Interview with Helen Hedgeland, Managing Director Evolution UK 1

“The show was the ideal opportunity to showcase the many new Evolution Live Casino products launched over the past year, and to catch up with existing and prospective licensees,” said Helen Hedgeland, Managing Director Evolution UK, in an interview with CasinoOnlineRating.com. She spoke about her company’s experiences at ICE Totally Gaming,  new products they presented and her company’s future plans.

stand photo evolution gaming

Was this year’s ICE Totally Gaming show successful for your company?

Yes, most definitely! The show was the ideal opportunity to showcase the many new Evolution Live Casino products launched over the past year, and to catch up with existing and prospective licensees.

Alongside our new products, which we talk about below, we focused on Business Intelligence, an increasingly important area for operators. In particular, we highlighted the ways in which our growing BI team can work hand in hand with licensees to derive maximum value from the wealth of player and game data available from our systems. This data is being used in ever-more sophisticated ways to drive our licensees’ acquisition and retention strategies. As multi-channel play becomes the norm in Live Casino, it becomes increasingly important to understand players’ playing patterns, preferences and behaviours.

However, the highlight of our few days at ICE 2014 was the signing of our agreement with Danske Licens Spil to launch a unique new online Live Casino for Denmark’s liberalised gaming market.

Our new service for this state-owned national lottery and gambling operator will include dedicated Live Casino tables hosted at our new Malta studios. These tables will be devoted exclusively to the Danish operator and the casino environment will feature Danske Licens Spil design, décor and branding throughout.

Uniquely for the Danish market, the dealers will be native speaking Danes. The Danske Licens Spil service will also include a comprehensive range of core live tables hosted at our studios in Latvia.

Why is it important for your company to exhibit at ICE Totally Gaming?

At ICE you get a very high quality audience, all together under the one roof. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with existing licensees and to meet new potential partners. At the same time, we can have all the different departments of the Evolution team from the multiple offices on hand to meet with clients.

It’s a key date in the international gaming calendar – a special time and place where we can demonstrate all our new products, talk about forthcoming developments, and make and finalise deals. It’s both an international shop window and an industry convention.

What can you tell us about the products you presented during the show?

We presented our extended Mobile Live Casino offering, which provides easy access to our live games on iPhone, iPad and an ever-growing number of the best-selling Android smartphones and tablets. Visitors to our stand saw not only the breadth of access devices but also the table choice we offer players on Mobile. That’s because when we make a game available on Mobile we make every single table for that game available on Mobile, not just one or two tables.

We also used ICE to officially launch Live Three Card Poker, which we’ve created in partnership with SHFL entertainment, Inc.  Now, just over a month on from ICE, we have been assessing the first results from licensees that have already introduced our Live Casino variant of this classic game. These operators are seeing a very healthy increase in wagering amongst their Live Dealer player base as a direct result of Live Three Card Poker, plus very strong average bet values. On top of that, we are enhancing the new game still further by adding a second side bet – the 6 Card Bonus. So, Live Three Card Poker is certainly living up to its billing as “the most popular casino specialty table game of all time.”

Our multi-camera Immersive Roulette, the world’s most advanced online Live Roulette game, was also on show at ICE, as was our new Live Blackjack with Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bets, and our new Multi-Game Play functionality.

Multi-Game Play enables up to four live games to be played simultaneously in a single auto-configuring window. At the same time operators can use this functionality to introduce focused attractions such as ‘Quattro Roulette’ or ‘Quattro Blackjack’. Again, we have seen very positive results achieved by Evolution licensees who have introduced Multi-Game Play. Players who have tried Multi-Game Play are wagering twice as much as they did before they used it. In particular, there has been rapid adoption of Multi-Game Play amongst VIP players, a player group that is particularly keen on multi-tasking, multi-betting play.

What are your predictions for the online gaming industry in 2014?

Above all, the continuing rise of mobile. Today, operators must fit in with players’ ‘on-the-go’ lifestyles, which means delivering a great and consistent customer experience across multiple channels and devices. That’s as relevant to land-based casino operators as it is to online operators.

Accordingly, the next few months will see the continuing enhancement of our Mobile Live Casino offering. This will include roll-out to additional mobile devices and also additional games rolled out to iPhone and other smartphones.

What are your business strategies for the upcoming months?

The development and growth of both our Latvia and Malta studios is high on the agenda for 2014. Each of our two central studios has its particular focus areas. Malta is the new home to our native speaking dealer tables, while Latvia is home to our core tables and also our dedicated tables – the exclusive, branded tables we operate on behalf of specific licensees. The opening of the new, second studio is very much a strategic move designed to allow increased specialisation and to meet growing demand.

Right now, and in the next couple of months, there is a strong focus on wrapped Apps. We can wrap our Mobile Live Casino offering as part of a licensee’s App – quickly and cost-effectively. With the FIFA World Cup 2014 fast approaching, a number of licensees are keen to do this ahead of the big kick-off on June 12. Gaming operators want to be sure that the football action in Brazil doesn’t distract customers too much! The obvious twin strategy, therefore, is:

  1. To ensure that the operator’s gaming offering complements the action and the flow of news from Brazil; and to ensure that interest in the World Cup is harnessed to maximise all cross-selling opportunities.
  2. A wrapped Live Casino App can be a key ingredient of that strategy with cross-selling and promotional opportunities positioned in high-traffic areas such as sports betting pages.

As part of that same strategy, we are already in discussions with licensees about how they can run themed live promotions at their dedicated tables to tie in with World Cup games.

Moving up the map from South America, we will continue to look at tailoring our world-class Live Casino offering for the ‘new’ North American market. Already, we are the first and, to date, the only Live Casino provider to gain Preliminary Waiver approval for New Jersey.

In more general terms, we will continue to consolidate and grow our established markets. And, as always, we will be alive to every opportunity in new, changing and re-regulating markets such as the Netherlands, Greece and other opening markets.

In parallel, we will continue to enhance our core product offering, with enhancements to existing products and the development of all-new solutions.

Finally, Live Casino from land-based casinos is, I believe, a strategy that has come of age. We have championed this area for the last couple of years, and now the market is ready as operators look to better integrate land-based and online operations.

In the next quarter we will begin streaming from the in-venue Live Casino studio we are creating for Casinó Campione d’Italia, one of Europe’s largest and most stunning land-based venues. Of course, there is no legal requirement in Italy for an online casino to stream from a land-based venue in that country. Instead, Casinó Campione has recognised that the online and offline worlds can work together in harmony, and that an in-venue Live Casino is the ideal way to reach a much wider audience and to promote the attractions of their core business, the land-based venue. I believe more land-based venues will follow their lead because it makes perfect sense in a multi-channel world.