A question that is often asked by venue operators looking to purchase new casino chairs is….“should I have armrests on my gaming stools?”
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages.
Why armrests are a GOOD idea
Comfort. If your chairs are more comfortable, the length of time an average patron spends in your venue may increase which can lead to higher revenue. A casino chair that is easy to move, has a big comfortable seat, a supportive backrest, and comes with gas height adjustment, will generally always be a winner on any gaming floor. Comfort is the key because you don’t want your patrons leaving your venue because they find your stools uncomfortable. Will you improve player comfort by having armrests on your gaming stools? The simple answer is….yes, for some patrons, but not everyone.
The comfort of any chair, whether it is an office chair, dining chair, car seat or gaming stool, is extremely subjective and depends on the individual. Some people will find a specific chair very comfortable, while others will think the exact opposite. When it comes to chairs and stools, there is no one-size fits all. Armrests may certainly improve the comfort of the chair for some players, but not all.
Why armrests are a BAD idea
1. Stool weight and manoeuverability
Because they need to withstand heavy 24/7 use, gaming stools are designed to be tough. Components are “beefed up” to ensure the chairs last in such a demanding environment. This results in casino chairs that are heavy, a typical stool weighing in the region of 18-20kg. If you add armrests to a chair, it’s weight can easily increase by 5kg or more. Regardless of the stool base, a very heavy chair is less manoeuverable and can result in potential OH&S issues for both staff and patrons.
2. Potential breakage and associated risk
Unfortunately there will always be a small percentage of patrons that will abuse your gaming stools. If a chair has armrests fitted to it’s seat, you can be sure that someone, at some stage, will sit on the armrests. Unless the armrests are securely attached to the seat and reinforced with steel plates (which increases the weight of the chair), there is a good chance that anyone sitting on an armrest will cause it to break away from the seat. Not only will this damage the chair and armrest, but more importantly, there is an extremely high risk of injury to the patron and anyone else in the immediate vicinity. Should this occur, the possibility of litigation cannot be excluded.
3. Distance between machines and players
Adding armrests to the stools will invariably make the chairs wider. Unless you have adequate space between your machines, wider chairs can result in both players and staff having restricted access to the machines. Turning, and getting in or out of the chair, may become more difficult as patrons ‘bump’ into each other.
Gaming stools can be expensive, and adding armrests might exceed your budget. Depending on the stool design and other options like the base, a good casino chair fitted with armrests can easily cost in excess of $700.
To address the individual needs of all players, perhaps the best solution is having a mix of chairs on your gaming floor so that each player can select their preferred seat. Such a mix could include:
- a) stools with and without armrests
- b) some with gas height adjustment and others at a fixed height, and finally
- c) different styles or ranges of casino chairs.
Such a mix of chairs will of course result in a non-uniform gaming floor. However, it will address the individual comfort needs of each patron by allowing them to select the chair which they find the most comfortable.