A new era of live dealer gaming is upon us and it’s called game show live casino.
Some pioneering game providers took the plunge into this exciting avenue early on. Noteworthy mentions include Extreme Gaming (now Pragmatic Play) Golden Ball Roulette which features a special Golden Ball game every twenty rounds and Evolution Gaming Double Ball Roulette equipped with a ball launcher that proves equally entertaining for the dealer and players with straight-up double ball payouts of 1300:1.
But as Todd Haushalter, Evolution’s Chief Product Officer, commented at ICE 2019, it’s not only other software suppliers that prove to be competition. “Netflix, YouTube and video games are the alternative to online gaming, so games need to be both great gaming experiences and entertaining.”
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at this relatively new niche, pick apart details of upcoming releases and speculate on what to expect from game show live casino in 2019 and beyond.
What is game show live casino?
It’s all in the name.
No matter where you’re reading this from, you’re probably familiar with the TV game show format. Whether you watched Deal or No Deal in your native tongue or were broadcast a US variation of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire some years after its initial release, the concept remains almost identical.
The host – in a tux or a sequin dress – takes the lead in guiding contestants to a profitable end goal either by spinning a large wheel, asking a series of questions or monitoring participants’ aptitude in physical challenges.
Essentially, game show live casino takes this beloved idea and adapts it to live dealer games. As wheel spinners and card dealers evolved into camera-facing games presenters and casino operators continued to express the desire to cross-sell live casino to slot gamblers, adding this new layer of entertainment seems like a natural fit. Making it a reality requires thorough research and development.
Many in the industry including NetEnt and Extreme saw the opportunity on the horizon but none seized it quite like Evolution Gaming who would change the game show live casino landscape forever with its standout, seminal game release of 2017.
The first wave of game show live casino – Dream Catcher, Spin-A-Win & Lightning Roulette
Ushering in this new wave of live casino was Dream Catcher, also known as Money Wheel. Its concept – paring the known Wheel of Fortune TV show-format with live dealer casino – was alien just shy of two years ago, evidencing the fast-pace of the iGaming industry.
Image source: Evolution Gaming
In case you’ve yet to play it, a mounted, multi-coloured money wheel with 54 segments – 52 of which are marked with a number and two distinct multiplier segments (a 2x silver one and 7x gold one) – is its centrepiece. Gameplay is kept simple with players betting on the segment they believe the wheel will come to a stop on. The higher the payout, the less frequent the segment.
At the time of its release, Haushalter explained that operators continually express the desire to cross-sell live casino to avid slot gamblers. Intense brainstorming and tweaks to bring the house advantage down and the RTP on par with that of online slots led to the creation of Dream Catcher.
Not only did this monumental game show live casino release delight players and operators alike it also set the precedence for what was coming up next when it was named Digital Product of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards 2017.
Hot off the heels of the success of its first game show live casino endeavour, other suppliers such as Playtech sought to mimic the trend’s success with Spin-A-Win. Evolution, however, remained at the forefront and cemented this position with Lightning Roulette – touted as a revolutionary release by its creator – at ICE 2018.
Image source: Evolution Gaming
Clearly far more comfortable with the concept they created, this new title definitely turned things up to eleven by electrifying a regular roulette wheel with two RNG gameplay elements – Lucky Numbers and Lucky Payouts. Both are randomly generated after all player bets are accepted and payouts go up to 500:1. Additionally, the dark, dynamically-lit studio, lightning bolts and sound effects add to the suspense of the game, setting the scene for a thrilling experience all-round.
Again, this title picked up awards following its release including Product Innovation of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas 2018.
Haushalter dropped hints of Deal or No Deal mid-last year too, explaining that, … “In the last year we have started introducing game show style games, which has been a huge success. We all love watching game shows and why shouldn’t you be able to play along at home for real money? We are going to make this possible and we could not be more excited to bring this to online gaming.”
The start of a new era – Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal, Lightning Dice and more
Evolution Gaming welcomed the new year with a fitting accolade to its name – Innovation in Live Casino – from the Sports Betting Community (SBC) Awards – which perfectly serves as an indication of what’s to come.
In tried and tested fashion, Evolution announced a whopping nine new titles – most of them game show live casino ones – at ICE 2019, all set to be released later this year.
- Deal or No Deal: A live dealer game closely based on the TV show of the same name set to attract new player types to live casino.
- Monopoly Live: A new addition to the Money Wheel range with a Monopoly board game themed bonus game.
- Lightning Dice: The latest addition to their Multiplier family with multipliers of up to 1000x.
- Free Bet Blackjack: A popular land-based variation of the game.
- Super Sic Bo: a unique take on the dice game with random multipliers up to 1000x.
- Side Bet City: A 1980s themed poker game with big payouts.
- First Person Dream Catcher: A new addition to the First Person range.
- First Person Lightning Roulette: A new addition to the First Person range.
- 2 Hand Casino Hold’em: Their most popular live poker game with the option to play with 2 hands.
Speaking on these games, Haushalter said, “We have never introduced so many games at one time. Following our successes with Lightning Roulette, we naturally feel pressure to deliver more truly unique games that not only engage today’s players but also provide new levels of entertainment and immersion.”
Their release dates are set for later this year and we can’t wait to share them all with you in detailed game reviews with pictures, videos and first-hand accounts of our experience with them. 2019 is set to be a promising year for game show live casino!
Image source: Evolution Gaming