What a day it is for live casino players in the USA as a third live dealer brand enters the country via the newly instated online gambling regulations in Michigan. Playtech Live officially announced its Michigan live dealer studio has signed a long-term lease!
The studio will feature some of Playtech’s most popular live casino titles already available across Europe. Via the firm’s Riga studio as well as Manila studio in Asia, Playtech Live games have become incredibly popular. It will now open its third live dealer studio from within the Wolverine State as per US laws. As for the exact location in Michigan, the lease signed is in a property within the Southfield area.
In the Playtech news report announcing the studio lease, live content is to become available across both online casinos and retail verticals, giving Michigan table game players access to live tables such as blackjack and roulette. As with its European live casino platform operations, the US version of the Playtech Live platform will include networked options so multiple casinos gain shared access to tables as well as the option for dedicated live dealer tables. Dedicated table games will operate for 1 particular casino brand.
This is a huge milestone and gets Playtech Live on the map in a country where its slots are already making headway. It also puts pressure on the likes of Ezugi and Evolution, which operated under Evolution with studios in New Jersey, while the Evolution brand is also having a studio in Pennsylvania.
Playtech Live has swooped into the US market quickly after making deals in the US with Parx Casino via Greenwood Racing, and also agreements with Novomatic and IGT! The latter IGT agreement in December last year was Playtech’s first move across the pond from its UK base!
News Follows a Parx Casino Agreement
The brand-new Playtech live studio comes via the Parx Casino agreement. That deal gives the operator access to the entire Playtech IMS Platform inclusive of live dealer studio technology.
The very start of this partnership brings the Playtech Live Michigan studio announcement, which is a positive start and an exciting prospect if you are a Michigan online casino player.
Not even West Virginia or Delaware has the luxury of live dealer casino games, and both states have been open for considerably longer than Michigan. There is also a slim chance we will see a live dealer studio opened in either of these states due to their low populations.
As for other vertices, Parx Casino will also take advantage if Playtech’s video slots and virtual table games while there is also an opportunity to tap into its Greenwood Racing sports arena to continue to bring Playtech sports tech into the USA!
Is This a Blow for Evolution & Ezugi?
Whether this is a massive blow for Evolution is not yet common knowledge. Evolution has on many occasions signed partnership agreements with US operators and land-based casinos operating in other states with press releases, mildly mentioning a view of entering Michigan when the time is right.
To be completely honest about the entire situation, Evolution was surely expecting a competitor to enter the US market. Michigan would be a great market for Evolution or Ezugi, but it is possible the live casino software manufacturer does not want to overextend itself and leaving some states open to competitors is perhaps a wise move.
Is There Only Enough Room For 1 Live Dealer Studio Per State?
It is possible that with target markets being much smaller than Europe because of state laws that only allow live dealer studios to operate in a single state and offer games players only from within that state that this is how the live dealer market in the US will shape up. I.e., each state will only have space or enough market share for a single live casino brand.
It makes a lot of sense. While Playtech Live’s Riga studio serves Europe, Oceania, and some LATAM countries giving it a wide audience reach into the hundreds of millions, Michigan has a population of just 10 million.
Evolution can already breathe a sigh of relief that it nabbed Pennsylvania, which has a population of 13 million while New Jersey is shared with its subsidiary brand Ezugi where both brands are competing for business in a state with a population of 9 million.
Major Battle Grounds for Future Live Dealer Studios
Future states may be the place for Evolution, Ezugi, and Playtech to pick its battles, while we still fully expect to see Pragmatic Play Live enter the USA. Other brands such as BetConstruct are also in with a shot, plus Microgaming if it can get over its past problems with the US government when Black Friday hit the country banning all online gambling back in 2011.
Delaware (population 1 million), West Virginia (2 million), and Connecticut (3.5 million) are unlikely battlegrounds and will probably only see live dealer games via turnkey operations from Evolution or Playtech Live. These states are debatably too small for a dedicated live studio.
That leaves California, Texas, Florida and New York as the most interesting states. All 3 states have a population of over 20 million, but only New York seems viable as it already allows land-based sports betting while the other 3 have tight rules even on land-based betting and casino operations.
Illinois is another option as it has a 13 million population with online sports betting already immensely successful. Then the next 2 states within this population count are also non-online gambling-friendly states of Georgia and North Carolina!
Oddly enough, shares in Playtech took a dip since the announcement, but the firm is in a firm position to crack the US market wide open. That said, right now the target market for its live dealer games is 13 million in Michigan.
It is more likely that Playtech’s video slots operations in the US with IGT will play a major role in boosting the firm’s profits as Playtech slots spread across all states where iGaming is legal, while Playtech also enters US sports betting market!