Venetian Sticks It to Players with Triple Zero Sands Roulette

It appears all bets are off when it comes to casinos coming up with clever ways to increase profits. Venetian Las Vegas recently introduced Sands Roulette, a game almost identical to traditional roulette, but with an insidious twist, a triple zero.

Most roulette tables in the U.S. have a zero and double zero. Those games have a house advantage of 5.2%. Not the worst game in a casino, but fairly hefty when compared to games like blackjack and baccarat.

Occasionally, you can find a European roulette table, with just a zero, and the house edge
dips down to 2.7%. In Las Vegas, those tables tend to be reserved for high rollers.

Sands Roulette at Venetian, with 0-00-000, means there are more ways for a player to lose,
and the house advantage jumps up to 7.7% (7.69% to be exact, but let’s not get bogged
down in details).

We’d love to show you a photo of the Sands Roulette table layout, but photography is
strictly forbidden at live tables in the Venetian. Therefore, we aren’t able to share the
photo below.

Triple Zero Sands Roulette

Sadly, this isn’t Photoshopped. It actually exists.

Yes, the bean counters are at it again.

While a 2.5% increase in the house edge may not seem like a lot at first glance, it
amounts to a huge windfall for the casino over the course of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of spins.

The frustrating part about this particular revenue enhancement strategy is it’s
implemented in a way that seems underhanded. You won’t see a triple zero on the table, but
rather the triple zero is represented with an “S” and the Sands logo. The Venetian is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Sands Roulette intentionally takes advantage of less experienced players. One Venetian
staffer even said, aloud, “Tourists and conventioneers don’t really care.”

That opinion seemed to be confirmed by the fact the Sands Roulette table (there’s only one
in the casino at this point) was packed during our visit.

That same floor person admitted, “We try new table games for 90 days and evaluate the
results. If it tanks, it’ll go away.” Good to know, although much like 6-to-5 blackjack
(for many years, the game payed 3-to-2), sometimes such “innovations” never go away.

The Venetian staffer followed up with something rather ominous. He said, “If it increases
the drop, they’ll probably try adding another space.”

We’ll let that particular brand of WTF sink in for a moment.

Triple zero Sands Roulette

Sorry, we can’t show you this photo, either. Our hands are tied!

That’s right. Not only is the Venetian exploring new ways to stick it to us, they’re open to upping the ante. Let’s do this until we see what the pain point is, they seem to be saying.

Deep breaths.

Look, we don’t begrudge casinos the ability to increase profits. They’re doing it with paid parking and reduced liquor pour sizes and comp drink monitoring systems.

But is it too much to ask to not muck with a timeless, iconic casino table game? Seriously, WWJBS? (What would James Bond say?)

As mentioned, there’s currently only one triple zero table at Venetian, and we’re not
aware of any others in Las Vegas. It would surprise no one if triple zero games started
popping up at competing casinos in the very near future.

The Sands Roulette table had a $10 minimum, while all the other roulette tables had a $15 limit. One could make the argument the triple zero is a “surcharge” for the “lower” table minimum. Or not.

Will the average Las Vegas visitor realize they’re being dinged when they play the triple
zero Sands Roulette? Will knowing about it keep them from playing? We suspect not. Recreational gamblers don’t obsess over things like odds. These are the same folks playing the Big Six wheel, with one of the biggest house edges in a casino (as much as 24%, the mind reels).

Taken alone, Sands Roulette’s triple zero at Venetian Las Vegas isn’t the end of the world. But it does feel like another symbol of how casinos seem to be jeopardizing long-term trust and loyalty for short-term gain. With each new fee or detrimental change to a game, casinos run the risk of damaging the public perception of Las Vegas as a value-driven destination.

The opining about this state of affairs isn’t limited to us, of course. Our friend Sam Novak at VegasBright.com has a few thoughts well worth a look.

Ultimately, we decide what games succeed or fail. So, choose wisely.

Thanks to Marc Meltzer of EdgeVegas.com and the eagle-eyed folks at the Wizard of Vegas
forum for tipping us off to the unfortunate existence of Sands Roulette at Venetian Las Vegas.

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  • Photoncounter

    What genius in designing the wheel! Group all the green together so it takes up a portion of the arc. I wonder how many bet all three green who would never consider betting three numbers next to each other even though that would be the same odds? At North of 7% HA this makes Venetian plenty of dough, it will stay.

    Keno and the big wheel are all very bad bets but there are many side bets too numerous to list. The three day conventioneer that brought $1000 to blow will be successful in that mission, they stand little chance of leaving with a positive bankroll. Their companies begrudgingly pay the nuisance fees so the greedy corporations keep dreaming them up.

  • I continue to be amazed that Strip casino executives find that when product (casino) revenue is in a long-term slump, the best thing to do is raise prices so they make more money per unit sold.

    • Bouldersteve

      If sucker bets kept the room..drink and food prices low it would be ok. But no those prices continue to rise.

  • Mako10

    Laughable. Its like theyre purposely trying to drive people away from going to Vegas, unless the casino execs really ARE that stupid.

  • Oscar

    The logic being, if they’re stupid enough to pay $25 for fried fish with fries and a drink, they’re stupid enough for another zero.

    • David McClintock

      $25 for fish and chips? Sounds like a deal. Check out he menu posted outside Hakasans MGM. $400 for a bowl of fancy soup. And yes, people are paying for it. I think Vegas has become for the rich and dumb money only. All the normal tourists are standing in line at the Subway complaining about $10 6 inches.

  • Rooster

    What this says is the strip casinos have decided their target market is conventioneers and non-gambling savvy tourists (i.e – dumb money) at the expense of knowledgeable players. They’ve essentially ceded the “low-margin” gamblers to downtown.

    • David McClintock

      Correct. But this is even worse because the average conventioneer/businessman who knows nothing about casino games sits down for fun, loses everything, and never gambles again. When a first time casino gambler has swings it’s exciting. When they sit down and are robbed it’s not.

      The monorail was packed with conventioneers and one guy asked this women if she was gambling she said:

      “I come to Vegas all the time but I don’t gamble anymore” then she made this face and everyone started laughing. After they all chimed in and said:

      “Not since 5 years ago”

      “Not anymore”
      “Call me kooky but but I actually expect to get something for my money”
      “One time was enough for me”
      “Nope”

      “It’s not the same”

      “They don’t give you a chance”

      These conventioneers were repeat visitors. They are coming back next year – but they aren’t gambling.

  • William Wingo

    That makes 6-5 Blackjack look good. Next they’ll automate it like in Arizona so they don’t have to pay the croupiers.

    • David McClintock

      They are already automating it for people who don’t like the human/dealer interaction and I noticed they are switching some of the 3/2 machines to 6/5 machines.

  • Steven Michaels

    At some point casino customers have to take responsibility for themselves. Just because a casino offers a game doesn’t mean you have to play it. If the big strip casino owners want to turn their hotel casinos into sort of stationary cruise ship casinos they also have to accept the consequences that some share of the mid-level gamblers that they’ve priced out of the market will take their business elsewhere. Casino Hotels are not cruise ships and their customers aren’t trapped inside and some percentage of customers are smart enough shoppers to know what games are an incredibly rotten deal.

  • Kevin Rackley

    I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” True wisdom stands the test of time.

  • RustyHammer

    I lost interest in the strip years ago. Thanks for continuing to affirm that decision, casinos.

    • David McClintock

      The strip is awesome if you’re rich. It’s not much fun sticking to a budget. If you want to have a normal vacation, staying in an above average room, eating at all the nice resturants, going to the shows, taxi’s, buying a few things at the shops, gambling, going on the rollercoasters and everything else – you could easily be looking at a grand a day or 2-3 grand for a family of 4.

      That doesn’t make it the best value for most poeple

  • Bouldersteve

    Sheldon Adelson has committed to put up $650 million for the Raiders stadium. He has got to get that money from somewhere.

    • David McClintock

      Just what America needs. Another stadium.

  • DemocraticSycamore

    In my nearly twenty years in foodservice I have never heard of a standard pour being 1.5 oz. Every single place I’ve ever worked is 1.25 oz. Bartenders were trained on free pouring their drinks with accuracy — and 1.25 was the most used pour.

    Every. Single. Place. I’ve. Ever. Worked.

    There is this notion that going from 1.5 to 1.25 is a reduction. Maybe it is for Vegas — but it ain’t elsewhere. The standard pour for a ‘single’ drink is 1.25 oz.

    • You’ve worked for a lot of cheapskates, then. Or possibly, you have encountered state laws that arbitrarily limit a liquor pour to 1.25 ounces. The standard pour I’ve encountered everywhere on either side of the bar is 1.5 ounces; it’s that standard because the alcohol content is the same as your average 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce glass of wine.

      • ddddddddddddo3344

        Except what’s the average alcohol percentage in beer? 4%? 6%? 9%? That difference alone will change what a shot should be!

        • Your typical American lager (Bud, Miller, Coors, et cetera) is 5 percent alcohol by volume. Most beers fall within half a percentage point either way. Light beers are usually 4.1 or 4.2 percent.

  • David McClintock

    They keep shooting themselves in the foot. Over and over and over again to appease the owners greed.

    The owners are so greedy the employees feel the only choice is to screw the customer with quick short term gains vs. long term sustainability.

    Yes. People are math illiterate. But not to losing money so quickly with no fun involved. Once the typical math illiterate figures it out they become super bitter and never play again.

    People come to a casino to PLAY not to lose $$$$$$$ as quick as possible.

    You CANNOT keep doing this thinking people are too stupid to notice. You have to give them something for their money like they did in 1950’s Vegas. Go back to classic rules on all games. The Casino STILL makes money but the customer has fun playing longer.

  • Sam The Spam

    The “casino marketing” suits have forgotten about word-of-mouth. The guy at the office water cooler who brags about how he won $1000 in Vegas last weekend is what drives business. No more water-cooler stories, people will stop coming.