It’s no secret that the northern half like to play a few hands every now and then. So, it is not at all surprising that the Toon has three awe-inspiring casinos – Aspers, Genting and Grosvenor. However, these establishments are only the tip of the iceberg. The majority of Newcastle’s gaming premises involve slot machine rooms, bingo halls and other small venues.
Of course, the economic benefit is undeniable, even at the national level. The UK’s gross gaming yield (GGY) may have been a disappointing Â£ 5.89million in 2020, but somehow everyone involved in the game is still benefiting. This overshadows the issues with problem gambling and the overall presence of luck-based games.
One potential solution comes in digital form, and that’s none other than live casinos. Bringing classic games to websites and streaming them is far from new, but experts and gamers are seeing the benefits. Perhaps the increase of these sites can improve the situation in Newcastle, but some questions remain.
Out of the public eye
The main advantage of live casinos, as an alternative to betting shops, is that they only exist in their own domain. Think about it for a second, or better yet – take a walk around Grainger Town and see how apparent all the gaming ads are.
Even if the target audience (adults) justifies a certain way of marketing the brand, it is undeniable that such advertisements are on the verge of unsuitability. Since gambling advertisements and other forms of targeting are prohibited on social media, live casinos can help reduce the exposure of vulnerable groups, such as minors or problem gamblers.
Nonetheless, there is still the problem of betting shops and small venues being somehow a tradition among a lot of Geordies. Although social gatherings are an important part of people’s daily lives, the available data suggests that change is not a problem. The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed (and still persist) have helped a large chunk of gamers experience live casino games.
These encouraging trends certainly bode well for the game’s overall presence in people’s sight most of the time. When you also consider that the UK Gambling Commission is considering several changes to its regulations, it might be even easier for domestic and foreign operators to obtain licenses. As a result, supply and demand will readjust accordingly, with actors benefiting from the conditions. But what exactly are these advantages?
More realistic than ever
From a financial standpoint, a gambling night involves more than just the money you bet. There are drinks, food and anything that might involve a trip to Genting. And to be frank, UK casinos pale in comparison to the atmosphere of those in Vegas or Macau. It’s not meant to be an insult to any of the sites – it’s just that it’s understandably difficult to compete with two cities that are literally the mecca of the game.
However, players are still looking for that iconic casino atmosphere. Live casinos offer exactly that. The operator rents or builds a studio and decorates it to look like the most extravagant places you’ve ever seen.
Or better yet, some online casinos allow you to play at real tables, with the gameplay streamed directly from a land-based casino. This is the highest level of realism you can achieve while avoiding the expense of several thousand dollars.
There is also the innovation factor. Even though gaming sites have sort of become a part of the Toon, you can’t deny that they are quite limited. Of course, you can play poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat, as well as the obligatory slots and a few electric tables.
But the problem is, the total is only a fraction of what you can do at live casinos. Developers can turn anything into a game. Monopoly Live for example. It is based on the popular board game from Hasbro, to which Evolution has purchased the rights. Blending classic gaming elements with all of Monopoly terminology, the game is a perfect example of what live casino games can do in terms of entertainment.
For example, regular roulette can be fun to play, but the payout odds are always 1:36 for each number on the wheel. Of course, there is a reason why everyone loves roulette. However, this remains limited. Live casinos are getting through this problem by asking developers to turn otherwise impossible ideas into reality. Multipliers are one example.
Whether to hunt Big Win Live Monopoly or boosted bets in another game, it is clear that there are endless possibilities when it comes to live casino games. And we only started to see paintings incorporating elements of multiple reality. The metaverse should also make things fun.
A solution for everyone
As fun as the game can be, there is a time and place for everything. Geordies has generally gotten used to the many advertisements and betting shops around town. Unlike the ban and tighter restrictions, live casinos are touted as a way to solve this problem without risking making the situation worse. While it’s reasonable to believe that Newcastle and cities of similar size will somehow retain a vibrant land-based casino culture, the decline is imminent. Not only are people at risk exposed to in-game content, there are simply better and more convenient ways to play your game.
The whole industry is going digital. If the UKGC takes smart action and doesn’t raise taxes too much, it will be a two-bird-to-one-stone situation. The casino games will be announced to those who really want to play them, while interested players will always have an easy way to have fun.
Above all, there will still be sufficient funds for projects in the region. Of course, this process should be a bit long, but it is a remedy that will make things easier nonetheless. Whether or not this is a permanent fix, both for Newcastle and the UK as a whole, no one knows for sure.
Can Live Casino Games Transform the Geordie Gaming Market?