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Visit to Playtech Live Casino Studios in Riga

My visit to the Playtech Live Casino Studios has been 5 years in the making.

The wait was certainly worth it. I had a cracking day meeting some great people who’s job it is to provide entertainment to an online audience of 1000’s a day.

playtech live casino visit


I’ve just returned from my very first trip to Playtech’s Live Casino Studio in Riga, Latvia.

This trip came together following a discussion in Las Vegas, while attending the G2E Conference in October.

I was extended an invite for a no holds, behind the scenes look at what it takes to bring the Playtech live casino to life.

Trip Summary

I expected Riga to be freezing, as is usual in January, but it was a very pleasant 8 degrees and the sun was shining!

My visit covered a full tour of the building and studios and additional meetings with the Head of the Training Academy, Ilze and an impromptu meeting with the Chief Technology Officer.

I also got to see the product road maps for the next 6 months, and while I’m unable to share the details, we are going to see some exciting new games and capabilities launched during 2020.

I think one of the biggest things I learnt from my rather hectic day, was how my pre-conceived ideas of what “Playtech” was like had been completely wrong.

I’ve not had the best relationships with some Playtech casinos in the past, and I’ve read quite negative remarks about the “old” days at Playtech, which all coloured my views in a rather negative way.

I can honestly say the reality I experienced is a million miles away from this and I’m happy to put the record straight.

I witnessed a modern; forward thinking company that’s very heart is its staff, with the Dealers being centric to the whole operation.

Everything I saw backed this up. From the free staff Gym and Sauna, to the comprehensive training academy, the way the staff are supported, to the way they are nurtured through a career path if that’s something that interests them.

Anecdotally I was told that a large majority of the dealers are Students, with many career driven motivated staff.

The fact a high number of students stay after completing their studies says more about what Playtech offers, than I ever can.

external shot of playtech building


The studio building is located on the banks of the Daugava River, a stone throw from the Presidential Palace.

Its exterior is encased in glass, providing some stunning views over the river. Unlike most modern buildings, there is no privacy glass in place, so the general public and tourists are able to peer in to see what’s going on.

Fortunately the studios are located at the back and lower floors which offer a more secure location for the live streamed services.

Peace Of Mind

Security is evident everywhere. Cameras are discretely mounted to be unobtrusive but positioned to see into every corner.

All doors and public areas are protected with a mixture of swipe cards and bio-metric technologies. Not to mention the security guards located at points throughout the building. The reason for such high security is three fold:

  1. To protect the staff.
  2. To protect the technology.
  3. To maintain compliance with the many licensing requirements.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to see more than less. Knowing security is taken seriously provides me with a level of reassurance about the games we play online.

me inside playtech building

Meeting Those in Charge

I was introduced to Edo Haitin, who embodies the role of a modern CEO, being ever present in the office, bringing motivating energy and enthusiasm to everything that’s going on.

Ably assisted by Kevin Kilminster, whose job is to envision and deliver the live dealer solutions. They are quite a team and clearly well respected throughout the organisation.

My tour lasted all day; such is the size of the operation. I was literally given access to all areas (accept one, the Card Sorting room, which is out of bounds for almost everyone, including my hosts).

I even got to enter the closely guarded Server Room and power distribution areas. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but given my background in IT something I always enjoy seeing.

For the nerds out there the live casino studio is built to 4 9’s availability, which gives a guaranteed up-time of 99.99%. They actually achieve better than that!

The Tour

My guides for the tour were Kevin and a charming dealer, Debbie, who provided the answers to all my questions as we went round.

This added a huge amount of value, especially when I was surprised with my own private Trivia Quiz. Fortunately I got all my answers correct.

The building is big. Playtech moved into this converted shopping mall / Supermarket in 2017, having gutted and rebuilt it, into a modern facility purpose built to host live casino services. The good thing is there’s plenty of additional space for expansion should it be needed.

me with Playtech dealer debbiebbie

A mixture of green screen and physical infrastructure is used in the studios.

There is a general feeling of space, and it was relatively easy to walk into the studios and stay out of shot of the cameras.

The dealers were professional with none acknowledging our presence. Their focus was 100% on what they were doing and the players.

When you’re playing online you have little sense of what technology is being used.

My hat goes off to the dealers who work in the green screen studios. It’s just them, a camera and perhaps a roulette wheel, with all 4 elements coming together to make a pretty good experience online.

The dealers seemed so at ease working in this virtual world.

playtech grand casino studio

The studio areas are a mixture of dedicated areas and network available tables.

Generally the two are kept separate, but there were tables temporarily located in the odd corner.

This is a fairly common practice in all the studios I’ve visited.

While it’s nice to keep everything looking perfect there is constant change going on. Tables have to be shuffled around sometimes to allow relocation and moves to happen.

The studios always appear to be in a state of flux, which much keep the support staff on their toes.

playtech hi lo studio

I saw the familiar games of Blackjack, Roulette & Baccarat, but it was the specialist games like the Quantum Roulette / Blackjack, Hi-Lo and Spin A Win that caught my attention.

These seemed more interactive than I’d noticed on line, with the dealers holding court as they lead players through each game round.

There was a great energy and some fantastic looking sets.

Dealer Scheduling

The dealers are rotated round the tables and environments every 30 minutes.

They have a huge say in what type of tables they like to work on, which helps keep a happy work force.

This working flexibility creates some challenges for the shift managers, however technology helps.

A rather sophisticated scheduling platform has recently been introduced that has revolutionised the way schedules are managed.

The dealers log in get their next table allocation from terminals dotted around the corridors.

It seems efficient and has done away with dealers needing to log into the table, which saves time and allows more game rounds to be played.

playtech training acadamy

Training Academy

A state of the art training academy is located front and center in the building. It’s the first thing you see once you get past reception. With glass walls all around, it’s bit like a fish bowl, with no hiding place for the trainees inside.

Attended by an average of 15 new recruits, a new 3 week training program starts each week.

The training for the dealers is comprehensive, covering game rules, how to deal, presentation and acting skills.

They also get trained in responsible gambling techniques to supplement to the automated tracking systems.

An onsite makeup and nail studio is also available, ensuring that everyone is able to meet the presentation standards.

Apart for some basic safety and operational rules the dealers are actively encourage and trained to be as natural as possible. This is a big culture change from what was expected a few years ago and if you visit any of the tables you’ll see what I mean.

Non dealer staff get a 2 -3 day cut down version of the training. This helps them understand the services they are supporting.

I like this holistic approach, it shows joined up thinking and the desire for everyone to be working towards the same goals.

Yet another reassuring signal to confirm the ethos. It’s not all talk!

I was surprised to learn that language skills are also taught, with German, English, Polish and Italian being offered.

It’s not unusual for dealers or ancillary support staff like shufflers to learn a new language, which then gives them greater opportunity for career advancement.

I found that most of the support staff I spoke to were ex dealers.

PLaytech Quantum Roulette

A Positive Culture

I’m a detail person and notice everything either consciously or unconsciously. Silly things like how tidy an environment is, speaks volumes about those that inhabit these areas.

Everything in the studio building was spotless & clean, including the staff areas which traditionally get a bit messy.

All of this re-enforced a culture of pride from everyone I came across. I saw that in the way the staff spoke, how they greeted you in the corridors and by the surroundings.

At one point I was accosted by a few of the dealers who recognised me from my Youtube videos. Clearly pleased to see me, they loved the fact that I was previewing their games and taking time to review them. It was quite surreal and nice to receive some positive feedback.

Prestige roulettte


This was a studio tour and a lot of what I saw was familiar to me from my visits to other suppliers.

However I got to see and understand a completely different side of Playtech Live than I’d expected.

One of the staff described it as a family all working closely together to the same goals. I saw enough evidence to believe that.

As a commentator and reviewer of live casino solutions I had unwittingly fallen into the trap of thinking that Playtech and Evolution are in direct competition with each other. I can see this really isn’t the case.

Playtech’s philosophy is different from Evolutions. Playtech is a more diverse business than Evolution.

While they compete at a game level for quality and choice, the two are very different businesses, with Playtech offering customers a more player centric solution.

I discovered that Playtech Live Dealer work very closely with their clients, providing solutions driven by what the client wants.

As a result, live games are tweaked to fit with a brand or marketing strategy giving greater synergy between the games, player rewards and other products.

It’s something I’d not appreciated before and can see the value to the player is a much better proposition.

live spin a win

Final Thoughts

My day started with an apology from Edo and Kevin for taking so long to invite me.

However visiting now and seeing the new facility is far more relevant than if I’d visited a few years ago.

Indeed great progress has been made during the past 3 years, with it being unrecognisable from where they started from. So it actually worked better for me. :-)

Frankly an apology wasn’t needed.

While the past shapes the future it’s not the blueprint for what’s to come.

I saw enough to recognise that Playtech Live dealer is going in the right direction, they have a solid strategy and I only see good things on the horizon.


I’d just like to extend my thanks to all those that made my day possible.

Without exception I was greeted warmly by everyone.

Nothing seemed too much trouble and when you have the CEO running around after you and the CTO manning the camera taking pics of you in the studio you know you’re in a good place.

Fancy Trying the Games Out?

If you’d like to see what the games look like online, you can visit Playojo.

Otherwise choose one from this list of Playtech Live Casinos.

About Neil’s Live Dealer Casino News

Here at LiveCasinoComparer, I bring you the latest news from the live casino industry, all with my personal comment that explains why the news would be important to you.

This includes new game releases, mergers and acquisitions, expansions to new markets, game updates, important regulatory changes, exclusive interviews, conference reports and studio visits.

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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