There was news over the weekend that Evolution Gaming had signed a partnership deal with US based company SHFL entertainment, Inc. Not insignificant news in the context of live gaming’s march into regulated US markets.
Who are SHFL entertainment, Inc?
You probably haven’t heard of SHFL entertainment, Inc. But you may well have heard of Shuffle Master Inc, which is what they called themselves prior to a recent name change.
Shuffle Master (sorry, SHFL) is a pretty major equipment supplier to casinos in the US (44% of revenue), and abroad. Not unlike a few other iconic US technology companies, this one was started by a bloke with a good idea in his garage. The idea in this case was a solution to the scourge of American casinos in the 80’s…blackjack card counters who were making more money than the casinos were comfortable with.
The idea was a mechanical card shuffling machine that would enable every deal to be from a freshly shuffled shoe. No shoe depletion. No opportunity to count cards.
Pretty soon shuffle master machines were in casinos everywhere, blackjack advantage players had to go find real jobs, and Shuffle Master Inc, began diversifying into a developer and supplier of a whole range of casino gaming products from proprietary table games, to slot machines and e-gaming solutions, which I guess is why they found it necessary for the name change.
Here’s a pretty cool video chronicling the company’s history.
The Evolution Gaming SHFL deal
The deal, announced today, gives Evolution the right to add selected SHFL table games to its list of live online games. Given plenty of these tables are inside casinos in Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania this certainly gives Evolution Gaming a foot in the door of America’s newly legalized online casino markets and positions them well to become a live casino game provider of choice.
Of course it will be the casinos (and state regulators) that decide whether any of the SHFL proprietary table games ever become playable live online and even then, they will only be available for intrastate play. But it’s still a big step.
Evolution CEO Jens Von said of the development, “We are delighted to have struck this agreement with SHFL, which positions us perfectly to lead the exciting new online markets, including emerging regulated markets like the US”.
Similar sentiments came from SHFL Chief Strategy Officer Lou Castle…
“Evolution is a proven leading supplier to top operators in Europe for Live Casino, video-streamed live dealer services. Evolution’s offering of live games streamed to online patrons on or off property, creates a compelling platform to offer SHFL’s leading table games for emerging online regulated markets like the US.”