And just like that, after months of waiting, Evolution Gaming began its test run this week of the first live dealer options in Pennsylvania.
The company, which also operates in New Jersey, where it has at least seven affiliations, has had a conditional PA license since this past January. And it began the process more than a year ago.
The two-day test period for Evolution’s live dealer games ended at 9 p.m. Oct. 22. Following the soft launch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved it for full-time operation.
Where to play Evolution live dealer games in PA
In PA, Evolution has partnership deals with several online casino operators. The first four casinos to launch came from Rush Street Interactive and Penn National.
- BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse (Rush Street/Rivers Philadelphia)
- DraftKings Casino and Hollywood Casino (both under the Hollywood Casino license)
Caesars and Parx are also expected to offer live dealer options soon.
Live dealer games on offer at PA online casinos
Evolution launched live dealer variations of blackjack and roulette, with more games to come. As of now, you can find:
- Roulette Live
- Blackjack Live
- Infinite Blackjack Live
- First Person Blackjack
- First Person Roulette and Lightning Roulette
Also on the way to PA are:
- Baccarat Live
- Three Card Poker Live
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em Live
Live dealer games follow approved rules, side wagers and payout tables, such as those found in a land-based casino.
Appeal of live dealer games
The live games’ appeal is the chance for social interaction, from the comfort of home and with social distancing.
Dealers are playing with real cards from a studio in Philly, while players make decisions from home. So in essence, the live dealer takes the convenience of gaming from home and adds the ability to play table games dealt by real-life dealers.
The long delay since licensing for Evolution
While the game is the same, the remote studio’s approval process was time-consuming, explaining the long lag time.
And while the company was established in New Jersey, it needed a PA studio and a secure server in the Keystone State.
As PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told our sister publication, PlayPennsylvania:
“Testing and regulating live dealer studio games is similar to other online casino games from a technology standpoint and is actually similar in many aspects to table games in land-based casinos, except there is no cash or gaming chips and, of course, players are not physically present.
“Since there is a human element in this online gaming, the PGCB must license studio staff who operate the games as we would dealers in a land-based casino. Also, similar to table games setups at land-based casinos, we have to ensure adequate security and surveillance in the studio that allows us to monitor the live dealer and helps us ensure the operator conducts table game operations in accordance with PGCB regulations.”
Evolution Gaming expansion to PA
Evolution Gaming already had eight studios globally and more than 8,000 employees. The company trades on the Stockholm NASDAQ.
As a recruiting incentive, the company tells potential roulette employees they can earn tokens from an unlimited number of gamblers.
In NJ, Evolution offers slingshot roulette, baccarat, three card poker and ultimate Texas hold ’em poker. And it has the potential to offer even more games, according to its website.
James Stern, Evolution’s chief business development officer, said last year of the company’s expansion to PA:
“Demand for our Live Casino services in the US has been phenomenal. We are delighted to be further expanding our US operations by opening a stand-alone studio in Pennsylvania to serve both online operators and land-based casinos in the state.
“We continue to stay at the forefront, maximizing the opportunities in this exciting new market and growing together with our licensees.”