Largely considered a staple on the casino floor, craps offers numerous benefits to gambling aficionados. It enables players to socialize and control the game, allowing them to demand the same or different pairs of dice and set them however they like before shooting. Players additionally face a cornucopia of betting options, not to mention few of them are statistically fair.
Considering all these merits, it is no surprise this classic dice game has stood the test of time and continues to excite the attention of players. For a long time, craps was strangely absent from the catalogs of live dealer casinos that otherwise have had no issues with offering table mainstays like roulette, baccarat, three-card poker, and blackjack.
Craps only recently made its way to the virtual realm. However, very few variants are available at live casinos, and we could not help but wonder why. If you, too, are curious as to why craps variations are scarce in this format, stay with us as we speculate on some of the most plausible reasons.
Reason #1 – Decline in Popularity
Craps enjoyed enormous success throughout the second half of the 20th century and was one of the three casino staples alongside roulette and blackjack. However, the popularity of this classic dice game appears to have taken a hit over the last two decades if we judge by the decreasing number of craps tables in gambling hubs like Nevada. Take a look at the figures below and you will see what we mean.
The number of craps tables across Nevada casinos stood at 472 at the beginning of 2000 but dropped to 357 as of January 2020, which approximately corresponds to a 24% decline.
But there is more to it than the declining number of tables. While looking at figures published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, we noticed craps was outperformed by other casino mainstays based on gross gaming revenue (GGR) in April 2022. The game ranked fourth in terms of GGR during this period, falling behind roulette, baccarat, and blackjack.
GGR of Table Games at Non-Restricted* Gambling Venues in Nevada (April 2022):
US$94.9 million in gross revenue
US$51.8 million in gross revenue
US$39.5 million in gross revenue
US$33.8 million in gross revenue
5Texas Hold’em Poker
US$14.3 million in gross revenue
6Pai Gow Poker
US$12.7 million in gross revenue
US$10.6 million in gross revenue
*Non-restricted gambling venues are those with more than 15 slot machines and gaming tables on their premises. The figures are based on the revenue results reported by 447 NGCB licensees.
The figures above led us to the conclusion that the dice game’s popularity among casino goers has started to dwindle. It turns out only several variations of house-banked poker have yielded lower revenue than craps, but then again, they have never been in such high demand, to begin with.
What is more, craps have been consistently outperformed by other table games throughout the entire twelve-month period from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022. The dice classic brought in US$439.8 million in gross revenue, compared to blackjack and baccarat, both of which generated profits in excess of a billion.
In 2017, there were 1,280 blackjack tables on the Las Vegas Strip, compared to 185 craps tables.
This factor could have at least partially contributed to the scarcity of craps at live dealer casinos. Baccarat and blackjack are all the rage among online players at the moment, so catering to popular demand makes perfect sense from the perspective of gambling operators.
Reason #2 – Complexity of Game Structure
Craps does not translate as well to the live dealer format compared to other table games due to the complexity of its structure. In our observation, casual online gamblers tend to get intimidated by the breakneck pace of the game and the overwhelming number of bet types available on the craps layout.
Many wagers require multiple dice rolls to settle, further complicating the gameplay for unversed recreational gamblers. Inexperienced players often get confused and struggle to keep track of the game when they have multiple bets in action, which greatly takes away from the excitement.
The list below comprises the main wagers on the craps layout – there are many others, including numerous side bets, but their availability is casino-specific.
Core Set of Craps Bets
Don’t Come Bets
Hard Way Bets
Big 6 and Big 8
These are an extension of the four bets we discussed above. They resemble side wagers made in multiples (3x, 4x, 5x) of the Pass/Don’t Pass and Come/Don’t Come bets.
Players then have the option to ‘take the odds’ on Pass Line and Come wagers or ‘lay the odds’ when betting on Don’t Pass and Don’t Come. Odds bets are the only statistically fair wagers in craps because they carry no house edge.
The winning criteria coincide with those for the four main wagers you take or lay odds on. The payouts differ depending on the point number.
|Point Number on Pass and Come Odds||Payout for Taking the Odds||Point Number on Don’t Pass and Don’t Come Odds||Payout for Laying the Odds|
|4 or 10||2 to 1||4 or 10||1 to 2|
|5 or 9||3 to 2||5 or 9||2 to 3|
|6 or 8||6 to 5||6 or 8||5 to 6|
Popular Proposition Bets in Craps
Craps tables at live dealer casinos support a motley range of proposition wagers in addition to the above-listed core bets.
These are typically one-roll wagers that pay at higher odds but this comes at the expense of lower win rates and greater house edges.
We recommend you to place them sparingly or avoid them altogether.
Any 7 wins when the number 7 comes up on the next dice toss. The bet pays at odds of 4 to 1.
Any Craps bets win when the shooter rolls one of the three craps numbers (12, 3, or 2). Any Craps offers payouts of 7 to 1.
Yo, also known as ‘yoleven’, wins on combinations of 11, with payouts of 15 to 1.
Ace Deuce bets are successful whenever the shooter throws a 3. The payout coincides with that for the Yo (15 to 1).
Aces bets result in payouts of 30 to 1 when the dice produce a roll of 2.
Boxcar bets are single-roll wagers on the number 12. The payouts are again higher at 30 to 1 since there is only one dice combination that results in a twelve.
7C & E
C & E bets are available in the live craps variation powered by Evolution Gaming. Also known as the ‘combination’ bet, it is a blend of the Yoleven and Any Craps. It pays 3 to 1 if a craps number (2, 3, 12) comes up and 7 to 1 when the shooter rolls 11.
As you can see, craps is an incredibly rich game when it comes to diversity of betting options. Versatility is a double-edged sword in this case, however, since it confuses and overwhelms casual players, driving them away from the live dealer craps tables. This decreases the demand for live craps, which in turn results in fewer live-dealer variations of the game.
Reason #3 – Poorer Winning Odds with Most Bets
While casual players are often turned off by the nauseating cornucopia of betting options, experienced gamblers sometimes also avoid craps because most of its wagers have higher house edges compared to other casino mainstays like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
Core wagers like Pass/Don’t Pass, and Come/Don’t Come offer rather decent winning chances, especially if one takes advantage of the free odds option that renders them statistically fair. However, playing them consistently gets repetitive and boring over time. The trouble is most of the other wagers available in craps yield higher edges to the house, which makes them altogether unplayable.
|House Edges of Craps Bets|
|Bet Type||House Edge||Bet Type||House Edge|
|Pass and Come||1.41% (0% with odds)||Yo 11||11.11%|
|Don’t Pass and Don’t Come||1.36% (0% with odds)||Any Craps||11.11%|
|Field||5.56%||C & E||11.11%|
|Place||From 1.52% to 6.67%||Any 7||16.67%|
|Big 6 and Big 8||9.09%||Ace Deuce||11.11%|
|Hard Way Bets||From 9.09% to 11.11%||Ace Bets||13.89%|
By contrast, live dealer blackjack is far more engaging, involves decision-making, and gives the house an edge of less than 0.50% with basic strategy. Live roulette is also quite popular among online casino players, especially the tables with the La Partage rule where the house edge drops to 1.35%.
Baccarat is another hugely popular live dealer game where players enjoy relatively decent winning chances. Backing the Banker side carries a 1.06% house edge, whereas the Player side puts you at a 1.24% disadvantage. Only the Tie bet in baccarat can outcompete some of the riskier craps bets in terms of house edge, but smart players generally avoid it.
Reason #4 – Failure to Recreate the Landbased Experience
Few software providers commit to streaming live dealer craps because the game does not translate well to this format. As realistic as it looks, live-streamed craps fails to fully recreate the experience at brick-and-mortar casinos.
It is impossible for the format to capture and convey the spirit of camaraderie at landbased craps tables where everyone is rooting for the shooter and cheering them on. Speaking of which, the biggest issue at hand is that players do not get to shoot the dice in the live dealer version and this greatly takes away from the experience.
Instead, the live dealer who mans the table loads the dice into a mechanical arm that catapults them onto the table. While this aims to ensure fairness and unbiased rolls, any craps fan would readily agree the thought of this strange contraption shooting the dice is anything but exciting.
Where to Find Live Dealer Craps
Live craps is scarce at online casinos but it is not impossible to find.
The dice game debuted in the virtual realm toward the end of 2020 when the renowned software studio Evolution Gaming launched the first-ever live rendition of craps. The game offers several handy features to improve the gameplay and make things easier for rookies.
The My Numbers feature displays the numbers players need to win the round, along with the potential payouts.
Easy Mode is available to novices looking to play fewer bet spots on a simplified layout grid.
The Dynamic Statistics feature keeps players up to date with the results of past dice rolls.
The Tutorial feature is pretty much self-explanatory as it gives you a walkthrough of the rules and the available bet types.
If Evolution Gaming’s rendition of live craps does not satiate your appetite for rolling the bones, you can easily get some action in other dice games like Sic Bo. Sic Bo tables are available at live casinos powered by Playtech, Pragmatic Play, Vivo Gaming, and Microgaming.