The surge in popularity of live dealer online gaming has helped Evolution Gaming’s revenues increase by 59 per cent reaching to €24.8m in the first quarter of 2016.
The company said that the positive revenue development mainly derives from increased commission income from existing customers and, to a certain extent, from new customers. Revenues from dedicated tables and environments also contributed to the increase as a result of additional customers demanding customised live casino environments.
Jens von Bahr, Evolution’s CEO, said: “The strong growth of 2015 has continued into 2016 and in the first quarter Evolution’s revenues rose by 59 per cent compared with the same quarter last year. Mobile growth also continued, with mobile penetration amounting to 34 per cent for the quarter.”
The year so far has seen Evolution enter into a new platform partnership with Aspire Global as well as extending its previous deal with BetConstruct.
“Platform partnerships are good sales channels and through them we gain a continuous stream of smaller operators who start using our services, and who, over time, can potentially grow into large customers,” Mr. von Bahr explained. “During the quarter, last year’s strategic agreement with Microgaming also began to produce results, with Betway having now integrated our services fully, including a number of dedicated tables. Additional customers can be expected through this agreement over the year, with 32Red being one in the starting blocks.”
During the quarter, among others, William Hill went live with a new Vegas environment in Riga, while Betsson went live with new dedicated environments in both Riga and Malta. Other customers who have increased their number of dedicated tables are Unibet, Mr. Green, 888 and GVC.
“The very strong demand for dedicated offerings requires space and we are continuously expanding our studio space in both Riga and Malta. We have also expanded in Belgium with a dedicated environment for Napoleon Games, built on-premise at the customer’s facility in Aalst,” Mr. von Bahr explained.
On the product side, Evolution has entered an agreement with Scientific Games for an exclusive live version of Ultimate Texas Hold’em to be launched later this year.
“We are also preparing the launch of Double Ball Roulette through the strategic partnership with Games Marketing. Live Baccarat Squeeze, which was launched at the end of last year, is progressing very well, particularly in the VIP segment where many players have greatly increased the amount of game time. Live Caribbean Stud Poker, which was launched in November last year, is also starting to gain in popularity and many operators integrated the game during the quarter,” Mr. von Bahr added.
“We also began to roll out our new Live Lobby, which will be another manifestation of our ongoing mission to further distance ourselves from the competition. This involves much more than a cosmetic upgrade, among other things, by making it easier for end users to choose their favourite table and dealer. The new function, in which you see live snapshots even before having joined a particular table, enhances credibility and, at the same time, builds confidence in the product.”
In recent years, live casino has grown substantially in Europe and is, according to data from H2GC, expected to grow by about 30 per cent in terms of gross gaming revenues in 2016. Evolution’s growth target is to grow faster than the total European live casino market. Market growth is influenced by several underlying factors, such as increased use of mobile phones, technological advances with, among other things, improved hardware and increased bandwidth, the migration of land-based casinos to online environments and market regulations. Growth is also driven to a large extent by Live Casino having grown in importance for most gaming operators, who consequently elect to expose and market their live offerings to customers more extensively than before.
Mr. von Bahr added: “Although live casino remains a small part of the total online gaming market, with its social interaction and customisable content, it has what it takes to continuing growing at a high pace over the coming years. At the same time, we will continue working according to our clear strategy to support both existing customers to develop their live offerings, while also benefitting from future growth areas such as land-based casinos.”