Anyone with an eye on the iGaming scene in Europe will know that live dealer casino games have become big business in recent years. Thanks to technological advancements and a desire for more interaction, the top European sites have introduced dozens of live games in recent years.
With the New Jersey online casino scene maturing nicely, operators on this side of the pond are now starting to jump on this recent trend. In 2016, Golden Nugget and Betfair NJ “went live” with their in-house live dealer games. Borgata has recently followed suit. In fact, it’s likely the Borgata is using Golden Nugget’s studio to offer four games across its three online casino sites (Borgata online, playMGM, and PartyCasino).
With two of the state’s major players now offering live dealer games, the question is: who’s next?
For most people’s money, the next license holder to enter the fray will be Caesars. Despite being the second smallest operator by total NJ online gambling win as of April 2018, Caesars is one of the largest brands in the live arena.
Indeed, with a presence that stretches far beyond Atlantic City, the company is unlikely to let its rivals get too far out of sight. When you consider the Golden Nugget’s 2018 revenue to date is more than double that of Caesars, it’s clear that live dealer games are a money spinner. This is money Caesars won’t want to leave on the table.
However, with this being said, a few things would need to happen before any new games could be introduced.
Caesars needs the right tech to go live
As it stands, Caesars doesn’t have the necessary software to offer live dealer games.
In simple terms, an online casino needs three things to run live dealer games: a studio equipped with HD webcams, tables fitted with RFID trackers, and some software that connects everything. In Europe, the majority of operators use third-party software providers. These companies have their own studios, dealers, and software, which means casinos simply have to plug into the system.
Some companies, including Golden Nugget, create their own studios. Doing this not only allows them to offer “closed” live dealer games (i.e. ones only available online) but “open” games (i.e. streams from an actual casino floor). Golden Nugget recently released a Live Dealer Casino Floor Roulette game to its live dealer arsenal.
Caesars doesn’t have this technology in place, but it could. If you look at one of its transatlantic cousins, 888.com, players there can enjoy nine different live dealer games. Even though 888’s software subsidiary Dragonfish doesn’t make live dealer games, the operator has partnered with Evolution Gaming.
Known as one of the leading developers in the live dealer market, Evolution has given 888 the ability to offer live blackjack, roulette, Casino Hold’em, and Dream Catcher (similar to Wheel of Fortune). Now, the reason this is relevant is that Evolution recently hinted that it will be setting up a new studio in New Jersey.
Although the details are being kept under wraps, the plan is to go live during the second half of 2018.
Caesars could evolve with Evolution Gaming
If and when Evolution Gaming NJ goes live, Caesars would be the natural partner. Because it already has a relationship with 888, cutting a deal with its license holder in New Jersey, aka Caesars Interactive Entertainment, wouldn’t be hard.
What’s more, with Golden Nugget and Borgata already doing their own thing, the natural move would be to join forces with a household name like Caesars. Of course, this doesn’t mean Evolution would be exclusive to the brand. Outside of the US, companies like Evolution work with all the top operators. However, as a starting point, it makes perfect sense.
So why have live dealer games captivated the online casino world in recent years?
Well, the simple answer is that they offer the best of both worlds. When online gaming came to the fore, it was lauded for its ability to offer an affordable and high pace experience. However, despite the efficiency of virtual games, they lack a certain amount of authenticity. Live dealer tables resolve this issue without compromising on speed.
Yes, they are slightly slower because it’s a real person overseeing the action. However, when you ante up and play, the average game gives you around 15 seconds to act. These time limits keep things ticking over at a rapid rate and, moreover, ensure the “internet dynamic” isn’t lost.
Unsurprisingly, these games do incur additional costs for the casino. The upshot of this is that you won’t be able to play for free. Additionally, the minimum stakes are also a touch higher than they are in virtual games to help maintain quality service. However, the experience is, in many people’s opinion, more than worth it.
A more immersive experience for live dealer games
Overall, live dealer games are fantastic. As well as looking great, the level of interaction you have with dealers and other players makes everything more entertaining.
This is certainly something Caesars will want to capitalize on in the coming months. If Evolution Gaming enters the market and Borgata’s latest venture looks as though it’s a success, there’s no doubt the suits at Caesars HQ will be jumping on the bandwagon as soon as possible.