Evolution Seeks Approval for Dedicated Live Dealer Studio Building in Atlantic City

To handle growing user demand for live dealer games, Evolution plans to build a $75 million studio campus in New Jersey, which could employ as many as 2,000 people when it opens in 2026. Attorney Lloyd Levenson of Cooper Levenson, representing Evolution, unveiled the plan during the May 21 Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) meeting.

According to reporting by the Press of Atlantic City, Levenson told the CRDA board members that Evolution needs the additional space to offer more games and grow its US business. For New Jersey online casino players, the upshot of additional studio space is that Evolution will have space to expand the variety of games it offers.

The CRDA oversees development, land planning, and construction within the Atlantic City Tourism District. The agency also owns the site at 2301 Fairmount Ave., where Evolution intends to build the new studios. At the moment, all that occupies that site is a parking lot.

Atlantic City’s mayor, Marty Small Sr., is a CRDA board member and supported the project, citing Evolution’s positive impact on the city. The board approved the project’s eligibility to lease the land almost unanimously.

However, that’s only the first step for the proposal. Evolution will need final approval from the CRDA and the city before construction can actually begin.

A representative for Evolution declined to comment on this story.

New Building Will Allow For Bigger NJ Operations

Evolution’s current studios operate from inside the Hard Rock, Ocean, and Tropicana casinos and employ about 850 people.

Although online casino servers must be hosted inside casinos, there’s no such requirement for live dealer studios. The decision to have them on site was one of convenience.

However, state law requires Evolution’s studios serving New Jersey online casinos to be within Atlantic City limits.

The new Evolution building calls for much more extensive operations, including live studios, office spaces, and server rooms. The four-story, 130,000-square-foot building would be the largest live dealer studio in the US. Although it could open as soon as 2026, operations would likely ramp up gradually. The estimate of 2000 employees provided by Levenson is for 2029.

Space is a Factor for US Game Variety

The additional space will allow Evolution to serve more customers at once and perhaps provide exclusively branded studios to more casinos. However, it’s also likely that more space will mean that more exotic games from Evolution’s catalog make it into the US market.

Americans have had their first taste of these specialized offerings thanks to this year’s launch of Crazy Time, Evolution’s most popular game show product in international markets.

Unlike most US iGaming states (except West Virginia), European regulators don’t require local hosting for live dealer games. The economics of shared studios allows Evolution to offer more games to its European customers. According to Evolution’s North American CEO Jacob Claesson, live dealer games account for 30% to 40% of online gaming revenue in Europe, and that none of the top five live games for international markets are traditional casino games like blackjack.

Evolution has been diversifying its customer base as well as its game selection. It recently picked New Jersey as the first US market to launch Spanish-speaking live dealer tables, so we could see a wider selection of those games as well.

Larger Studio Might Be Necessary for Evolution’s US Growth

Evolution Gaming is the global leader in live dealer games. Although it also supplies traditional RNG-based online casino games, the live segment has become increasingly crucial for the company. It represented 86% of Evolution’s overall revenue in Q1 2024, up from 84% during the same period of 2023 and 81% in 2022.

That said, its North American business hasn’t been keeping up. Revenue for the US and Canada grew by 8.4%, compared to 18% for the remainder of the company. That has been a consistent trend for the company for the past year. These results could be attributed to a few reasons, including increased competition, slower rollout of new games due to studio limits, and stalled iGaming expansion in the US.

At iGaming NEXT in March, Claesson said that he expects Evolution to add about 1,000 US employees this year, bringing the total to around 4,000. That’s still just a fraction of the staff the company employs in Europe, which is closer to 15,000. Creating space for an additional 2,000 employees in New Jersey would go a long way toward closing the gap.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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