competitors to keep statis in the use of new technology. This multifaceted scam worked for many years. It’s falling apart before our eyes as the Internet has not only afforded gamblers more options than ever before but has also educated them to understand what they *should* be getting as gaming consumers.


Craps is one area where technological advancement is long overdue. During much of the past few decades most land based casinos offered craps almost grudgingly. It gave them a minimal house edge (when played right), had a significant labor requirement with as many as four employees per game and was harder for the ‘house’ to further manipulate to their advantage. It was also a leisurely paced game and that’s something else that the casino hates–with a built in house edge the faster customer’s bet the more money the casino earns. People still enjoyed craps so casinos were almost mandated to offer it.

In theory, the casinos should have embraced technology in craps long before now. There were a few efforts to create one player ‘video craps’ games but they found little traction with the player. Many players also had the (incorrect) belief that since there was no actual kinetic interplay of the dice that the game was ‘rigged’. Even players that understood the reality of random number generation there was something lacking. Since most players in the gaming industry had little incentive to innovate this remained the situation for years.

Finally, someone figured it out. They combined the best elements of traditional craps with the best elements of video craps. The most successful of these was ‘Shoot To Win Craps’ created by Aruze Gaming. ‘Shoot To Win Craps’ is now found all over Nevada and has been warmly received by most players. There’s a few curmudgeons that bemoan the loss of traditional craps tables but Las Vegas is full of characters like this–they love to gripe about how much better Las Vegas used to be but won’t go out of their way to change things to benefit the gambler. There’s other versions by other manufacturers that are more commonly found in European and Asian casinos.

Here’s a picture of a ‘Shoot To Win Craps’ setup on location in Las Vegas:


The machine very cleverly combines a computerized interface to accept and process bets with physical dice. This should placate those that are squeamish about the ‘fairness’ of full video rendered craps. The setup also keeps the communal quality of the game and the larger dice are effective at drawing spectators and potential new players.

One place where you’ll still find full video craps is online. There are a variety of different software packages in use at online casinos with some offering unique twists on the traditional craps experience. We’ll cover these and the other permutations of craps in online and land based casinos in a future article.