The online gambling supplier Playtech, based out of the Isle of Man, announced late last month that it has secured a long-term lease for a studio to offer so-called live online casino games. The studio will be Playtech’s first in the U.S., the company said.
Live online casino studios feature real human dealers who are streamed to customer devices for online casino play. The concept tries to imitate a real-life casino as best it can. Live online casino gambling is still considered a fledgling vertical in the U.S. online gambling market.
Playtech’s studio is located in Southfield, Mich., which the company said is an emergent local tech hub. The studio in the Wolverine State is expected to be the first of many for the online gambling supplier.
“The new studio in Michigan is the first step in our U.S. Live expansion as we look to deliver Live studios in all regulated states,” Shimon Akad, chief operating officer at Playtech, said in a statement. “Our Michigan studio is being designed to be one of the more sophisticated studios tailored to the U.S. market featuring innovation and entertainment at its best. The scale of our technology and breadth of our product will allow Playtech to take the live iGaming experience in the U.S. to the next level.”
The Michigan Gaming Control Board signed off on the location, according to Playtech. In Michigan, Playtech does business with the Pennsylvania-based Parx Casino, which is partnered with a tribal casino operator in Michigan in order to have access to the market.
Michigan online gambling, which also includes sports betting, kicked off in January.
Other live casino studios in Michigan?
It’s unclear if Playtech will be the first firm to actually offer live online casino gambling in the state. A target date for the games starting wasn’t announced by Playtech.
The top player with regard to the vertical still appears to be NetEnt/Evolution Group, which announced in January that it would open a studio in Michigan.
“Later this year, Evolution will open a state-of-the-art Live Casino broadcast studio in Michigan, its third in the U.S. after New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and 11th globally,” the company said in a presser.
While Michigan will be Playtech’s first state for the vertical, the state will be Evolution’s third.
Evolution has more experience with live online casino gambling in the U.S., but it has yet to announce a location for its studio, so Playtech could be further along right now.
Both Playtech and Evolution will likely offer their respective products to multiple operators in the state.
So far, Michigan online casino gambling is a competitive field.
In February, BetMGM brought in over $26.9 million in revenue, significantly ahead of FanDuel ($16.6 million) and DraftKings ($14.5 million). PokerStars had $5.7 million, followed by Barstool’s online casino at $5.2 million. The likes of BetRivers, WynnBET, Golden Nugget, and others rounded out the list.