Evolution Gaming now has live dealer studios in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan

Michigan Authorizes Ten Online Casino Operators To Offer Live Dealer Games

Michigan is set to become the third state offering live dealer online casino games.

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), 10 Michigan online casino brands will be able to offer the products as of 10 a.m. Thursday, July 22:

Each brand will let gamblers know when its games are ready to be played. As is the case in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it will be Evolution Gaming supplying the product. BetMGM announced on Thursday that its bettors had access to roulette, auto roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and Infinite Blackjack.

Evolution will live stream the games from its studio in Southfield, MGCB said on Wednesday. The Swedish real-time casino table games provider is the first live dealer company authorized for online casino games in Michigan, according to the board. The only other live dealer vendor active in the US is Ezugi, but it has been a subsidiary of Evolution since 2018.

The Wolverine State launched online gambling and online sports betting on Jan. 22. During the past six months, MGCB has allowed 13 online operators to launch in the state. The 14th and final operator, Soaring Eagle, will only be able to offer online casino games when it launches. Of the 13 already active, those not immediately approved for live dealer are the three other tribal operators using their own brands:

  • FireKeepers
  • Play Gun Lake (powered by Parx, which contracted with Playtech Live Casino)
  • Four Winds

This live dealer feature is coming out during the same week Michigan’s online gambling revenue numbers dropped. In June, state coffers were lined with $89.2 million in gross gaming revenue.

What are live dealer casino games?

Real money live dealer casino games first arrived in the US in 2016 in New Jersey and have been gaining popularity ever since. They represent an attempt to bridge the gap between conventional casino gaming and the online experience.

At the player’s end, the interface is fairly similar to digital table games. Rather than using digital graphics and a random number generator, however, the game streams live from a studio with flesh-and-blood dealers and real casino equipment. In most cases, players can interact with the dealer and sometimes even one another using real-time chat.

Blackjack, baccarat and roulette are on the initial list of live dealer games the operators can offer. More games may be added later, MGCB said. Elsewhere, Evolution also offers casino poker, “big wheel” games and unique products structured like game shows.

In its Michigan live dealer launch announcement on Thursday, BetMGM promised to later offer craps, poker, game shows and additional blackjack tables.

Also on Thursday, BetMGM Gaming Communications Manager Anthony Mallamaci told Online Poker Report that the operator will also build a branded, live casino studio. He said:

“While we’re relying on their studios today, Evolution is helping us to build a studio with our BetMGM branding.”

DraftKings has such a custom studio in New Jersey with its branding, but Evolution dealers.

As for the Michigan rollout, Evolution dealers have to be located in Michigan in order to serve online bettors within the state, per gaming law. The company similarly set up physical offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Evolution already has the core team in place for its third studio. Today, job openings emerged for more quotidian positions, like “Shuffler Team Leader.”

- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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