Guy Cohen, VP B2C Casino at 888casino.com talks about current live casino trends, and what the future holds for the vertical.
The live casino sector is enjoying a major rise in popularity and play right now, with no signs of slowing down. According to H2 Gambling Capital, by the end of the decade the market will be worth more than €1.9bn per year in Europe as more players are drawn to the authentic and interactive experience it offers.
In order to achieve, or even surpass this, operators and suppliers will have to work closely together to ensure the live casino experience is constantly improved. This needs to be done via innovative new games and formats, as well as operators designing more studio/gaming environments that deliver variety to players.
In recent months, we have launched a number of new games including Speed Roulette as well as an entirely new game variant via Evolution Gaming’s live money wheel game, Dream Catcher. Double Ball roulette is scheduled to follow in a few weeks’ time.
Suppliers have also upped the ante when it comes to mobile live dealer; games can now be played seamlessly across all devices, with no downtime or significant differences in the quality of the live experience offered whether on desktop or mobile. This has opened live casino to a new demographic of mobile-only players.
In addition, it is now possible for players to play games (including blackjack) in both portrait and landscape modes. This may not sound like a major breakthrough, but it has significantly improved the mobile experience for those who are playing while doing something else. Given the size of some smartphones it is much easier to hold the device in portrait mode.
When it comes to designing and developing new casino environments, we have recently pulled back the curtain on an entirely new live dealer studio setting. The 888casino Elite Lounge has been designed for the VIP player.
888casino understands that in order to ensure the live casino vertical continues to grow at its current pace, it is vital to provide tailored experiences that meet the various preferences and demands of the players.
Obviously it is not just new studio environments that will be key to unlocking growth. Players flock to live dealer because of the authenticity and atmosphere they offer. Studio-based environments certainly provide this, but nothing beats the real thing. As such, we now offer games streamed live from the gaming floors of three prestigious land-based casinos, including the Dragonara Palace Casino in Malta with more planned.
This takes the live experience to the next level. It means players are streaming from real roulette tables, located on the floors of real casinos, with real croupiers and most importantly other players that are real. These are people who have walked through the casino door. In addition to transporting players straight to the heart of the action, it has the added benefit of strengthening their trust in the game because the tables are being run by land-based operators.
Dual-Play (as it is known) is an incredible experience and showcases just how powerful and cutting-edge live technology is. The big question is where it will go next and how the player experience can be enhanced even further. Some believe augmented and virtual reality hold the key to this, but at present I am undecided.
This is partly because it is still early days for VR technology and it has yet to be adopted in mainstream online gaming, let alone with live dealers. In addition, I am unsure exactly how it will improve the experience, other than perhaps immersing players deeper in the digital/real-world casino environment.
For the time being, I think that the major growth is going to come from the new formats and variants being developed and from operators designing new and exciting live casino studios and environments.
It is certainly a hugely exciting vertical and one 888casino believes will become substantial in its own right over the next few years