The live table iGaming environment is a new concept to the real money gaming scene giving players the chance to play table games with real-life dealers via webcam tech. Some of the top brands in this niche iGaming sector include Microgaming, Pragmatic Play, Playtech, Evolution, NetEnt, and Ezugi.
In an industry where a single brand pioneers the way, and by no fault of their own, does everything better than its competitors, the risk of monopolization is sometimes very real.
We saw it with Microsoft as it beat every other operating system to the home market and now dominates while Apple thankfully keeps Microsoft on its toes. In this duopoly market, there seems that there is no way in for the likes of Linux which is the only other real contender.
A similar scenario plays out in the live table game niche within iGaming. NetEnt and Evolution Gaming are the domineering forces and both NASDAQ listed companies, and both companies have the honour of recognition as the most trustworthy online gaming brands to date.
As both firms are on the same stock exchange, Evolution decided to eliminate its competitor in a takeover offer. If, or at least when, successful, Evolution will dominate this sector of iGaming – or will they?
An Innocent Take Over Bid with Honest Objects
The takeover bid is quite innocent. NetEnt offers a formidable and immensely popular catalogue of online slots which as an area of the iGaming business Evolution is not involved.
Acquiring NetEnt will bring this missing piece of the Evolution jigsaw puzzle under its brand name without having to start from scratch with its brand of video slots. With slots under the firm’s wing, Evolution can offer a complete online iGaming solution.
The added advantage to this takeover deal is, of course, wiping out one of Evolution’s main competitors in the live dealer section of the iGaming industry. Although Evolution’s ambition to add online slots to its collection, the fact that Evolution will dominate the iGaming live dealer scene is under investigation in the UK as the takeover could be against UK monopoly laws.
Another reason this investigation comes to light is that Evolution also bought out Ezugi–another prestigious live dealer table game brand. With NetEnt and Ezugi under Evolution’s brand, surely some of the competitors in the market secretly lobbied or at least made the UKGC aware of a possible drive to monopolise the live dealer sector of the iGaming industry.
A Competitor May Be the Answer to Evolution’s Problems
In business, especially where takeover bids come into question, competitors are often a necessary evil. As with the fall of the Roman Empire, an enemy becomes a powerful weapon. In this case, the saving grace may come from fierce as well as up and coming rivals Pragmatic Play.
While the likes of Microgaming and Playtech are struggling to match the dominance of Evolution, Pragmatic Play is proving to be a pivotal force in the live dealer gaming environment.
This is a firm that is already knee-deep in online Bingo, video slots, and virtual table games. It is an established brand and recently began its journey into the live casino market just when we thought Evolution had this market wrapped up.
If an argument against Evolution operating in the UK does arise, then Evolution has the perfect set of competitors to show that it will not become a monopoly.
How Pragmatic Play Penetrated Multiple Barriers to Entry
Getting into an industry with brands already dominating, and deservedly so because Evolution undeniably offers excellent high-end gaming, is a tough feat to achieve. Especially a market where there is not much room for differentiation.
For example, Airbnb hit the online vacation market because its idea was to target only vacation homes cleverly using diversification. Ezugi introduced Andar Bahar and Teen Patti to the live table gaming scene to build a brand name in India and Indian communities across Europe and the USA. While Pragmatic Play is simply building a brand with the same table games Evolution already offers.
However, Pragmatic Play’s key advantage is its massive Bingo, video slots, and virtual table collection. The firm already has multiple deals with casino platform aggregators who then deliver the games to online casinos. Therefore, Pragmatic Play’s strategy is clear.
The firm uses its existing popular brand name and market knowledge to create a catalogue of live dealer games. As the developer already has solid relationships with aggregators that host Pragmatic Play’s virtual games, all they have to do is agree to a deal to incorporate its live dealer games.
Today Pragmatic Play has partnership agreements with Genesis Global, Groove Gaming, 888 Casino BetVictor, SkillonNet, Softswiss, and many other aggregators who offer their services to more than 1,000 online casinos globally. Many of these aggregators already host Evolution and Ezugi games.
Now with the growth of the Pragmatic Play game catalogue with the addition of Blackjack and Roulette Azure, Auto Roulette, Speed Baccarat, and Live Baccarat over 2020, Pragmatic Play live games can stand out alongside Evolution Live Dealer games. Meanwhile, these two firms will soon compete in the online slots market once the NetEnt takeover bid becomes a reality.
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