Ladbrokes is capitalising on its recent online upswing by introducing a new and improved live dealer suite. It has been working in partnership with veteran software supplier Playtech, and Ladbrokes punters will soon be able to enjoy a greater level of interaction with the dealers and players around them.
And they won't be alone as Playtech-power casinos are all over the internet. Although the new live dealer software is yet to be launched, the operator's Live Casino product manager, Antonio Ruggeri, has explained that it will bring a new depth to customers' online experience:
"Our gaming customers want an authentic casino experience and that is why we've updated our Live Casino offer and increased player interaction to create the ultimate live gaming experience."
While the selection of live-dealer casino games will remain largely the same, the technology will create a new environment around each. The specifics are being kept under wraps, but we know Ladbrokes' offerings will benefit from Playtech's 'next-generation' studio capabilities.
One of the most significant features in the new games will be the messaging app. Essentially allowing customised messages to be sent, the video system will give punters more opportunities to communicate with players on and off the table. Back in March 2017, Playtech launched the first of 'many new concepts' for its live dealer products:
Grand Royale Suite | Grand Royale live games bring an authentic VIP experience to online players through a variety of in-game features and betting limits. In addition to seven gaming options, Playtech's Grand Royale suite allows players to bet at higher limits and customise a number of settings and dynamics to suit their playing style.
This move towards greater personalisation and detail is something Playtech COO, Shimon Akad, believes will take his company's live products to a new level:
"This first deployment represents the beginning of Playtech’s new, next-generation studio proposition, and complements our new, market-leading UI, that began rolling out during the fourth quarter of last year with HTML5 Roulette and other games."
With Grand Royale games now filtering out across Playtech's network of online casinos, it's time for another round of innovations to come to life at Ladbrokes. For the online casino, the timing couldn't be better as it's currently riding high in the virtual world. Despite a drop in revenue across its network of retail stores (both Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops), online takings improved by 17% year-on-year in the first half of 2017.
Sports betting may have had the biggest impact on the recent upswing (a 27% improvement in the six months to June 30), but online casino profits did also enjoy an 11% jump. The latest additions to the live dealer lobby will certainly help to capitalise on the growing love for Ladbrokes' online betting provisions. Moreover, they will serve as another way to help offset the downturn in live revenue.
On top of UK retail revenues slipping by 6%, European sales also fell with poor football results in Italy being identified as the main cause of a 1% revenue drop across the continent. This disappointing performance in the first half of 2017 is set against the background of the ongoing debate over fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
With the UK government still engaged in a debate over the impact of these machines, operators are preparing themselves for some potentially major changes. The UK government seems reluctant to alter the regulations, but pressure from anti-FOBT campaigners may see the maximum stake per round reduced from £100 to £2. Such a move would decrease the amount of revenue retail outlets could generate dramatically and contribute to further losses in the live arena.
For now, the status quo remains. However, regulatory change is something all betting companies in the UK may have to face in the future. With this in mind, Ladbrokes' decision to bolster its live dealer suite and bring more players in via its digital platforms appears to be a smart one.
Although even more innovations may have to be implemented if it wants to continue growing throughout 2017 and into the new year, it's clear the operator is now focusing heavily on its virtual asset. This is great news for Ladbrokes customers as it will lead to more games, features and bonuses across the company's products. Visit Ladbrokes today to see all they have to offer!