Whilst land-based casinos suffered heavily due to the global health pandemic, it has been well documented that during lockdown there has been an overall increase in the popularity of online casino offerings.

With the likes of poker seeing a resurgence online and more operators shifting their focus to the virtual landscape, the live casino industry has also seen a significant interest in the game show segment leading to the question, is this variant the next big thing for the sector?

Speaking on the final day of SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital, Rokas Benetis, head of live casino at LeoVegas, detailed the rise of game show content and why the offering is booming.

“Game Shows as a game type only appeared in this industry just a couple of years ago, with the evolution and launch of Dream Catcher being the first sort of non classical table game variant,” he explained.

“The games themselves are sort of coming from popular TV shows. You’re currently on an offering where you have Deal or No Deal, Monopoly, you know, Dream Catcher and other games, which are on a different level in terms of player engagement.

“It’s more attractive to a wider audience and I think the players feel more comfortable on them because they’re much simpler to players or require a lesser knowledge level to play them.

“It really opened the door for a much wider player profile for live games. I know in the past when we see you know, the specific profiles tend to gravitate towards classical games like blackjack or roulette. But the growth in the last couple of years really came from game shows.”

Ciara Nic Liam, product director games of chance at Betsson Group, agreed with Benetis’ comments whilst also highlighting that game shows in live casinos also came at the perfect time given that the sector was undergoing new regulations.

Nic Liam added: “I think the piece worth pointing out as well is the emergence of those game shows came at a really great time when there was an enhanced focus on due diligence and KYC and people weren’t just trying to bring in large live casino VIPs that wanted private tables.

“People pivoted more to recreational players and their player base to make sure their casino was more sustainable. So people push these games quite heavily. There were live casino players that tried these game shows, and that was to love to buy them. But actually, as we see, even with the streamer community, it’s a lot of predominantly strong, slot players that go on and play these game shows.

“What we then find is we try to up-sell them and cross sell them to other live casino games because a live casino customer in a lot of markets can be more valuable than a slots customer.”

However, whilst OneTouch’s head of product, Madis Raus, agreed with the panellists over the popularity of game shows, he feels that there is still room in the market to attract this new audience whilst also maintaining a strong consumer base for land-based casinos. Especially when land-based venues offer more of a localised feel than their online counterparts.

“I definitely see the game shows more appealing to the younger generation that actually are looking for this excitement, entertainment and also the community feeling,” Raus commented. “I don’t think these game shows will attract those hardcore gamblers very well.”

“What I see is that those, like regular guys playing in land based casinos, one of the things that they definitely might want is the localisation. Probably a Japanese guy doesn’t want to play with an English speaking dealer is one of the things and if we offer them the same local experience that they could get from the local casinos, this might help.”

The panel, which was moderated by Arjan Korstjens, marketing consultant at ExPlayner, also discussed what lessons can be learnt from both industries to ensure that land-based and online can prosper.

Richard Walker, head of digital table games at Rank Interactive, explained that retail needs to look at online offerings and attempt to ‘catch up’ in terms of the technology that live casino’s have.

Walker said: “Obviously there is a lot more technology wise for digital gaming and retail are trying to get there now, looking to use the Dragon Fire roulette multipliers in. We are looking to launch something similar in retail and the demand for it online is massive to kind of retail are trying to catch online with their offering rather than the other way around.”

Moving back to localisation of live casinos, Nic Liam emphasised the importance of ensuring that the correct products are offered to customers in specific regions to create a greater understanding for the customer.

“When we look at places like Asia or the African continent, and like America we definitely see an emergence of different pieces and what we really strive to do is make sure we offer the best regionally diverse content to our customers, whether that’s something in LatAm, specifically, or whether it’s a version of Turkish poker. 

“I think if you want to compete in a region, you need to make sure that you understand and you respect what the local games are and you try and compete on that front rather than just thinking that you know, European games are going to work in every region because we know that’s not always the case.”

SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital takes place over four days this week (8 – 11 September) and features four main zones – Sports Betting, Casino & Gaming, Payments & Compliance, and Affiliate & Marketing – each of which have their own conference tracks, networking roundtables and interactive expo halls. 

Click here to secure your free pass for the betting & gaming industry’s largest ever virtual event.