Light & Wonder introduces Ruyi Baccarat at G2E

October 5, 2023 7:41 AM
Photo: Casinos BC
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
October 5, 2023 7:41 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States

Light & Wonder is showcasing its new Canada-originated Ruyi Baccarat game on the floor of the Global Gaming Expo next week in Las Vegas.

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In August, the British Columbia Lottery Corp. announced an agreement with Light & Wonder to exclusively license the commission-free game, so that it can be played in casinos throughout North America.

The BCLC, a customer of Light & Wonder, launched Ruyi Baccarat at B.C. casinos in early 2020 and it continues to grow in popularity among players, available on both tables and electronic gaming devices. Ruyi Baccarat is available in 14 B.C. casinos, with plans to bring the game to the BCLC’s playnow.com in the future.

Ruyi Baccarat combines time-honored cultural traditions from the origins of baccarat with a non-commission game- play approach to deliver an elevated player experience, according to Mike McKiski, senior vice president of global table gaming for Light & Wonder.

“It’s a commission-free baccarat game and that’s the direction we’re going right now,” McKiski said. “The rules of baccarat are designed that the banker has a slight edge, so if you’re betting that side, the way the house neutralized the advantage was to charge a commission for playing the banker side. That gets hard to manage, because some players play for hours at a time. The commission-free version tends to be a little easier for both player and operator.”

McKiski said the game was placed in casinos starting Sept. 9 with about 100 tables in the first three weeks. Initial placements were centered in southern California card rooms and tribal properties.

“It’s getting pretty good momentum in the market,” McKiski said. “It’s more popular where you have heavier Asian or Chinese-cultural play. The game is an homage to the Chinese culture where the game was made popular.”

Light & Wonder has announced that it will showcase its diverse portfolio of innovations for land-based casinos and the digital gaming sector at G2E at booth No. 1116. Ruyi will be among an array of table games that will be front and center at the company’s booth at the show.

“It’s a brand-new game. We wanted everyone to see the product and explain the unique story points behind its name and the way the side bets are designed,” McKiski said. “The name Ruyi is like a symbol that tends to bring good luck in Chinese culture.”

McKiski is confident that a felt-based game and progressive will be successful at the show and there are plans to bring this to an electronic table game in the future. It will also be on online platforms, both live dealer and igaming.

“I can play at the table when I’m in the casino and play the outcome from that exact same table at home,” McKiski said. “That’s where we’re going. We started off by showing everybody the game — here’s the significance of the symbols and the story behind why it appeals to your core demographic of baccarat players and here’s how we grow it and expand on the company’s vision to be the leading cross-platform content company with this content.”

Light & Wonder will feature other table games as well. The company’s new table progressive system featuring a never-before-seen coin sensor technology will make its premiere. This industry-first technology offers a built-in LCD screen, 27-inch LED-trimmed sign, and updated software with new bonusing features and enhanced reporting.

“We’ll show it right next to the Ruyi table,” McKiski said. “We’re thinking how we leapfrog and maintain our leadership in the progressive space globally with new innovations like that. This is the first time showing it and it will come out in the first quarter of next year for release.”

Attendees will also see Light & Wonder’s POWERX ROULETTE which takes the classic roulette experience to the next level with a two-level progressive jackpot and offers players the chance to win up to 750 times the value of their wager on a single number.

“It’s the first-of-its-kind standalone roulette progressive,” McKiski said. “They can sit down and play their own roulette game and not have to wait for the whole table to make bets. We drive action through progressives. We just started placing those in September.”

Light & Wonder will also show for the first time an integration between the land-based table games and online table games.