Evolution Gaming has operated a live studio in Atlantic City since August and provides a number of live dealer games to customers of Hard Rock Online and 888 in New Jersey. Unibet and Evolution already work together in the European market, but this latest deal is specific to the US as Unibet pursues a bigger presence in the United States.
The Evolution Gaming studio in Atlantic City streams live video of real dealers in action that interact with players at Hard Rock and 888. Its current portfolio includes American Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Holdem all run by professional dealers. Now, Unibet will be able to tap into that same studio to provide the live experience to its players in New Jersey.
Cristiano Blanco of Unibet parent company Kindred Group said this in a statement addressing the partnership:
“The Unibet brand has a strong footprint in Europe where it has enjoyed exciting growth in Live Casino, thanks in large part to our relationship with Evolution. Now that Evolution has launched its US studio, we look forward very much to establishing and growing the Unibet brand in New Jersey and, in due course, in other US states too.”
Unibet has not confirmed where it will be introducing live dealer games in the United States, but we can make some reasonable assumptions based on this statement and past news. Most noticeably, the latest Kindred statement specifically mentions “growing the Unibet brand.” That seems to indicate Unibet will be debuting live dealer games under its own name in short order.
That assumption would also line up with a prior agreement Kindred Group reached with Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City to operate online sports betting and gambling in New Jersey. Kindred recently announced it is targeting a Q1 2019 launch, but Hard Rock Casino already has operations in place under its own name at Hard Rock Online.
So, it seems likely Unibet’s partnership with Hard Rock Casino will result in the launch of a Unibet-branded gambling and sports betting site on the Hard Rock NJ license. This would make sense as Unibet seeks to grow its own brand name in the United States. Unibet is massive on the international stage with upwards of 20 million customers from different parts of the world but lacks broad name recognition in the United States.
Unibet Well Prepared for New Jersey Launch
Unibet parent company has made multiple moves in recent months to establish its footing in the New Jersey market. Over the last year, the Kindred Group has reached agreements with two major gaming suppliers to serve its future New Jersey customers.
In August, Kindred Partnered with SG Digital to serve as Kindred’s “technology partner” in the US. The deal gives Kindred access to two key player management and gaming platforms to serve content to players located in New Jersey. At the time, Kindred noted it aims to expand its partnership with SG Digital to additional states when Kindred expands its US presence.
More recently, Kindred partnered with sports betting solutions provider Kambi to manage its sports betting operations in New Jersey. With that deal added to the SG Digital Partnership, Kindred Group will be able to provide NJ customers a full range of casino and sports betting partnerships through the Unibet brand.
Kambi has a long history with Unibet, formerly serving as a division of Unibet before spinning off as its own company in 2014. The now-independent Kambi is already active in the US as it powers the sports betting operations behind New Jersey’s biggest betting sites, including DraftKings, SugarHouse and 888.
Unibet may also be able to leverage its relationship with Kambi for further US expansion. Kambi itself is licensed in Pennsylvania and has agreements in place with the parent companies of SugarHouse Philadelphia, Rivers Casino and Parx Casino. SugarHouse and Rivers just recently launched their retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania and have plans to offer online wagering in Pennsylvania by early 2019.