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85 years playing card board from Koehler

“The outside world should just stay out for a while”


Since 1934, Koehler has been a specialist in the production of playing card board. Today our high-quality cards are used in the biggest casinos around the world. In this big anniversary year, Sales Manager and Technical Customer Services, Jürgen Leber, had the opportunity to interview Mike Fluty, Director of Operations at our customer Gaming Partners International (GPI). It's about stakes, sales and the world's first casinos.

“The outside world should just stay out for a while”

Jürgen Leber: Mr. Fluty, could you tell us how long casinos have existed in the USA and whether the number of visitors is rising or falling?
Mike Fluty: The first casino in the USA was built in 1931 in Las Vegas during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first casino to be supplied with playing cards in 1978 by Gemaco, now a subsidiary of GPI, was located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Even today, casino visitor numbers in the USA are still increasing, albeit not as strongly as they used to.

JL: So casinos are still extremely popular. Who invented the concept of the casino and where?
MF: In 1638 the first public casino in Venice was opened in Palazzo Dandolo. This was the so-called Ridotto. It is considered to be the oldest casino in the world. So it was probably the Italians.

JL: Are there big differences between casinos in different countries or all they all the same? If there are differences, what are they?
MF: In American casinos, there are differences from state to state. Sometimes this depends on the laws or game restrictions. In some cities, such as Las Vegas, Nevada, you can get free alcoholic beverages while using a slot machine or gaming table. In Oklahoma, for example, this is not allowed. The types of gambling played in the casinos also depend on the region and the people. Asians, for example, prefer to play Baccarat than other games at the table.

JL: What is the most popular game in the casino?
MF: That would probably be Black Jack.

JL: As a rule, the odds of winning a game of chance appear very low. Why then do people try their luck time and again? What fuels this fascination with casinos?
MF: The chance to win money is the attraction. But also the social aspect attracts. Young people often go to the casino in groups. But the whole thing also has a negative touch, because you can get addicted to gambling. Gambling addicts can have their name put on a list to deny them access to casinos across the state. This can also be extended to the entire USA.

JL: How much money does an average gambler leaved behind in the casino?
MF: That depends on how much money they play with. Some gamblers lose thousands of dollars. There are tables with minimum bets of 5 USD and maximum bets of 5,000 USD. But there are also tables where the minimum is 100 USD and the maximum is 25,000 USD.

JL: There are always people who claim there is a system to winning in the casino. Does such a system really exist?
MF: Some people are good at counting cards, of course, this alone is no guarantee. However, it does increase the chances. If a casino notices that a gambler is playing with some kind of system, the player can be banned or asked to leave the casino. This could apply to a single casino, but you could also be put on a blacklist. In this case, you will be under observation in all states and recognized as soon as you check in to the casino.

JL: Since these games revolve around luck, people must surely bring lucky charms with them from time to time. Do you know of any particularly unusual good-luck charms, which people have brought into a casino?
MF: Not that I recall. I did once see an older lady, who had a small talisman with her while playing on the slot machines.

JL: How much money does a casino make on average each day?
MF: The average daily takings of a casino in Las Vegas are 630,000 USD.

JL: What happens to the money, if no winnings are paid out?
MF: In Missouri, for example, the money for education goes to the city. Money from casinos in Florida, for example, goes to the Indian reservation of the Seminole tribe. Of course, there are also casinos with private owners who earn their money with it.

JL: How long has our card board been in use in the USA?
MF: Koehler playing card board has been used in American casinos that are supplied by GPI for more than 30 years now.

JL: Are plastic cards also used in the casino? And if so, why?
MF: Sometimes yes, but mainly for poker. Plastic cards last longer, but are more expensive and have a different feel to traditional card stock.

JL: How often will a deck of cards be used before it is replaced?
MF: Sometimes a deck of cards will be used for just a single game. This is the case with Baccarat for example. For Black Jack, a deck of cards is usually used for 24 hours. For Texas Hold'em, a variation of Poker, around 4 hours.

JL: What is the most appropriate outfit for a visit to the casino?
MF: In contrast to other countries, there is no dress code in American casinos.

JL: Is it true that the exit of a casino is always difficult to find?
MF: The inside of a casino is strategically designed in such a way to make it difficult to find the exit. Instead, you are led through a labyrinth of gambling opportunities, which people often become stuck inside and end up betting a few more dollars.

JL: So, the goal is for the gamblers to stay in the casino as long as possible?
MF: Exactly, in a casino, you feel at ease; they are comfortably furnished and you don't see many clocks and windows. The outside world should simply be left outside for a while.

About Gaming Partners International (GPI):
GPI is one of the world's leading suppliers of gaming equipment. GPI supplies its products, including cards, to licensed casinos worldwide.The company with HQ in Blue Springs, Missouri, has 750 employees. In May 2019, GPI was acquired by Angel Playing Cards of Japan.

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