In the early days of the online casino, many players found that playing games online could be a bit of a stale and sterile prospect. Slots are one thing: they are a largely solo pursuit – the focus is entirely on the reels in front of you. This meant that whether the spins are derived from a real machine in a real casino, or on a phone or computer screen is for many players largely irrelevant. The excitement and entertainment level is similar
Traditional table games, on the other hand, tend to be more social. Roulette, I suppose can be played solo, in the sense that you are not competing with anybody except “the house”. But card games are, for many people, social games, and require human interaction.
This is the most difficult bit of the casino experience to replicate on online, especially on the more compact screen of your smartphone. But companies such as Evolution Gaming have come as close as possible to achieving this: attempting to square the circle between the instant access and convenience of online play and the vibe and atmosphere of a real casino. And so it was that live gaming was born.
The History Behind Evolution Gaming & Their Rise in Growth
The Evolution Gaming story began barely a decade ago in 2006. This was the year the company was founded. Headquartered in Riga, capital of the Baltic state of Latvia, it has developed (or maybe that should be evolved) into an international operation. Today, it has offices and studios throughout Europe, including neighbouring Estonia, the Mediterranean island of Malta, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It has also opened an office and studio across the pond in Canada.
The company first came to the attention of online players the following year, when it launched its new service on some big name casinos, such as Gala, William Hill and Party Gaming. The company’s live games were also eagerly snapped up when they became available in Germany. By the end of the decade, Evolution’s name were widely established, after further licencing deals were established with casino operators like 888, Paddy Power and Sporting Bet.
2012 was the next big step forward, when the company’s games became available on mobiles for the first time. This may not have seemed such a crucial breakthrough at the time: most online games were still being played on big box, static land line units like PCs and Macs. But today, on the go is king, and the majority of gaming is now done on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
As the success of the service spread, so more formats were developed for each table game format. The company’s international development meant that as well as needing to provide a greater variety of games, the company also had to provide its service in more and more languages. Therefore, more studios were required to keep up with the growth in demand. So much so that by 2013, the company was streaming and broadcasting games from over 100 different tables based in several studios across the continent.
All this progress required further investment, so in March 2015, the company went public on the Swedish stock exchange. It earned a listing on Nasdaq First North Premier, the special market for technology companies, based in Stockholm. A full listing followed in June 2017.
The next development was to move outside the studio and to begin streaming its games direct from real casinos. The first toe was dipped in these waters with live Roulette, streamed live from the Ritz Club and the Hippodrome in London. A new studio based in the Grand Casino in Bucharest soon followed. Further casino based studios were then opened in Belgium, Tbilisi in Georgia and Birmingham in the UK.
2018 saw the company’s first move outside its European homelands with the launch of its eighth live studio, in Vancouver, Canada. This is likely to be just the first of many new studios as it expands its services to players across the globe.
Evolution Gaming’s story has certainly been one of consistent and rapid progress. If anything, this development has accelerated in recent years: so much so that the most recent financial figures available at the time of writing show remarkable growth. Its year end results for 2017 showed total revenues of close to €180 million, an increase of well over 50% on the previous year. Profits almost doubled to over €62 million. And with further studios and game formats in the pipeline, there is no sign of this phenomenal rate of growth slowing down any time soon.
How do Evolution Gaming do it?
Most live games streamed online by Evolution Gaming are produced via their three main live studios. For European players, these are based in Latvia and Malta. These are supplemented by games streamed live from real casinos, based in places like London and Birmingham in the UK, plus casinos in Belgium and Spain. Non-European players may also receive streamed games from the third and newest main studio, based in Vancouver, Canada.
In addition to the streaming service for online players, some games are also broadcast for TV, which is available on some European cable and satellite services. The company employ hundreds of live dealers, part of a team working round the clock to provide a 24 hour service. These are trained in the company’s own academy to get used to the special skills required to provide an excellent gaming experience in front of the studio cameras. These experienced croupiers are then able to provide the best service possible for eager players in several different languages. Indeed, the company promises that it can provide native speaking dealers and support staff for any language, customised to the casino operator’s requirements.
What Games are Provided?
Well, it’s almost a case of you name it, they can do it. All the major casino and table games are covered, in dozens of different formats. Baccarat, Blackjack, Poker and Roulette are all comprehensively covered. There are five different formats of Baccarat alone, and you can also opt for a variety of side bets too.
Five varieties of Blackjack are provide as well, including one format which allows a virtually limitless number of players to take part, by placing their bets behind the main seven players already seated at each Live Blackjack table. Tables can be found in a number of different game interfaces, camera angles, betting levels and formats and game speeds. All of course with a personal greeting and constant interaction via live chat with your live dealer.
There are around a dozen different Poker formats, including versions of Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud and Hold ‘Em, with an Ultimate Texas variant too. Roulette fans get a similarly wide range of formats to choose from. There are around a dozen different wheel versions covering just about all the variants of the game.
Finally, there is the recently launched Dream Catcher format to try too.
Games can be played on any kind of device, from the most compact smartphone or tablet to the widest screened laptop, PC or Mac. Whether you prefer touch screen or mouse, and whichever is your game of choice, you should be able to find a screen lay out and camera angle which suits you and your chosen device.
Something for Everyone?
The amazing flexibility and range of choice is surely the main reason behind the continued success of this leading live games provider. There surely is something for everyone.
You get live video streamed games, using professional dealers on whichever kind of device you wish to play on. And not only is the service of TV quality, you can actually watch and play on your TV if you have access to a suitable broadcast cable or satellite channel.
There are so many different formats and tables to choose from, with loads of different camera angles and potential interface lay outs. This means that you can be sure of a format that suits you and your device’s operating system and screen size.
You have an almost infinite variety of bet levels to choose from, and with potential pay-out ratios of up to 1,000 these games should suit all budgets and risk / reward profiles. The intuitive game interfaces can provide all the information you require too, such as game history, player history (for each individual session, hot and cold numbers, hot players and so on.
With all these features and formats to choose from, Evolution Gaming provide a service which really is the closest you can get to playing in a real life top-class casino.