(Exclusive interview).- Evolution Gaming experienced its busiest edition of ICE Totally Gaming.
During its ICE Totally Gaming performance, Evolution Gaming has set the future plan to innvoate the Live Casino sector and improve land-based casino floors across the world. The company took advantage of the most visited event of the industry in ExCel, London, in order to present its ultimate technology and plans for the gaming industry. Focus Gaming News talked to Helen Hedgeland, managing director at Evolution Gaming UK, about further targets and the public’s feedback.
This year you presented two brand-new products at ICE. What was the response from the attendees?
Yes, we launched Dream Catcher, the first title in our new Live Lucky Wheel game category, and also Dual Play Baccarat, which is our latest online and land-based convergence solution. In both cases, the response from visitors to the stand was fantastic. I have to say that Dream Catcher was the star of the show for me, for a number of reasons.
First and foremost it’s visually very different from table-based casino games. The first reaction from visitors to our stand therefore was typically, “Wow, this looks different — what’s it all about?” The Dream Catcher concept is very simple indeed. It’s a visually stunning super-sized vertical wheel, we had it built exclusively for us by TCSJOHNHUXLEY. There are multiple coloured segments on the wheel with silver and gold 2x and 7x bonus spin multiplier segments that act as bonus spins. The wheel stops on a number 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 or 40 and you win those odds.
It’s simple and friendly to play, almost like a game show that you can play along with at home, on desktop, tablet and smartphone. The really exciting bit is that the wheel has the potential to land on the 2x and 7x multipliers on successive spins, so players can potentially win super-sized payouts, just like they can with slots.
With Dream Catcher we are reaching out to the millions of slot, bingo, and other players who wouldn’t normally consider playing a Live Casino game. Dream Catcher is different because there’s no table, no cards and the rules are so simple. We think it has massive potential to expand the Live Casino space.
The second all-new product was Dual Play Baccarat, which streamed live from a mini studio at the upper floor of our stand. Like our Dual Play Roulette solution, Dual Play Baccarat allows both online and land-based players to play in the same games at the same land-based table.
Visitors to our stand loved the idea they could play at the Dual Play Baccarat table from their phones while sitting at our bar enjoying a drink or while they were elsewhere on our stand or in the exhibition hall. This replicated how an Evolution Dual Play table would be deployed in a real land-based casino. The idea with Dual Play is that the casino’s land-based players can sit around the table and play as they would normally. At the same time online players anywhere can join these on-premise players and be part of the same game at the same table. These additional online players in the Dual Play game could be within the venue —standing around the table or perhaps seated in a bar or restaurant area — or they could be in a completely different location — at home, in a hotel room, in the taxi on their way home from the casino — or, indeed, in a different country. The point is, with Dual Play the players can play their favourite games at their favourite casino without having to be physically seated at the in-venue table.
Dual Play Roulette has already been installed at prestigious London venues such as The Ritz Club and The Hippodrome Casino. Based on the response we had to the new Dual Play Baccarat solution at ICE, we are confident that it will be similarly successful with land-based casinos. It’s perfect for any land-based operator looking to develop unique online attractions for existing and new players. And of course, opening up an in-venue table to online players can really maximise the operator’s investment in the table.
You’ve said that you see ICE as an ideal opportunity to consolidate your position as the world’s leading Live Casino provider. What were the results of this year’s experience?
There’s no doubt that this year’s ICE was our busiest ever. Over the three days of the show we conducted more meetings than ever before with existing and prospective customers. ICE is a fantastic global stage on which to introduce our latest games, and also to showcase the breadth and variety of our world-leading Live Casino games portfolio. Potential new licensees are drawn to the stand because they know that in one place they can see the very best of everything the Live Casino world has to offer. Overall, ICE was a great experience for us and, I believe, a great experience for everyone who visited our stand.
The Live Casino sector has been growing exponentially in the last couple of years, what markets are you trying to reach in 2017?
The land-based casino market will continue to be a key focus area for us. We’ve already talked about how we are extending our Dual Play portfolio to maximise the convergence opportunity for land-based casinos and online operators. Convergence will be an important area for us in 2017.
In parallel we will continue to strengthen our leadership position generally in the European market. We will do that both with pure-play online operators and with land-based brands looking to create a seamless brand experience for players, whether they choose to play on-premise or online.
As always we will monitor developments in re-regulating markets. We are proud of our record of helping our licensees achieve first-to-market advantage in new markets, and I would expect there to be more exciting news in this area as the year progresses.
There’s no doubt that this year’s ICE was our busiest ever. Over the three days of the show we conducted more meetings than ever before with existing and prospective customers. ICE is a fantastic global stage on which to introduce our latest games, and also to showcase the breadth and variety of our world-leading Live Casino games portfolio.
Evolution has been working with a number of top tier operators for several years. Has ICE Totally Gaming set the path for further agreements?
ICE is always a great opportunity to get together with existing customers, to take stock of where we are and, of course, to assess where our new products might fit into our customers’ Live Casino. So in that respect, ICE plays a big role in setting the path for future agreements and for extensions to the services we currently offer our customers.
It’s common also that agreements with new licensees are finalised at ICE. So far, in the days immediately following ICE, we have announced two new deals: one with White Hat Gaming and one with Matchbook.
What were the biggest accomplishments for Evolution Gaming at ICE?
To see Dual Play Baccarat, our latest convergence solution, all set up and streaming live from our stand was a highlight for me. The way we were able to create a fully working Live Casino studio in such a short time frame proves the quality of our teams.
Ten years ago, Live Casino for any licensee would have meant streaming from a remote central studio, but now there are so many options for operators.
Dual Play epitomises the massive flexibility of today’s Evolution Live Casino and the potential for convergence to deliver a very specific and unique land-based experience to online players. Our Dual Play Baccarat set-up at ICE showed land-based operators just how practical and easy it can be to have an unobtrusive mini live studio in the form of a Evolution Dual Play table on their actual casino gaming floor.