Evolution Gaming has secured a conditional interactive gaming manufacturer license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That brings PA online casinos one-step closer to offering live-dealer games.
Evolution specializes in live casino offerings and is a major supplier of live dealer games in New Jersey. It does that through its live dealer studio at Hard Rock Atlantic City. In addition to Hard Rock, Evolution partnered with 888, Resorts, DraftKings, PokerStars, Mohegan Sun, and SugarHouse in New Jersey.
And so far, so good.
“Demand for our live casino services in the US has been phenomenal,” said Evolution chief business development officer James Stern.
“We are delighted to be further expanding our US operations by opening a standalone studio in Pennsylvania to serve both online operators and land-based casinos in the state,” Stern said. “We are looking forward to opening up our world-leading live casino portfolio to operators and players in the state of Pennsylvania.”
Not only is Evolution in the process of opening its live dealer studio in Pennsylvania, but it’s also increasing the size of its New Jersey studio to provide its current and future partners with dedicated tables.
Evolution Unlikely to Be the Only Live Dealer Games in Town
Evolution is unlikely to be the only live dealer supplier in Pennsylvania.
In New Jersey, it already has stiff competition in the form of Ezugi, and there are rumors of a third live dealer studio coming to the Garden State.
The Live Dealer Advantage
Golden Nugget was the first online operator to launch live dealer games in New Jersey, and their addition has been a catalyst for growth, propelling Golden Nugget to the top spot in the market.
In a June 2017 interview with Global Gaming Business, Golden Nugget Vice President of Online Gaming Thomas Winter said the following about live dealer games:
“For the first time, an online brand is embodied with real dealers and real player interactions.
“We believe this has attracted patrons who would not have played online otherwise, for it was perceived somewhat cold and too far from the social experience a brick-and-mortar casino typically offers.”
According to Winter, online table game revenue increased by 150% in the first two years following the launch of live dealer games.
An Even Bigger Impact in Pennsylvania
Because of its disparate tax rate between online gambling products, the impact could be more dramatic in Pennsylvania.
Unlike New Jersey, where online casino products are taxed at the same rate, Pennsylvania taxes online slot machines at 54% and online table games at 16%. Because of this marked difference, Pennsylvania online casino operators are likely to steer online players towards table games, including live dealer options.
As highlighted in our latest Pennsylvania gambling revenue report, that might already be occurring.
In PA's 1st iGaming print (July), ratio of slots GGR to slots + tables GGR was 63% (in #NJ that ratio is ~77%). Early days in PA, but July results signaling that ops will sacrifice revenue for margin. Not surprising given massive tax diff in PA b/t tables and slots (16% vs. 54%).
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) August 19, 2019