My comprehensive review of what’s happening in Live Casino in 2018. I spent 2 days at the ICE totally Gaming conference speaking to all of the Live casino providers. There’s some great info and a video with some sneak previews.
This is my review of what’s to come in Live Casino in 2018.
Another strong appearance from the Asian based operators.
Vivo and their floating Roulette.
New studio launches across the world by a lot of the suppliers.
Entry into new licensed markets.
A complete platform refresh by Ezugi.
Strategic Partnerships between providers.
The launch of a customer facing brand by Portomaso Gaming.
RNG imitating live dealer.
I think of all the innovations I was blown away by Ezugi’s new Virtual Reality solution.
You join a table in a real land based casino, stand beside the players, place your bets on the table and can watch the wheel in close up.
It’s as near to real as it can get. There are a few practical things that need to be ironed out, but I was mighty impressed.
Someone commented to me that they felt like a ghost, floating beside the table!. I didn’t feel that as I was too immersed in the experience.
Would I play the table like this sat at home in my front room? Probably not, but it will definitely appeal to someone. The numbers of people taking this up will determine whether it becomes a success.
So kicking off my roundup is Evolution who probably had the most new products to shout about.
Evolution had the biggest Live Casino stand of them all.
Plenty of large screens with video on loop of all the new games.
Inside the inner rooms you could play in demo mode all of the games. I spent a while having a good play and recording some of the action.
In no particular order I got to see:
The new Lightning Roulette, presented in a very similar fashion to Dream Catcher. It’s normal European roulette, played with an Auto Roulette wheel, but the game comes with additional side bets and multipliers. The presenter does a good job in moving the game along and great presentation, lightning bolts and lighting really add to the experience.
No Commission Baccarat pays 1:1 on dealer wins rather than 0.95:1. It’s a game Evolution has been lacking. Now they can complete with Playtech at least.
Dragon/Tiger is another new release. Again something that Playtech and some of the other providers have had for a while. They styling is very good, with the Dragon or Tiger lighting up with each win.
The Salon Prive got its debut and was launched soon after at Unibet and Leo Vegas. High Rollers can play on Blackjack and Roulette tables on their own. No-one can watch and they control the dealer, shuffles and bet times. It’s great to see this facility added. Hopefully there are enough big players to ensure a good ROI.
RNG Roulette is a departure from what Evo normally does. I’ve still no idea why they’ve done this. Quite frankly is horrid. I don’t think it fits with Live Casino, there are many better products out there.
Grosvenor Dual Baccarat – This wasn’t really being pushed but I found it in the lobby and had look. It’s obviously in Beta at the moment and not yet available at Grosvenor Live Casino. The camera is positioned overhead so you can’t see the people in the casino placing their bets.
Outside of the show we saw the opening of the new Canadian Live Casino Studio in British Columbia, Canada. Only Canadian players in that area will be able to play at these tables.
There’s more to come from Evolution but as always they keep their cards close to their chest.
Playtech were displaying a new game, Spin and Win.
It looks like a clone of Evolution Dream Catcher.
Unfortunately no-one from Playtech was available to talk to me.
Extreme Live Gaming
I had a really nice chat with one of the dealers on the stand. A young Australian presenter called Rosie, who does a whole load of interesting stuff when she’s not dealing at the tables.
I’ll be sharing some more info in an exclusive interview in a few weeks time.
I got a tour around the new 360 Virtual Realty system. It’s still in development but from what I’ve seen it’s an interesting concept.
It goes one step further than NetEnts Live beyond Live, because you actually get to walk around the virtual lobby and studio and can then join any of the existing tables.
It’s really interesting seeing these innovations, but does make me wonder who will use them?
No new games are being planned, but expect to see a closer integration with Novomatic/Greentube.
More land based streaming is being added with tables from Croatia (Zagreb), Gibraltar (Admiral) and Spain (San Roc).
We’re also going to see more innovation using the Leader board technology.
To quote Mark Allison, CCO,
Extreme has the three E’s, Expert Dealers, Extraordinary Technology and Extra Personal Service.
The big news at the NeEnt stand was the launch of the Live beyond Live product in association with MR Green. You can read a more in depth review here.
Suffice to say that NetEnt is finally waking up that their Live Casino product is not really competing. They are in the process of taking a good hard look at what they are doing.
Blackjack will be getting Side bets and in another 12 months we may see a new game added.
Personally I hope they steer away from Baccarat and go for a poker or different type of Roulette game.
The desktop version is next for a revamp in HTML5 so we may see some improvements with the playing interface.
I had a bit of fun on the NetEnt stand again, trying my hand at Roulette. I only managed to lose the ball twice – I must be getting better!
Vivo Gaming doesn’t have a presence in the UK, however they are strong the Latin, CIS and Turkish Markets.
Apparently a UK license is in the plans, but that’s been the case for the last 3 years, so I won’t be holding my breath.
The good news is that a license application is currently going through in Malta and plans are being made to enter the Spanish market.
New studios are on the way in Uruguay, Eastern Europe and a specific studio for the Turkish market.
In terms of games, Vivo has recently launched Floating Roulette on Mobile. It’s possible to move and resize the video image on the screen during game play.
Ezugi is another operator that has made a substantial move in the live casino market over the past 18 months.
All but one of their studios has had a makeover and new studios have been opened to support an increasing business.
Strategic partnerships are also evident, with land Based streaming from Portomaso Gaming being offered as well as streaming from the Queenco Casino in Cambodia.
I also found out that Ezugi was responsible for the build of the new Entasia Studio in Latvia.
Expect to see the lobbies and the playing interface all change shortly. Everything has been rebuilt from scratch.
The Virtual Reality product, as I mentioned earlier, is a real head turner.
The solution is streamed from the Palace Casino in Romania and is ready to go, with a number of licensees apparently lining up to be the first to use it.
Regulated markets are now a key business growth area for Ezugi.
A UK License is almost there, Yay!!, with licenses in Italy, Denmark, Malta, Span, Switzerland and Sweden on the way.
Sic-bo has had a face lift, with a new machine being installed immediately after the conference.
I also go to chat with Stephen Au-Yeung the inventor of Ezugi’s latest new game, Unlimited Blackjack with Auto Splits.
It’s an RNG Blackjack game, but very much in the mold of Live Dealer.
You have a dealer behind the table, you take a seat and cards are dealt to you. It was quite impressive as RNG games go.
There was a lot of interest in it, more so than the RNG roulette released by Evolution.
I managed to win a total of 2 hands out of about 20 I played over two visits.
I’m not sure whether the game was configured like that for the conference, but if that’s any indication of what it will be like I certainly won’t be going back any time soon.
Live Casino in 2018
Virtual Reality, Land based Streaming, new games and studios in new regulated markets seem to be the ongoing theme.
Expect more of the same during 2018.
I think we’ll continue to see innovation and some existing suppliers enter the UK market.
Roll on the rest of the year.
Most of the suppliers discussed here are represented in my list of Best Live Casinos. Here you’ll find a selection of great casinos.
ALL ABOUT NEIL
I’ve been playing, reviewing and collecting data about online live dealer casinos since 2011. I monitor what’s going on in the industry so I can give the best and most impartial advice. I regularly visit live casino studios around the world, so I know what’s going on behind the cameras! If you want some information or just want my opinion on something, drop me a line using the form below.
Leo Vegas has a great mix of live casinos. Evolution (with dedicated tables), Ezugi, Pragmatic Play, Playtech & Authentic Gaming. There’s live-streamed Roulette from land-based casinos in Malta, Gibraltar & Italy.
Playojo is one of a few casinos that have Evolution and Playtech (UK Accepted) Live Games. Crazy Time, Adventures Beyond Wonderland, Lightning Roulette, Monopoly, Quantum Roulette + games from Pragmatic and Authentic Gaming. Regular promotions with Cash Back on each bet – win or lose. What’s not to like?
Mr Green Live Casino has games from 3 providers (Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and Authentic Gaming). With their dedicated Blackjack and Roulette tables, they are one of those casinos that have it all. Specific Live Casino Bonuses and promotions round things off nicely.
The USP that Hyper Casino has is unlimited 10% Cashback on losses, delivered to your account automatically the very next day. With live games from Evolution & Pragmatic, this is a cracking combination.
About Neil’s Casino Comparer Reviews
I have tried to be objective and consistent with all my live casino reviews. Hopefully, they will strike a chord with you, but I thought it might be helpful to explain the criteria I use to mark each of the casinos. Hopefully, the categories and explanations make sense.
Playability – What is the overall impression of the casino? Did I have a good time? are the dealers nice and chatty and is everything easy to understand? Does it have a good set of games and is there a comprehensive set of betting options? Are high stakes players taken care of?
Software – What is the software like to use and does it integrate well with the rest of the casino?. Are the images clear and is the video streaming fast? Have they taken more than the default shared tables? Is it available on mobile?
Payment Options – Does the casino have a good variety of payment options? Do they payout quickly and on time?
Security – How good is the reputation of the casino amongst other players? Do they hold a valid gaming license? Are they transparent about the security measures they have in place? Are they regularly audited? Do they publish this information?
Support – Do they have multiple methods for communication with me? Is support available 24×7? Do they have instant chat and are they quick to respond? Are they able to help me immediately? Do they have an online FAQ and self-help library? Are the support people knowledgeable about the product I’m playing?
Bonuses – Do they have bonuses?. How strict are the wagering requirements? Do they offer repeat bonuses?. Do they offer loyalty points and can they be redeemed for cash or playing credits?
After all that, would I play there regularly?
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