It’s no secret that the North half likes to play a few hands once in a while. Thus, it is not at all surprising that the Toon has its own grandiose casinos – Aspers, Genting and Grosvenor. However, these establishments are only the tip of the iceberg. The majority of Newcastle gambling venues involve slots, bingo halls and other smaller venues.
Of course, the economic advantage is undeniable, even on a national scale. UK Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) may have been a disappointing £5.89m in 2020, but, one way or another, everyone involved in the game still benefits. This overshadows problems with problem gambling and the general presence of gambling based on chance.
One potential solution comes in digital form, and that is none other than live casinos. Porting classic games to websites and streaming them is far from new, but experts and gamers alike are noticing its benefits. Perhaps the rise of these venues can improve the situation in Newcastle, but some questions remain.
Far from 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, walk around the town of Grainger and see how obvious all the gambling ads are.
Even if the target audience (adults) justifies a certain way of marketing the brand, it is undeniable that such advertising borders on inappropriateness. Since gambling ads and other forms of targeting are prohibited on social media, live casinos can help reduce exposure to vulnerable groups, such as minors or problem gamblers.
Nevertheless, there remains the problem of betting shops and small rooms which are something of a tradition among a large number of Geordies. Although social gatherings have an important place in people’s daily lives, the available data suggests that change is not a problem. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent (and still persisting) lockdowns have helped a large portion of players discover live casino games.
These encouraging trends certainly bode well for the overall presence of the game in plain sight most of the time. If you also consider that the UK Gambling Commission is considering several amendments to its rules, it could be even easier for domestic and foreign operators to obtain licenses. As a result, supply and demand will readjust accordingly, with players benefiting from the conditions. But what exactly are these benefits?
More realistic than ever
From a financial point of view, a game night involves much more than the money you bet. There’s the drinks, the food, and anything else that might entail a trip to Genting. And to be frank, British casinos pale in comparison to the atmosphere of those in Vegas or Macau. This isn’t meant to be an insult directed at any of the sites – it’s just that it’s understandably difficult to compete against two cities that are literally the mecca of gambling.
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 have ever seen.
Or better yet, some online casinos allow you to play at actual tables, with gameplay streamed directly from a land-based casino. This is the highest level of realism you can achieve while avoiding the expense of thousands of pounds.
There is also the innovation factor. Even though the game locations are kind of part of the Toon, you can’t deny that they’re pretty limited. Of course, you can play poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat, as well as the obligatory slot machines and a few electric tables.
But the problem is that the total is only a fraction of what you can make at live casinos. Developers can turn anything into a game. Take monopoly live for example. It is based on the popular board game from Hasbro, to which Evolution bought the rights. Blending classic game show elements with all the 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 still 1:36 for each number on the wheel. Of course, there’s a reason everyone loves roulette. However, this remains limited. Live casinos navigate this problem by having developers turn otherwise impossible ideas into reality. Multipliers are an example.
Whether hunting Monopoly Live Big Wins or boost bets in another game, it’s clear that there are endless possibilities when it comes to live casino games. And we’ve only begun 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 a place for everything. Geordies have generally become accustomed to the many advertisements and betting shops around town. Unlike banning and stricter restrictions, live casinos are touted as a way to solve this problem without risking making things worse. While it’s reasonable to believe that Newcastle and cities of a similar size will retain a vibrant land-based casino culture, decline is imminent. Not only are people at risk exposed to gaming 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 birds one stone situation. Casino games will be advertised to those who really want to play them, while interested players will always have an easy way to have fun.
And above all, there will still be enough funds for projects in the region. Admittedly, this process promises to be a bit long, but it is a remedy that will nevertheless make things easier. Whether or not this will be a permanent solution, both for Newcastle and for the UK as a whole, no one knows for sure.
Can live casino games transform the Geordie gambling market?