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Introducing Live88: Giving the next generation the live casino they want

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From its humble beginnings as a single live blackjack title, live casino has come a long way since hitting the scenes in the late 1990s. But with players now demanding a more immersive and personalised experience, how can operators step up to the mark in attracting and retaining player attention? For Mark Taffler, Commercial Director at Hub88/Live88, the creation of Live88 is the answer to operator’s concerns. Bringing entertainment back to the heart of the vertical with a unique, customisable twist.

So frequently seen as the pinnacle of igaming evolution, the concept of innovation is regularly held on a pedestal. Over the years, there has been a host of evolutionary features that aim to boost engagement, from customisable gaming feeds to live odds and even targeted promotional offers.

One such vertical that has achieved this particularly well is live casino. With the inclusion of social chat features, live streaming and even the use of augmented reality, live casino stands as a beacon of innovation, creativity and player engagement.

However, behind the scenes lie a complex landscape fraught with the challenges of gaining a competitive edge against industry leaders like Evolution and finding new ways to keep players on their toes. This is where Live88, hopes to change the game. 

Focusing attention on the wrong place: Live88 turns the tables

“Entertainment carries many forms. The core proposition of those entertainment sources hasn’t changed, and neither have the core components of casino and betting.”

In recent years, the focus of innovation has been extended to largely push the boundaries of technology. But for Live88, a more important, and often overlooked aspect of improving a player’s experience is that of adapting the concept of entertainment to the new generation of players.

Operators are well aware that customising a player experience is the ideal way of boosting entertainment value and encouraging engagement. Players want to experience a platform that appears to be designed exactly for their preferences, something that Live88 focused on when building this new casino product.

“I think that the betting and gaming industry is at a point of maturity where people turn towards innovation as a catch-all for hyper growth. They are innovating for innovation’s sake. But I think that when you break it down to its component parts, our industry is a form of entertainment.”

Live88: Putting the customer first 

“We are told by our casino partners what their audience wants, or even what the operator wants for their players. The stand-out thing for us is the flexibility of Live88. It’s flexible, it’s malleable and it helps the casinos to build and give players what they are asking for.” 

While many suppliers have turned their full attention towards introducing new features and innovations in a bid to distinguish themselves in a crowded market, Taffler feels this can leave one important component falling by the wayside — flexibility. 

“Our partners often tell us that they don’t need an endless list of innovated features. The thing that they want is flexibility. They want to have a product that delivers what their players need. 

“Players know what they want and they want their betting experience to reflect that. There are so many micro and macro factors within live casino which help that decision making process for a casino.”

With a demand for flexibility, Taffler believes a gap in the market opened up for a developer to create a live casino offering that would stand out from the competition and adapt to each unique player’s needs. 

“As an organisation, our mantra is that we put our customers at the centre of our universe. That might sound cliche, but at Live88 we genuinely do that. I haven’t ever experienced this at any other company that I’ve worked at, and it is something that I think sets us apart from the crowd. 

“Putting our customers first means that we tirelessly go out and ask our partners what more can we be doing? What do they want to see, and even what they don’t want to see from us. This is where Live88 was born.”

A collaborative approach

“We wanted to give something that can be easily adaptable and change to meet the needs of our partners.”

Shaping an offering that boasts a “fresh and youthful visual identity” and an entertaining variety of games, Live88 provides a unique approach to live casino.

With its focal aim to combat the current lack of community cohesion, Live88 looks to build a “social phenomenon where the player is part of the product.” Encouraging players to enjoy classic live casino games and achieve better rewards the more they participate. Players can engage in conversation with other players as well as dealers, sharing wins, tips, even rewards and ultimately becoming part of the appeal of this live casino product.

Following discussions with operator partners, Taffler believes the team has produced a product that facilitates the ultimate self-sustaining community spirit.

He reflects on how a sister product, Bombay Live, proved successful in creating a unique live casino product, and ultimately paved the way for Live88 to take form.

“What we’ve tried to do is look at what we have already done with Bombay and apply those learnings to Live88. Bombay was beautiful. So, we took that feedback from our key markets, listened and introduced a brand which will help our customers to cater to their players.”

And for operators, the ability to customise each live casino game to fit in with their own unique style is another aspect that will appeal to operators wanting to boost brand awareness and encourage player loyalty.

“Ultimately, this isn’t about us creating a product that’s going to be unique for us. It’s all about creating a product that helps our customers to solve problems and grow their own brands.”

Meeting the demands of partners

With such a strong product, Live88 emphases the gaps in the partners’ existing offering, showing the potential of how live casino can truly fit within a brand’s growth ambitions.

To create a ‘perfect’ live dealer product that meets the demands of its partners, the team had to determine what its core demographic would be. But understanding the core audience is “two layered” according to Taffler.

“A lot of providers are targeting their products towards the chief executive officer or the chief financial officer. But they are not the ones who are deciding where games are placed. Live88 wants to speak to those individuals who understand what games work best for their brand, what players want and what performs well.”

Adding a social element to live casino

One way in which operators have tried to previously meet the needs of players is by enhancing the social side of live casino.

Over the last few years, we have seen more and more live casino providers incorporate the likes of chat rooms and direct links with the dealer into their product offering, in the hopes of touching on the social dynamics of land-based casinos. 

But for Taffler, the experience of a brick-and-mortar casino cannot be replicated, nor should it be. 

“Live88 isn’t trying to emulate the live, physical casino environment. In my experience, I don’t think you can replicate that. I think that the social elements of live casino give people something to do while they’re not betting. 

“Chat rooms are a feature that players want. There is an argument that stretches wider than the online casino space when it comes to the human desire for being much more social. 

“When you move that casino experience into the online space, that desire to be social in your gambling decreases; players are playing with an avatar behind a username. The experience isn’t inherently social, players are gambling online by proxy and everything else is an addition.”

For Taffler, being social isn’t entirely about conversation. In fact, there is a more generous side to this product that allows players the opportunity to share their success with others across social media channels.

“Among the features due to be incorporated in future iterations is the launch feature, which allows players to share their win with their social media followers, thereby creating a sense of community among bettors.”

Live88: Providing a unique live casino experience

Alongside the promise of delivering new social-led features in future plans, Live88 already has grand ambitions to deliver an experience that will keep players coming back for more. 

Player engagement and retention has been a topic that has dominated industry conversations of late, and for the Hub88/Live88 commercial director, one solution to player retention woes comes in the form of content. 

He notes that one of the biggest mistakes that online casino operators make is offering “content for content’s sake”, adding, “Over their player lifetime, which on average is approximately one to two years, players tend to pick their favourite five slots. Casinos tend to have more than 3,000 slot titles in their lobby. They may also play two different table games; casinos have between 50 and 60.”

When it comes to retaining players, Live88 is striving to create a “fun, enjoyable, high value and private” experience that caters to the three different types of players: casual bettor, mid-range player and VIP.

Taffler says, “Each of those players has different needs, all of which can be met via the Live88 suite of products. We are offering the baseline of products that casino operators need to have in their lobbies: roulette, baccarat, blackjack. 

“We’re not just sticking with the traditional table games, but rather something quite fun and exciting – this is going to be elevated even further with the future iterations we have planned.”

Live88 is prioritising quality over quantity which is particularly evident with the launch of its flagship game Royal Riches Roulette. 

Royal Riches Roulette

Promising a number of “firsts”, Royal Riches Roulette will feature industry-first collection style bonus rounds as well as the highest multiplier in any roulette game available on the market. Players have the potential to win 1000x their stake when landing on straight-up wins and can access bonus rounds through the collection of hidden keys throughout the game.

“During the base game, it will be similar to the traditional base game where there will be an RNG model. There will be eight suits – two each in green, orange, blue and pink – which will land during every game round on random numbers. 

“If a player bets on one of these numbers, it will add the suit to their collection and the player can win money. If it doesn’t land on one of these numbers, the player has the chance to win the multiplier. What this is doing is giving the players many more opportunities to win.”

Live88: Creating a unique path to success

Live88 continues to navigate its own path to success, by responding to the current challenges of live casino operators and by building a product that directly solves them.

“They know the casino industry, they know the gambling space, they know what they want and I think in this industry what they want is probably what a lot of people want.
“We went out, we did the hard yards and we gave the respect to our partners that they deserve rather than it being a dictated to them.

“We have worked really hard at building our relationships with our partners. We have had to take a pragmatic approach to the changes that we can bring in and how quickly we could bring them in. We are very excited about the prospect of being able to better serve our customer’s needs with this product.” 

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