Branded Live Dealer Blackjack Arrives At These 6 Michigan Online Casinos

Written By Matt Schoch on November 9, 2021

Live dealer casino games, a monopoly still held for now by gaming company Evolution, continue to evolve in Michigan.

Six Michigan online casinos are adding branded blackjack tables for their live dealer offerings on Tuesday, although all still originate at Evolution’s Southfield studios in metro Detroit.

At these tables, only players who play live dealer games through that specific operator will be allowed to “sit.”

This development also streamlines features such as the chat function. Before, the live dealer would often interact with messages from your table that you couldn’t see in the chat because they were filtered through a different brand.

Michigan online casino players flocked to the tables after the 11 a.m. local launch, as almost all the tables were nearly full in short order.

Live dealer games allow players to sit virtually with a real human being who is drawing actual cards or spinning a real wheel in roulette, baccarat and blackjack. This format is different than regular online casino games, which use a random number generator system to determine outcomes in these games.

Which Michigan online casinos have branded live dealer blackjack games?

Tuesday’s launch includes six of the 10 operators who are partnered with Evolution for Michigan live dealer games. Those brands:

Caesars has one brand-dedicated blackjack table for now, while the others will have two apiece, according to Jacob Claesson, head of North American operations for Evolution. The blackjack tables with players from all operators are still also available through these brands.

On Tuesday, operators who added branded blackjack tables still require the same $30 minimum bets, though those could fall soon, based on availability. One online casino, DraftKings, had upped maximum limits to $10,000 at their own tables on Tuesday, and more of that could be on the way.

The brands that are live with Evolution games but don’t yet have their own dedicated brand tables are:

Claesson told PlayMichigan that the dedicated brand offerings and options will expand further over time.

Claesson said brand-specific roulette tables will be next. That will come when some brands launch their own brand-specific studios, which also will originate from Southfield. No timetable is yet available for that next step.

For now, Evolution remains the only live dealer option in town. However, that stranglehold on the Michigan market is expected to loosen soon.

Evolution has competition coming to Michigan

At least one other global gaming operator is coming to Michigan. In fact, one is opening right down the street from Evolution.

Playtech, which is also preparing a studio in Southfield, is partnered with Parx, which services the Play Gun Lake platform here in Michigan. Interestingly, Playtech was acquired recently by Aristocrat Gaming, a move that now could be facing a counterbid.

That wasn’t the only recent acquisition news that could affect the market.

Scientific Games, which is partnered with FireKeepers Online Casino for its offerings, is leaning into its online casino business. SciGames recently bought Authentic Gaming, with its eyes reportedly on launching its own live dealer products.

Scientific Games is undergoing a massive company restructuring, as it has recently sold off its sports betting and lottery operations.

Addition of MI live dealer online casino games was a game-changer

The July 22 addition of live dealer online casino games, exactly six months after the initial launch of Michigan online gambling, helped spur even more growth here in an already booming sector.

The two full months since that launch set records for Michigan online casino revenue, including September, which broke the $100 million mark in revenue for the first time.

What’s next for live dealer games at Michigan online casinos?

More games and more tables, with lower table limits, are on the way in time for Evolution offerings.

Some of the games that are in other states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania that are not here yet in Michigan should show up in the Great Lakes State in time.

Those include:

  • Casino Hold Em
  • DreamCatcher (game show)
  • Three Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold Em

“Up until now, we have primarily focused on bringing our ‘standard’ live casino games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker to as many players as possible in USA and Michigan,” Claesson said. “The upcoming period will be very exciting as we are working on bringing several of our very popular and successful games and game shows live in the USA, including Michigan — while at the same time expanding our standard tables.”

Jobs available at Michigan studios

Although Michigan online gambling has delivered on promised tax benefits, the sector isn’t the job creation boon that comes with physical casinos.

However, live dealer casinos are an exception to that generality, as hundreds of Michiganders are now employed by Evolution.

More are on the way, Claesson said, as the company has 25 different positions available on its website.

Jobs available include game presenters (dealers), compliance specialists, construction project managers and team managers, with more than one position available for most of these titles, Claesson said.

“We are in an intense growth phase and are really excited about 2022 for Michigan live dealer,” Claesson said.

Photo by Matt Schoch/PlayMichigan
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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