Todd Haushalter Talks about the World’s First Live Mines Games Tips Craps, NetEnt Takeover
Todd Haushalter has been Chief Product Officer at Evolution since 2015. Todd oversees all aspects of Evolution’s games and product development, including many of the industry’s most celebrated games. Having previously worked as Vice President of Gaming at MGM Resorts and as Vice President of Business Strategy at Shuffle Master, he has a wide and varied knowledge of the casino industry.
- A lot has happened for Evolution since we last spoke in August. To start with, the company has altered its name. Could you tell us more about the “motives” and the reasoning behind the rebranding and what does the new name mean for the company?
The aim is to bring our brand closer to who we really are today and better reflect the diversity of the company’s operations. In addition to our world-leading online gaming offering, we also create and carry out everything in-house, including software development, technology and product innovation and state-of-the-art studio design.
These are all elements through which we drive our EVOLUTION.
It has always been in our nature to push the boundaries, to constantly strive to be ten steps ahead, to always be on our toes and we are excited about the next stage of our journey.
- Evolution recently acquired NetEnt – please tell us the reasons behind this deal and what it means for the industry?
The acquisition of NetEnt marks the exciting next step in Evolution’s journey, with the main aim to expand our offering to include market-leading slots and to move towards our vision of becoming the global leader in online casino. Evolution has a leading position in Live Casino and NetEnt has an established position in Slots, and the combination of the two will result in a world class portfolio of online games that will enable us to serve a growing customer base. In addition, NetEnt’s established position in the US combined with Evolution’s existing US studios will be beneficial for us considering the on-going regulation in North America.
- How satisfied are you with the player feedback on Instant Roulette? Did you aim to achieve anything else?
This year, one focus was to reinvent a selection of our casino classics, by adding unique twists to well-known player favourites and we welcomed a new generation of players to Live Casino, while at the same time honouring the games that players know and love.
We are seeing an increased number of players discovering this game. It has become a favourite of players who want near instant results and to play at their own pace. Instant Roulette combines the best of RNG and Live Casino and has the speed of an RNG game but keeps players trust as it is a live game.
We aimed to create a completely new spin on Live Roulette where 12 individual and synchronised Auto Roulette wheels spin almost constantly, for near instant results. Players can play at their own pace since betting time is unlimited. The player is always in control and can click on the ‘PLAY NOW’ button whenever they are ready. The wheel closest to the next drop of the ball is then automatically selected as the wheel on which the player is betting for this game round.
The response to the game has been very positive, and we have successfully achieved our goal of appealing to both new and existing Roulette players.
- Are there plans for any new Roulette releases?
We are constantly innovating and already have a ton of new ideas for next year’s games, which I will be keeping under wraps for now. What I will add is that you can expect to see more exciting takes on the traditional games that players know and love!
- Now on to the real deal. Live Craps has recently been released. How excited are you about the game?
I am super excited that Craps is finally live everywhere! It is a legendary game in the US and renowned for the boisterous excitement and atmosphere the game creates on the gaming floors of US casinos. Live Craps is great for both experienced and novice players alike as we have made Craps more accessible than ever, so everyone can join in the fun and see what makes this game such a blast!
- We have gotten to look at the admirable studio setup, as well as the dice launcher. How did you come up with these concepts?
When we started our brainstorming about the game’s visual appearance, we understood that the story narrative should be driven close to the exciting times of the ‘speakeasy’ era in the USA. The Craps studio has been designed beautifully to capture the true essence of the 1920’s era and in line with the underground, speakeasy theme. Various elements of this game were carefully thought out including the dice launcher. Instead of having the dealer throw the dice, the dice launcher was conceptualised since the players cannot throw the dice themselves in an online version of the game.
But on top of that, the most important part has been to make the whole gameplay experience as immersive and inclusive as possible – to make sure that players will enjoy each and every game round!
- Are any rules or potential strategies different than those that are applied in Craps?
Our unique online version of Craps stays true to the original game, while also taking full advantage of technology only available in an online game. Craps devotees will find a whole lot more to enjoy in our live Craps, which will add even more to their enjoyment of this unique game. Both experienced and new players will be able to learn how to play the game quickly.
Players are immediately immersed in the game as it’s easier than ever to follow the action and to see how much you potentially can win in the next roll. The ‘My Numbers’ display clearly guides players through the game with potential wins for the next throw of the dice. The players will always know which number they need to win together with possible pay-outs. Additionally, ‘Dynamic Statistics’ are shown on digital boards behind the dealer which constantly updates you on how other players are betting, adding to the community aspect that Craps is famous for.
Also, the ‘Easy Mode’ feature helps players to learn in a simplified version of the game, where only the most straightforward bets are available, and the user interface appears less intimidating for new players. The game also comes with a built-in interactive tutorial where players can immerse themselves in the game and learn to play without any pressure.
- We’d like to wrap up with a personal question. We know that you love Crazy Time (so do we). But Live Craps looks mesmerizing. Do you think they can be fan-favourite rivals in the eyes of players? Which one do you think could win?
Both games bring something completely new to the Live Casino industry and both represent big changes for what Evolution offers players. However, both these games share a social aspect. The combination of the bonus games, exciting multipliers and augmented reality makes Crazy Time so interesting that players can join in the fun and watch without having to place a bet. In Craps, players can follow the game and keep track of other players bets which brings the ambiance of a land-based casino in Las Vegas online.
Playing our live Craps is a great opportunity to learn the game in a more controlled environment.
Crazy Time is a bold, unique, game show style game that combines unique technology that appeals to a wide audience of online players, many of whom may never have played Live Casino games before. And of course, there are the four thrilling, action-packed bonus games: Cash Hunt, Pachinko, Coin Flip and Crazy Time that make this game so uniquely different. On the other hand, Craps is also an exciting and unique online version of Craps that fans have been waiting for. It is a long-anticipated arrival to Live Casino and a unique take on the famous casino classic game. We want to introduce the game to a wider range of players with the easy-to-play user interface and helpful features. Playing our live Craps is a great opportunity to learn the game in a more controlled environment, and for the experienced player the game offers a less crowded and more relaxed gaming experience.
We are excited that this game is now available to players and I hope they love it as much as we do!