The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the biggest challenge faced by many business sectors in the last few years. It came unexpectedly, giving organizations no warning or time to prepare. Many businesses, especially startups, were hugely affected by the situation. However, as companies have resumed despite the pandemic lingering, every sector has set guidelines to help them cope with the new normal.
The gambling sector has not been left out. It began with the closure of physical casinos and sportsbooks, which resulted in the movement of all gambling activities to online casinos. But now that physical activities have resumed, the gaming industry has had to develop guidelines to help curb the spread of the diseases through casinos and sportsbooks.
However, the experience has not been the same as it was before the pandemic. The physical casinos that are open have to ensure individuals maintain at least six feet apart while sitting or standing. In some casinos, activities are limited to gaming machines that can be played by one user at a time. And these gaming machines are always disinfected between uses. Sharing of materials or gaming equipment is also prohibited.
On the other hand, casinos allowing dealer games that involve multiple players have to set more measures. The operators limit the sharing of items like card shoes, shufflers, dice, toke boxes, and others. They also have to disinfect these objects as much as possible.
With all these measures in place, physical casinos have not been able to perform to full capacity. Moreover, many of the players chose not to take risks and avoid visiting gaming houses.
Playing online live dealers has been the best alternative for physical casino gaming. In many countries, the pandemic has caused more people to embrace the idea of live dealer games. In fact, live casino in India were the most popular form of gaming in the country during the lockdown. This, of course, is an excellent development as it helps to keep more people safe.
Yet, running these live dealer studios when directives have been given for people to stay at home is still challenging. Casino operators still need to take serious measures to prevent the pandemic’s spread through the live studios. In some areas, live casino studios have been totally shut down.
How operators have continued to engage players with live games
At the SBC Digital Summit held this year, the owner of Basic Strategy, Karolina Pelc, revealed that many Asian gaming operators have been entering quick partnerships with new suppliers like never before.
She also mentioned that many of these Asian operators have been seeking products that do not totally depend on human hosting.
During the summit, one of the recommendations made to help operators fill the void left from gaming products that require live human dealers was to integrate more RNG games on their platforms.
The CCO of Hero Gaming, Sam Brown, was also of the opinion that the integration of RNG games could make up for the lack of live dealer games at the moment.
“We’ve always seen popularity in auto-roulettes, which are very well positioned to take that roulette liquidity. On the game shows, it’s difficult to say whether RNG can perhaps provide the experience that people are after. But from a roulette perspective, RNG could cover a lot of the experience there,” he said.
Sam Brown also mentioned that Hero Gaming has reached out to many suppliers hastily and tried more products to keep players engaged. “One of the new products we have tried is this real dealer hybrid, where you’re essentially playing an RNG, but it is being presented by a pre-recorded live video.”
The head of live casino at William Hill, Richard Atkinson, revealed that having to work from home has not stopped them from engaging their audience. He explained that they have been able to develop products that are similar to the real live dealer games but based on RNG.
In these games, the dealer who works from home is seen on the screen, making comments as you play. So while the RNG controls the fun, the dealer makes comments just like in live casinos. This has helped them to keep the audience as engaged as possible.
However, there are still several live gaming studios open around the world. These operators maintain strict social distancing rules and regularly disinfect items to stay safe. While these studios continue to serve players, developing alternatives to live dealer games remains a great idea.