Hard Rock Adds “Live Online Slots” to New Jersey Online Casino
Hard Rock Atlantic City added another new product to its online casino platform Monday.
Using technology provided by Soft weaveHard Rock now allows players to play real physical slots remotely through a web browser or mobile app.
The innovation isn’t just new to the property or the US online gambling market in general. these live online slots are, in fact, the first in the world.
Most physical slot machine manufacturers also create virtual implementations of at least part of their catalog. Players will be able to play slots on the same hardware found in casinos from the comfort of their own home or even on the go.
Online casino games with live dealer, like black jack and roulette, have become commonplace in the international market. They are also rapidly gaining traction in the United States thanks in part to Hard Rock, whose Atlantic City casino hosts Evolution game‘s live-dealer studio.
Until there, New Jersey is the only state with such a studio. There are two, in fact. Another should open in Pennsylvania Later this year.
This agreement with Softweave positions Hard Rock as an innovator and potential trendsetter, bridging the gap between the live casino experience and online gaming.
How Live Online Slots Work
Softweave’s live slots product consists of four components:
- The game machine.
- An audiovisual device.
- The mobile application and the browser.
- Material provided by Softweave called winafarthat connects the components inside the machine cabinet.
Upon launching the app, players are presented with a bank of slots showing which machines are in use and which are available. They can select a free place or register on a waiting list.
Once the player has chosen a machine, the Winafar hardware allows money to be transferred between their online account balance and the machine. The camera and microphone transmit live video and audio from the machine to the player’s browser or smartphone.
The camera’s field of view includes the cabinet buttons, to which the application interface is directly mapped. Clicking or tapping on one of the buttons in the video window sends the instruction to the Winafar box to execute the equivalent command on the real machine.
What’s the attraction?
At first glance, the product may seem a bit pointless compared to live dealer table games.
On the one hand, blackjack and roulette have an element of human interaction which is missing in the simulated online versions. Some players also trust the randomness of a physical pack of cards or the roulette more than they do a computerized pseudo-random number generator.
Even slot machines with physical reels run on software these days, and there are no human dealers involved.
Is there a market for “live online” slots?
That remains to be determined. However, Softweave’s product differs from conventional online slots in several ways.
First, and most importantly, the machines that Hard Rock uses for its live slots do not have digital adaptations. He has 12 devices shared between five gamesincluding two digital and three mechanical:
- Spitfire multipliers
- Hotter than the flames
- 3 x 4 x 5 times double the payment
This range could change in the future, but what is important is that Hard Rock can offer online games that are not available anywhere outside of a physical casino.
Second, recreational players are often superstitious. In a casino, some will move between slot machines running the same game looking for the “lucky” one. Operating physical machines remotely gives them the ability to do the same online.
There may be no rational basis for this, but it’s probably a feature some players want nonetheless.
Live slots are a marketing opportunity
The way Hard Rock has set up the studio for their live slots provides additional marketing value. The room containing the connected machines for online gaming is located opposite the casino buffet, a high traffic area at the second level.
To promote the new product, Hard Rock installed a billboard-sized advertisement on the wall separating the studio from the buffet area. In the ad, keyhole-shaped windows give passers-by a view of the machines.
It’s even possible to use the mobile app to play one of the machines and watch out the window as it comes to life.
Cross-sell is increasingly important in the gaming industry these days. the novelty value of the Hard Rock configuration could therefore prove to be a valuable tool in this regard.
Other new additions courtesy of Evolution
Slots aren’t the only recent addition to Hard Rock Online Casino’s live gaming options. Evolution received approval to expand its New Jersey studio in November. This also resulted in the launch of new products at the beginning of the month.
In addition to expanding the number of live dealer blackjack tables, Evolution has added two new games to its studio: Dream Catcher and Parallel Betting City.
Although both have been available at various European online casinos for some time, they are brand new to the US market. Both are now available at PlaySugarHouse as well as Hard Rock Casino.
Dream Catcher is a money wheel game similar to those found in most casinos. Side Bet City is a casino poker variant invented by Evolution similar to poker 3-5-7. Its visual presentation is unique, however, with a retro studio setting and dealer costumes evoking 1980s Las Vegas.
Because these hybrid live and online products are such a new phenomenon, there is still plenty of room for innovation. And based on the number of operators that have started offering Evolution’s products, it looks like live dealer table games are a hit, so far.
We will see over time if live online slots prove to be just as popular. One way or another, though, we’ll likely see a lot more experimentation in this space in the years to come.