Light & Wonder’s Ruyi Baccarat Coming Soon To Michigan Casinos

Written By Dan Holmes on October 15, 2023

Michigan casino-goers will soon be able to play a new baccarat game that was featured at last week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

The game is “Ruyi Baccarat” from Light & Wonder, and it will appear on the gaming floor at casinos that enjoy gaming operation agreements with British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC).

Ruyi Baccarat offers progressive jackpot

The new game offers traditional baccarat play, but also features a side-hand option that creates a progressive jackpot payoff.

Baccarat, like all table games of chance, is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Both Light & Wonder and BCLC have licenses as vendors via the state.

There are three commercial casinos in Detroit, and numerous casinos owned by tribal nations throughout Michigan. Customers will soon see the new baccarat game in many of those locations.

Baccarat traces its roots to possibly as far back at the 15th century. It became widely popular in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in the 19th century, and many forms of the game have spread across the globe since.

The game consists of cards and is a competition between the dealer (known as the “banker”) and player hands, similar in that way to blackjack and other table games.

Like blackjack, the dealer has only a slight edge in baccarat, which makes it one of the better games, in terms of odds, for players.

The new Ruyi game features many symbols along with the card deck, which signifies the points and has an attachment to the culture and origins of the game. A “ruyi” is an ancient Chinese scepter-like object.

Live dealer baccarat to come to Michigan?

Light & Wonder released Ruyi Baccarat in August, and by Sept. 9, according to BCLC, more than 100 games had been installed in casinos across the United States and Canada.

“It’s getting pretty good momentum in the market,” says Mike McKiski, Senior Vice-President of Global Table Gaming for Light & Wonder, told CDC Gaming Report. “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.”

In baccarat, non-players can place bets on the outcome, selecting to back either the banker or the player at the table. But, as Light & Wonder explains, the new Ruyi version eliminates a commission (or fee) that is typically placed on bets placed on the player to ensure the house gets “paid” for hosting the game.

“It’s a commission-free baccarat game and that’s the direction we’re going right now. 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,” says McKiski.

“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.”

Light & Wonder plans an online version of the game in the future, and McKiski hints that a live dealer baccarat could be coming as well. Live dealer baccarat has been one of the newest editions to Michigan online casinos.

But, as McKiski points out, they want players to understand the new baccarat game before introducing online and potentially live dealer versions in Michigan.

“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 in the interview. “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.”

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Michigan resident who writes about sports betting, sports media, casino and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters.

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