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Success secret of live-casino - interview with Nikolai Tugolukov (development manager of the company Slotegrator interview)

August 18, 2016
8 min

Live-casinos – What is the secret of success?

Today, live casinos or casinos with live dealers are one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas of the online gambling. Operators in the gaming industry should keep pace with the times and expand their list of offerings on the market responding to modern needs. As of today, Slotegrator is the sole distributor of solutions for the gaming market, which, in addition to the direct implementation and subsequent support, provides services in consulting and training. Nikolai Tugolukov, the expert of Slotegrator Academy has answered a few questions about the new direction of live-casinos.

Nikolai, please tell us what place is occupied by live-casinos? Is it a kind of a link between ground and virtual casinos, or is it a completely separate direction?

It is true, live-casinos is actually a link between the land and online casinos. It combines two main components: the convenience of playing at any time and in any place and the atmosphere of a real casino. Players can interact with each other, communicate with the dealer and hear sounds of a deck of cards or motion of the ball on the roulette wheel.

Initially, when the first studio with live dealers appeared, it could be called a marketing ploy to attract players. At that time (in 2003, Playtech opened its first online studio) the high-speed Internet was not as developed as it is today. In those years, video streaming was available only to very few players. Over time, in parallel with the development of technology, live-casinos has become a separate area and separate product on the market of online casino having made a significant contribution to the development of the industry of online gambling in general.

What determines the development of live-casinos?

The development of live-casinos, as well as the whole industry of online gambling, is entirely dependent on the progress of new technologies. There are three main points related directly to the Internet: 1) data transfer rate; 2) Internet coverage 3) development of 4G mobile Internet.

However, the next big step in the development of live-casinos will be the introduction of virtual reality (VR) technology. Some platforms have been already experimenting with 360-degree video streaming. The mass distribution will occur when the price of the virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift becomes more accessible to consumers.

With the emergence of high-grade VR application, a live-casino player will feel like being in a real casino in Las Vegas or Monte Carlo, without leaving home.

How will the live-casino segment develop? Will it involve new technologies or expansion of gaming products?

Regarding the service providers, the main trend of development, as mentioned earlier, is to create the most realistic game conditions. In addition, there will be new games, but they will be created with the marketing aim as the main casino games will remain roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat.

Who are the clients of live-casinos?

If we talk about a player's averaged portrait, from the point of view of psychology, this person loves adventure, game, risk, and adrenaline. A good player at live-casinos is a man in middle age, who has an ability to play, his everyday life is quite stable and he has a steady income. As a rule, these people are happy to spend an hour or two playing at home in the evenings. The advantage of online casinos is the lack of need to get ready, dress, go some through traffic jams.

Speaking about age, initially, people, who used to play at land-based casinos, played at live-casinos. They were, as a rule, businessmen aged 40-45. With the development of mobile Internet, the audience of players has significantly expanded, becoming a bit younger. Today, an average age of the live-casino players is 25-40.

What determines the live-casino confidence?

Players' confidence does not come immediately; it should be earned. Naturally, reputable online casinos working for many years on the ground, in addition to the Internet, have more confidence. The situation is more difficult for beginners. You should work hard to establish your reputation, not missing even the smallest detail. Players become attached to those people who serve them qualitatively. Therefore, an extra smile or a friendly word is only a plus.

The second very important aspect is the good faith in the performance of your obligations, especially financial ones. Therefore, special attention should be given to the support and accounting services.

Players communicate with each other in various forums and chats, share opinions and experiences. Therefore, the degree of confidence depends primarily on the operator, e.g. its quality of service, loyalty to its players and financial integrity. If you perform in good faith, positive feedback from players is guaranteed.

Which markets are the most promising for the development of live-casinos?

The direction of live-casino is currently most popular on the European and Asian markets. However, it is worth noting that games with live dealers are not the main product of online casinos and the prospects for development depend directly on the popularity of the Internet site as a whole. The online casino concept implies that players can play from around the world, so it does not focus only on a particular region. The number of players is increasing each year. The results of several case studies show that around 5% of all Internet users play at online casinos, and it is about 100 million people. Considering that eventually every player tries to play at live-casinos, it is possible to make a conclusion about extremely large development prospects in the future.

What criteria should the operator take into account when choosing the provider of live-casinos?

The first thing to understand is what main markets are going to be focused on. If it is the Asian market, Baccarat, Sic Bo, Dragon and Tiger are extremely popular there. It is necessary to focus on those providers that have these games in their packages. You also need to pay attention to the support of mobile versions. Many operators receive basic income from the mobile traffic. In other words, the choice of providers must proceed from the needs of the operator. Each provider offers a sufficiently large range of services; therefore, it is necessary to understand in detail what everyone offers. There are four main factors, which you should consider when making a choice: 1) functionality; 2) interface; 3) customization; 4) ability to create customized tables. If you can have only one live-casino module, it is better to rely on the market leaders. In this case, however, we must take into consideration the financial aspect of the issue as the market leaders have high prices. If there is a possibility to connect several providers, everything will depend on the players, product quality, features, etc.

How long and how difficult does it take to integrate a live-casino?

It all depends on the competence of the operator‘s programmers. There are cases where the integration process takes several days and sometimes it takes up to two months. In general, IP-protocols are tailored to many platforms, so the integration of a live-casino should not involve any problems.

Slotegrator helps its customers simplify and accelerate the process of integration. Due to the fact that all providers are integrated through a single API-protocol, it is enough to conduct one integration in order to make absolutely all products available on the same platform.

Generally, everything moves toward the situation when each operator has several providers: slots, virtual games, live-casino, etc. In other words, all products associated with gambling will be available on the same website. A good operator must ensure that all of these products are conveniently integrated. It will determine its individuality.

How can operators stand out among the competitors?

As already mentioned, the individuality of operators is reflected in the integration of the different products on the same site. It includes the interface, easy navigation through the site, attitude towards its players, namely individual and personalized approach to customer, loyalty programs, the service quality and the good faith in implementation of commitments.

Summing up, Nikolai please tell us the most important thing - how the introduction of a new kind of game will affect the profitability of the online casino?

In the first place, games with live dealers allow keeping existing players. As I said before, eventually any regular player at online casinos tries to play live games. It happens that if a player is out of luck playing slots, he has a suspicion of RNG (random number generator), and he thinks that the casino plays against him. There is no such factor at live-casinos as the game takes place using real gambling equipment. The player sees all actions of a dealer; the game process occurs in real time and eliminates options for fraud on the part of the provider or operator. Moreover, live-games allow you to attract players who prefer classic casino products - roulette, blackjack, poker, etc.

According to our customer statistics, six months after the date of the live-casino integration, an average income earned via games with a live dealer amounts to 45-50% of the total GGR (gross gaming revenue), which during this period of time is increased by 30 % averagely. On this basis, we can conclude that games with a live dealer should be an integral part of any online casino.

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