Evolution Gaming, Largest Live Dealer Firm in US, Accused of Operating in Black Markets

Posted on: November 16, 2021, 04:09h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2024, 07:08h.

The Sweden-based parent company of Evolution Gaming, the largest live dealer business-to-business firm in the United States, is denying allegations that it allows its products and services to be used by bad actors.

Evolution live dealer lawsuit New Jersey
One of Evolution’s live dealer studios in Atlantic City. The company is accused in a New Jersey lawsuit of doing unlawful business in countries where online gambling isn’t legal. (Image: Evolution Gaming)

Evolution AB, through its many subsidiaries, conducts real money live dealer games around the world. A recent lawsuit filed in New Jersey on behalf of a US interest alleges a problem. They claim that private investigators hired by the anonymous group were able to access Evolution’s live dealer platforms in an array of black markets, including in countries that are currently the subject of US sanctions.

With live dealers, an online gambler can sit on his or her couch and interact with a live blackjack, roulette, or other table game dealer through their computer or mobile device.

Bloomberg broke the news that Ralph Marra, senior counsel with Calcagni & Kanefsky, filed the complaint with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement earlier this month. It presents an array of serious accusations against Evolution.

Evolution strictly complies with all applicable laws and regulations,” Evolution spokesperson Carl Linton responded to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

Marra says investigators found Evolution doing business where such online gambling isn’t legal, as well as in countries that are under US sanctions. Marra’s letter, obtained and viewed by Bloomberg, alleges that Evolution’s games were accessed in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq.

Emerging Business

If the allegations brought against the largest live dealer online gambling firm in the United States are true, the consequences could be devastating to an industry that is still in its infancy. Only three states currently have such iGaming options — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — and Evolution is responsible for handling the vast majority of the live dealer action in each.

Here’s how the Evolution business model works:

Let’s say a hypothetical company called FanKings is licensed to operate online live dealer games in a state through a partnership with a brick-and-mortar casino. FanKings hires Evolution as a B2B firm, and Evolution operates its live tables for FanKings.

Evolution generates revenue by charging FanKings for the table, studio, and dealer costs. FanKings keeps the table’s gaming income. The studios are often found inside the physical casinos, but also in standalone facilities where permitted.

Many remote online gamblers say live interaction is as close to the real thing as possible.

COVID-19 only heightened the importance of having online gaming options during land-based casino closures. It’s one of the many reasons why Evolution’s stock has skyrocketed more than 450 percent since the onset of the pandemic.

Company Denies Allegations

Linton stated that since Evolution is a B2B business, it has “no direct relationship with the underlying player and no involvement of handling of players’ money.” Linton added that Evolution only contracts with iGaming platforms that are licensed and regulated in their host jurisdictions.

US gaming jurisdictions require that all licensees be of good character and adhere to state and federal laws. Evolution is licensed in the three US states where it operates.

New Jersey’s DGE said it had no comment, but had received the Evolution complaint.