NetEnt, Evolution Online Casino Powerhouse Bearing Fruit for Stock Holders

Evolution Gaming, a market leader in PA and beyond, reported operating revenues were up 68% YoY in Q4 2020, thanks in part to NetEnt.

Casino online game maker NetEnt is now fully integrated with iGaming giant Evolution Gaming, and the merger is paying dividends.

With last year’s late Q2 move to acquire NetEnt for $2.3 billion completed Dec. 1, Evolution reported Wednesday operating revenues were up 68% YoY in Q4 2020 to EUR 177.7 million ($215.5 million). For full year 2020, operating revenue was up 53% YoY to EUR 561.1 million ($680.4 million).

A total of EUR 17.8 million ($21.6 million) of the revenue came from NetEnt. Evolution chief executive Martin Carlesund commented in the company’s year-end report:

“Through the acquisition of NetEnt, we add a second vertical to our unrivaled live casino offer and two strong and fantastic new brands to our product portfolio. This makes us well placed for our long-term ambition of taking a leading global position in online casino.”

Evolution’s stock ($EVO), which trades on Nasdaq Stockholm, is on the rise since the report. It went from around $110 Tuesday to closing over $122 (SEK 1,023) on Thursday. Just six months ago, the stock price was $72.50.

NetEnt a market leader in PA

As an early-in online casino company, NetEnt remains a market leader in PA as well as nationally.

The international company made its US debut in New Jersey in 2015, where it houses its US headquarters. Then NetEnt got initial approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in March 2019 to operate and went live in July 2019 upon iGaming launch in PA.

Now, most of the PA online casinos carry their titles, of which they have more than 200. Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst and Divine Fortune are some of the most popular.

In addition to their home base in Sweden and their US office, the company has operations in Malta, Gibraltar, Poland, Ukraine, India, and the UK.

NetEnt, Evolution an expanding powerhouse

NetEnt continues to expand its footprint, most recently debuting games at a number of online casinos on Day 1 of Michigan’s iGaming launch. Jeff Millar, Evolution Commercial Director, North America commented:

“America is an absolute priority market for Evolution Group, which is reflected by the scale of NetEnt’s first-day presence in Michigan.”

With NetEnt on board, Evolution is in a unique position to dominate in the online gambling market. A big part of that stems from Evolution’s live dealer games, popular in New Jersey and now PA. Evolution announced it plans to open a third live casino studio in Michigan later this year.

Though the majority of revenue comes from Europe and Asia, the growth potential in the US is immense. According to Millar, the company has much planned for expansion this year:

“We are poised to add more operators in all US markets during 2021 and have a roadmap of high-profile game launches. And, as we’ve once again shown, we’re ready for new markets being switched on and partnering casinos to offer a standout product to their players the minute they go live.

NetEnt continues growth in PA

NetEnt continues to grow market share in the red-hot Pennsylvania online casino market. The company formed some key partnerships in the latter half of 2020. Those included launching games on the Cordish Companies‘ online casino PlayLive! as well as the Wind Creek online casino.

Brian Uran, vice president of marketing for PlayLive!, explained the desire to partner with NetEnt:

“As one of the first suppliers to go-live in Pennsylvania, NetEnt’s portfolio is must-have for any operator looking to compete in the online sector. Partnering with them was a priority for the launch of PlayLive!”

The company also expanded its deal with DraftKings to include PA and neighboring West Virginia, as well as new markets to come.

Brian Kraft, NetEnt vice president commercial, Americas said of the partnership:

DraftKings’ size and market presence make this launch one of the most significant to date. We’re proud to expand our relationship with such a well-known operator and look forward to continuing the success that we’ve achieved together so far. We are thrilled to have such a renowned operator on board as we enter new jurisdictions.

PAOC editor Valerie Cross contributed to this article.

The Wait Is Over: Where to Play Live Dealer Tables Games Online in Pennsylvania

The long wait for live dealer games at PA online casinos is over. Find out what took so long, what games you will find and where you can play them.

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.

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.”

What Are Live Dealer Games, and When Are They Coming to PA Online Casinos?

Live dealer games bring social interaction elements of the live casino to online gaming, but when will players in PA have the option?

Online casinos have been live in Pennsylvania for a little over a year. The safe, legal arrival of iGaming in the commonwealth pleased players and added much-needed tax revenue during coronavirus-caused shutdowns.

Slot libraries continue to grow, and currently there are 11 online casinos in PA.

However, there is something that is missing and it’s at the top of nearly every player’s wish list — live dealer games.

What is live dealer?

Live dealer games give you the chance to play casino table games, like blackjack, at home in real time with a live dealer.

Golden Nugget was the first to roll out live dealer in New Jersey in 2017. Since then, many more casinos have begun streaming live dealer. The most common games are blackjack, roulette and  baccarat.

What’s the difference?

If you play blackjack now at any one of PA’s online casinos, the cards are electronically dealt by a built-in random number generator (RNG).

Live dealer games are transmitted from a remote studio and livestreamed to computers and mobile devices. A dealer, just like if you were at a casino, deals the cards.

Some reasons players prefer live dealer:

  • Social interaction
  • Slower pace
  • More entertaining than playing against RNG
  • Trust playing a live dealer more than an RNG

Live dealer tutorial via PlayUSA

When is live dealer coming to PA?

There is no firm date when live dealer will arrive in Pennsylvania, but a number of operators have teased its launch.

Here is the “coming soon” timeline of live dealer in Pennsylvania.

January 2020:

Evolution Gaming signs agreement with Parx to power live dealer casinos in PA and NJ.

Parx players will be able to choose from a range of live dealer table games streamed from Evolution’s existing New Jersey studio and its planned PA studio.

Matt Cullen, senior vice president, interactive gaming and sports at Parx Casino, commented:

“Parx was the first Pennsylvania casino to offer RNG blackjack games online, so extending our online offering to include world-leading Live Casino from Evolution is a natural next step. Our online blackjack player base in particular will love Evolution’s Live blackjack offering, which includes Infinite Blackjack, with no limit on the number of seats available at the table, as well as several other blackjack variants. Overall, we are very confident that all the players types will be very excited by the rollout of Parx Live Casino in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”

May 2020:

DraftKings launches its online casino.

According to a representative from DraftKings Casino, the PA platform will ultimately have 280 games. The rest of the library will roll out in stages and include live dealer games. The rep said:

“While we do not have an exact time frame, all 280 options will follow quickly after launch, including those that feature a live dealer and those that are DraftKings branded.”

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August 2020:

Evolution signs deal with PointsBet and says live dealer is coming to PA.

Evolution announced a deal with PointsBet, an Australian bookmaker. While unclear whether PointsBet plans to enter the PA online casino market, what was made clear is that an Evolution live dealer studio is coming to PA by the end of 2020. Currently, Evolution has studios in New Jersey, but it confirmed plans for new studios in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

August 28, 2020:

A press release on Aug. 28, 2020, confirmed a partnership between Evolution Gaming and BetMGM, which plans to debut online betting products in Pennsylvania before the end of the year. The arrangement will see BetMGM become one of the first in PA (and Michigan) to offer Evolution’s suite of live dealer games. BetMGM vice president of gaming Matthew Sunderland said:

“Evolution offers everything we need to enable our brands to roll out an extremely rich, world-class online live gaming experience across the US and their new state launches road map is very much in accord with our own alongside building on our current leadership position in gaming in New Jersey.”

Evolution Gaming Malta CEO Johan Nordstrom said of the partnership:

“We are honored to have been chosen by BetMGM to be partners in the fast-developing US live gaming market … This is a natural extension of our existing relationship with GVC Holdings’ brands.”

Live dealer games subject to lower tax rates

Players are clamoring for live dealer in PA. Obviously, providers and operators want to give them what they want. In addition, live dealer is a table game, so it’s taxed at a lower rate.

Pennsylvania online gambling tax rates:

  • Online slots: 54%
  • Sports betting: 36%
  • Online table games: 16%

Sebastian Johannisson, chief commercial officer at Evolution, commented:

“With table games subject to lower tax, our Live Casino is a very attractive proposition for operators too, as well as its wide appeal to players — both familiar with online and those having played in the bricks and mortar casino — offering a very important and significant contribution to operator revenues.”

Article updated on Aug. 28.