Evolution offers live dealer blackjack, roulette and more in three states at the moment, but will soon face increased competition

Evolution To Provide Individual, Branded Live Dealer Tables For Michigan Online Casinos

Michigan online gamblers now get to pick their favorite brands for live dealer games. At 11 a.m. tomorrow, several online casino operators working with studio provider Evolution Gaming will be able to secure a separate table for their own players. Until now, the same dealer would often be serving customers from several different operators playing at the same virtual table.

The change will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 9. From the sound of things, some of these individual live dealer tables may even feature the operator’s own branding. However, these won’t be fully separated, customized studios at this point.

One operator, BetMGM Casino, told Online Poker Report today that it was working with Evolution on creating such a bespoke branded studio in the Wolverine State. That day hasn’t come yet, but operator-specific tables are a first step towards that goal.

Anthony Mallamaci, BetMGM’s gaming communications manager, said:

“We are – in fact – going live with two branded blackjack tables tomorrow at 11 [a.m. We] will reach out with more detail when the full studio launches.”

More detail about that upcoming BetMGM branded studio is below.

Online casino live dealer history

Live dealer games streaming from a custom, branded studio is a familiar concept to New Jersey and Pennsylvania‘s online casino players. In the Garden State, DraftKings Casino initiated the branded studio concept in 2019, then extended it to the commonwealth. Barstool Casino and Sportsbook followed suit last month in New Jersey.

Live dealer isn’t yet available in Connecticut and there’s no timetable set for it – let alone for branded studios there. However, Evolution expects that state to house its fourth live dealer studio.

On July 22, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) authorized 10 online casino operators to provide live dealer blackjack and other games:

  • BetMGM Casino
  • DraftKings Casino
  • FanDuel Casino
  • Golden Nugget Online Casino
  • Barstool Casino
  • BetRivers Casino
  • PokerStars Casino
  • TwinSpires Casino
  • William Hill Casino (subsequently rebranded as Caesars Sportsbook and Casino)
  • WynnBet Casino

BetMGM’s branded studio plans for Michigan

Meanwhile, BetMGM officials let OPR know when live dealers debuted on July 22 in Michigan that the company had plans for a branded studio there. BetMGM was working to build one with Evolution, even then. As of today, that studio isn’t yet ready for prime time.

BetMGM’s has been the dominant No. 1 in revenue in the state since online gambling launched there on Jan. 22. That may be why it has chosen Michigan as its starting point for customizing the live dealer experience, even though it could have been up and running more quickly elsewhere.

BetMGM, a joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International, may also be playing into MGM’s omnichannel marketing strategy. MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle talked about that strategy on Nov. 3, when revealing he’d like to eventually bring a BetMGM Casino to New York.

As for MGM’s omnichannel strategy in Michigan, its 3-million-square-foot MGM Grand Detroit has been casting a 17-story shadow over the Motor City since 2007.

Upcoming live dealer competition for Evolution

Croupiers bring verisimilitude for online gambling operators via Evolution. On Oct. 10, Betway Casino‘s parent company –Super Group Holding Company (SGHC) announced a live dealer partnership with Evolution to benefit New Jersey and Pennsylvania players. On Oct. 27, Evolution announced such a live dealer partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) for casino bettors in Canada’s most populous province.

However, other companies are attempting to introduce competition in the space.

Golden Nugget started the online casino live dealer craze in 2016 by partnering with Ezugi, which Evolution bought two years later.

Then DraftKings partnered with Evolution and created its branded studio in New Jersey in 2019.

Now, Playtech Live Casino is working on offering a branded live dealer online casino studio to Play Gun Lake, once MGCB approves it. Playtech first announced those plans in March.

Meanwhile on Nov. 3, Scientific Games Corporation (SG) stated it acquired Authentic Gaming partly in order to offer live dealer games.

In other words, tomorrow’s events may not be the end of live dealer company evolution.

- 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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