Ben Zairi, Chief Product Officer of gaming content provider Ezugi, spoke with CasinoBeats this week, sharing his thoughts on the firm’s entry into the UK marketplace and expanding on its plans to introduce a combination of traditional and localised casino offerings.
CasinoBeats: What attracted Ezugi to enter the UK market? As part of the Evolution group, what does Ezugi hope to bring to UK players?
Ben Zairi: Increasing localisation and innovation have always been key components of the Ezugi strategy. Added to this, the UK is considered to be one of the industry’s leading online casino markets.
The UKGC marks a very high-end regulatory standard, which fits our growth strategy. It felt natural for us to focus on the UK after successfully certifying in many regulated markets in Europe, Africa, the US and Latin America.
Many operators are looking for UKGC-certified content, including clients outside of the UK, as it is known as a trusted regulator. We aim to bring Ezugi’s innovative spirit into the UK market, not only with a comprehensive line-up of classic games well known to the UK public but also with excitingly different card games like Cricket War and Teen Patti and a variety of innovative new titles, all of which we are confident will have strong appeal to UK players.
You touched on the Evolution connection, which, I feel, deserves a special mention. As part of Evolution Group, we have created an online casino offering that is very much complementary to Evolution’s.
Of course, there is some overlap but operators can generally look to the Ezugi brand for games that are equally innovative and exciting, yet with a difference that players will really appreciate.
CB: Can you tell us more about your plans to introduce a combination of traditional and localised casino offerings and how that will work?
BZ: Online casino markets have become more localised, so there is the opportunity for anyone to play local games from around the world which are broadcast from the local markets.
Ezugi is a global online live dealer games provider that pioneers new markets and specialises in emerging markets. We have 25 unique live dealer games on more than 100 tables located in nine studios and land-based casinos around the world. It’s a very impressive offering that sets Ezugi apart! For the UK we will be offering a selection of our attractive games.
CB: How challenging was the accreditation process with the UKGC and what were the main hurdles you had to overcome to get your games licensed?
BZ: In the last two years, we have been extremely busy entering many regulated markets. In many ways this prepared us for a relatively smooth path through the games, studio, and security audits.
We are already used to responsible gambling technically challenging development requirements, being licensed in several jurisdictions. We expected that because the UKGC sets a very high standard, and our teams relished every challenge.
CB: What games do you see as being the most popular with UK players and why?
BZ: The UK is one of the world’s largest casino markets, with a long tradition of ‘bricks and mortar’ casinos and now, lots of respected online casino brands too. Since the inception of online gaming, casino classics such as Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat have tended to be the big games because people have seen them played in land-based casinos and in the movies.
However, increasingly we see new types of games, like game shows, localised games, and also innovative new takes on the casino classics, starting to make a big impact. For example, Ezugi offers several localised Indian games which appeal to the large Indian and Asian community.
These will also bring great joy to the UK players from outside those cultures due to the fun and simplicity of the games. At the same time, we have lots of innovative variants of classic casino titles for release later this year. We are confident that all of them will be popular, but that the ‘games with a difference’ will play an important role in drawing players in.
CB: Can you tell us more generally about what Ezugi has planned for 2022 and what innovations the market can look forward to?
BZ: Generally, 2022 is set to be one of our most exciting years ever for product launches, so let me tell you about a few of the innovations in store to whet your appetite.
We plan to launch a new Ppker game – Royal Poker. This is a Poker variant where five cards are dealt to the dealer and five cards to the player. The player can change up to five cards to create one or two Poker combinations stronger than the dealer’s hand. You can even buy a card for the dealer to ensure that the dealer qualifies if you have got a strong hand. Players are also offered insurance options for valuable combinations.
Video Blackjack is an innovative Blackjack with a unique player live-video feature. In the game we have added a live-feed from all the seated players’ phone cameras so players can share their emotions and reactions with each other.
Ultimate Sic Bo will add the excitement of multipliers up to 1000x to the already popular version of this dice game.
Another of our player favourites, Andar Bahar, will also be getting the Ultimate treatment. Ultimate Andar Bahar adds an exciting twist with one to three random multipliers hitting random cards, making it possible to win up to 125x on your main bet. You can also receive 10x multipliers on the side bets, which can multiply potential winnings up to an incredible 1,200x!
Completing our Ultimate trio for 2022, we’ve taken the excitement of Roulette to the highest level with Ultimate Roulette where players can win up to 2,000x!