Q&A: Evolution product chief Todd Haushalter on the state of iGaming in the US
TH: The North American online casino market is particularly exciting and continues to develop rapidly. The group is determined to be operational in every newly regulated state from day one. There is also significant growth opportunity in all the current regulated states, and we are expanding our studios and adding new ones to keep up with demand from operators.
Evolution Group’s live casino products are currently operational in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan and we are looking forward to launching a state-of-the-art new studio in Connecticut later this quarter, as well as launching our live casino in West Virginia. Evolution Group brands NetEnt and Red Tiger’s slots are already available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Connecticut.
iGN: What makes these markets so exciting to work in?
TH: In Europe, online gaming is a long-established industry, and the mature markets within the region are demonstrating slower growth – in part due to regulatory change affecting operators. This couldn’t be any more different in the US, where we see US markets catching up with their European counterparts at an exciting rate – business is booming!
Because of the relatively unexplored nature of the US iGaming landscape, we see markets forming with unique nuances and specifics, and new players and entities coming in and demanding a piece of the pie. Competition is fierce; household brands including brick-and-mortar casinos are tough competitors, but it’s a hugely interesting market and super exciting to be in.
iGN: Does Evolution tailor its products specifically for the US? How do customer preferences differ compared to Europe?
TH: The short answer is yes. From all our North American studios, we offer world-class games that are tailored to this market and its players. Whether it’s live casino or slots, we provide innovative casino classics as well as games with unique twists. We also offer all new game show-style games that have never been seen in this market before. We have tailored many live studios and RNG table games alongside NFL teams that are partners of our operators. Examples of this are Unibet’s Eagle Blackjack.Many of the games that are so successful in Europe need no introduction to American players. Games such as Roulette, Blackjack, and Baccarat are classics all over the world. There is a huge, global appetite for variants and unique twists on these player favourites, and these products can be differentiated for an American audience. For example, the demand for Lightning Roulette in American markets was so great that we had to build a new studio to tailor it for that specific audience.
iGN: You’ll be giving a headline talk on the first day of iGaming NEXT NYC. Can you give us a sneak preview of what to expect?
TH: Being at Evolution, one gets a uniquely wide view of the industry. We meet all the regulators, and all the operators, in all the markets, all over the world. We also have our own wide offering of slots and live, and in this presentation I am going to share some ideas on what the best performers in our industry will look like in the future, and how their offering will look. We will also do a deep dive into the world of live casino and what it takes to satisfy players and operators in this space.
iGN: Why is it important for companies like Evolution to participate in iGaming NEXT NYC?
TH: iGaming NEXT is the perfect place for us to showcase our portfolio of exciting games to the North American market and meet with our customers, investors and industry peers. The bar is set high for 2022 and we’ve already announced our decision to release 88 new games globally this year.
Specifically for the North American Market, we are excited to launch games from our successful Lightning family, such as Lightning Roulette and Lightning Blackjack. Lightning Roulette has proved to be a success for players worldwide, and we are excited to bring the game to the US market.
The US market is very exciting because we see increasing growth as more players find our games and enjoy their gaming experience. We’re opening new studios, adding more live casino tables, and expanding our RNG offering with more slots and table games to continue our growth.
iGN: Besides the conference and networking events, what else are you most looking forward to during your time in New York?
TH: I’ll be catching up with old friends from around the world who are all coming to New York for this event, and of course, I wouldn’t miss seeing the Yankees play!
Todd Haushalter will give a keynote speech at iGaming NEXT NYC at 12:55PM on Thursday 12 May. View the full agenda here.