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IN-DEPTH 10 January 2019
The future of live-dealer casinos

By Gambling Insider
Contributors:
Todd Haushalter, CPO, Evolution Gaming
Darwyn Palenzuela, Head of Live Casino, Pragmatic Play


How have live-dealer casinos developed since operators began using them?

TH: Ten years ago, it was a Logitech camera and a girl spinning a roulette wheel in a room, where a player could only play on desktop computers. Now, there are games with 21 cameras and slow-motion replays. Other games combine RNG with live to give players massive pay-outs that would otherwise not be possible. Some games even take the format of a game-show rather than a table game. Then there are some counter-intuitive changes, like how the industry has moved away from green screen technology, as this erodes player trust and reduces player engagement. The live casino of 2018 is radically different from 2006 and it is far more than just the fact players prefer to play on their phones today.

DP: Fundamentally, live-casino games aim to give players a similar experience to being on the casino floor, coupled with the flexibility to access content from multiple devices on the go. As a result, the ingredients of the offerings by and large stay the same. However, technological advancements have provided opportunities for better visuals and a slicker, more immersive experience, creating a more personal atmosphere between the dealer and player. We entered the vertical following our acquisition of Extreme Live Gaming from Novomatic Group and we are committed to pushing the boundaries of what this vertical can offer players.

What are the biggest challenges involved in operating a live-dealer casino offering? How can these challenges be dealt with?

TH: Running an effective live-casino operation is extremely difficult. A simple example of this is we have a 30-person video team, who are constantly reacting to every small change made in Chrome and other browsers. They optimise video for every part of the world on every device. We also have a team of 15 called the iTeam that does nothing but play our games in live environments on the top 75 devices and identify new ways to optimise the playing experience. There is a total staff of around 5,000 in multiple countries and the games run 24/7 and must be protected from advantage players at the very highest levels.

A live-casino provider must protect the games from wheel clockers, card counters, wheel bias trackers, bonus abusers, and all sorts of real risks. Some think you can just have a dealer spin a ball, stream it live, and you have a live casino. But more than a few live casinos and their partners have learned the hard and expensive way just how complex this is.

DP: As with any online game, one of the predominant difficulties lies with innovation. With more and more suppliers and operators beginning to capitalise on live casino, it is important to create games of premium quality with a USP differentiating them from the majority. Capitalising on the latest technological advancements to deliver a smooth live streaming and gameplay experience is a must, mirroring the enjoyment players can experience in a real-life casino setting.

Roughly how much revenue can a successful live casino generate for an operator?

DP: The question as to the specific portion of revenue it generates is one for operators. Yet the importance of live casino as an acquisition tool between the land-based and remote sectors cannot be dismissed.
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