Monopoly Live / Evolution

monopoly_live_evolutionIs there a more important gaming company on the scene today than Evolution Gaming?

Probably not!

Surely they have competitors – both other blue chip firms, such as Pragmatic Play, Playtech, and Microgaming, as well as nimbler operators like Yggdrasil – but it does seem that the Swedish titan has established itself as a truly premiere brand.

And if it’s truly the case that Evolution has reached the very top of the market, Monopoly Live may be a big part of the reason why.

This title came out in 2020, and the world of online casino gaming has basically never been the same. It is a perennial hit among players and platforms alike – the mixture of excellent design and interface with an RTP (96.23%) that is above average for players, but not by so much as to be off-putting to the house seems to check just about every box.

So what is it about this title that makes it such a smash hit?

Let’s take a closer look to find out!

The Designer

These days, the online casino sector is continuing to grow at breakneck speed. For many designers, this incentivizes gaming quantity at the expense of quality of play… occasionally leading to results that leave patrons unimpressed.

Not so in the case of Evolution Gaming.

Widely recognized for its innovation in live dealer gaming, the company has introduced a variety of unique and engaging live dealer games that simulate the real casino experience, allowing players to interact with live dealers through video streaming. Whether it’s because of their famously high-quality streaming standards, high level of dealer professionalism, diverse game selection, user-friendly interface, or just good, old-fashioned innovation, Evolution continues to both set industry standards and improve upon their own. It’s exciting stuff.

As such, folks who already know this company’s work were not (and are not) surprised to see their success with Monopoly Live. After all, they’ve released plenty of incredibly interesting titles since!

Still. This is a case where the designer’s ethos of innovation, attention to detail, and high standards across the board really paid off.

The Game

the_gameEveryone in the casino gaming world knows how massively popular standard table games are.

Yes, the standard fare of blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat alone account for billions of dollars lost and won in any given month. (That’s not an exaggeration… that is literally the revenue volume. at which the modern game operates.)

But other table games are incredibly lucrative, too! There’s Texas Hold’em Poker, Omaha Poker, Pai Gow, Teen Patti, and Andar Bahar to consider, to say nothing of slots and video poker!

Amid this crowded field, it might seem a bit of a surprise that one of the industry’s biggest hits of recent years fits into none of the above category…

… instead, it’s Monopoly!

Now, Monopoly has been a hot topic (though not always for the right reasons) in the online gaming industry for more than a few years now. Somehow, the classic board game from Hasbro (which is, incidentally, based on the city planning of Atlantic City, NJ…. one of the capitals of the casino world) has retained an appeal among gamers since the early days of online gambling!

There have been slot game versions, keno-style editions, and plenty more to boot. This live dealer adaptation as more in common with wheel games than with any of the above. It shares much of the appeal of the original game – in this setting, though, there’s no need to fight over who gets to be the car and who is stuck playing as the thimble!

Here, Evolution combines elements of the classic Monopoly board game with a live casino experience.

The game is hosted by a live dealer and features a large spinning wheel with various segments. Players place bets on different segments of the wheel, such as numbers or bonus features, and the wheel is spun. If the wheel lands on a segment where you placed a bet, you win according to the odds associated with that segment.

Additionally, there are bonus rounds that involve virtual dice rolls and interactions with a computer-generated Mr. Monopoly character. These bonus rounds add an extra layer of excitement and engagement to the game.

The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, with a Monopoly-themed cityscape styled behind the wheel and an animatronic version of the game’s much-celebrated, tuxedoed, mustachioed mascot standing to the left of the action. Though he mostly minds his own business doing millionaire activities like drinking tea and making smart remarks, he will occasionally hop off his seat to host the 3D Bonus Round.

In the meantime, a real host spins the reel. It consists of 54 sections containing the following numbers and symbols:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5
  • 10
  • 2 ROLLS
  • 4 ROLLS
  • Chance

Players have the opportunity to bet on any or all of the above numbers and symbols. After the wager is placed, the host spins the wheel. Winning bets will receive their original bet back in addition to the corresponding payout.

As an example, a player who bet $5 on a winning 5 would receive their original bet ($5), as well as five times that amount in winnings ($25) for a total payout of $30.

As in the board game version, Chance can lead to any number of positive outcomes. (If Chance is a cash prize, then any bettor who wagered on the spin will win the prize.) They usually range from 5x–100x the bet size.

There are also win multipliers, when the host spins the wheel a second time, this time with a multiplier of 2–5x active. Be warned, though, that additional bets are not permitted for second spins – the initial bets will simply be locked in for a second round, not unlike a Free Spins feature in a slot game

Finally, the 2 ROLL and 4 ROLL cards open the way to the 3D bonus feature hosted by the one and only Mr. Monopoly. Perhaps the coolest part of the feature is that the dice rolls involved are done live in the studio – no RNGs or virtual dice involved!

This particular bonus feature has the potential for massive payouts, thanks to the possibilty of double-multiplied wins – in our test run, we saw some squares paying as much as 450x the bet size. That’s a cool $2250 payout on a a $5 bet… not too shabby!

Overall, this title offers an RTP of 96.23%, comparing favorably with most slot games, but losing out in terms of house edge to baccarat and the best roulette odds out there. It streams 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

The Bottom Line

It’s strange, but true: one the most popular and important online casino games of our age has nothing to do with standard table games!

Instead it’s the Monopoly Man, that old, top-hatted symbol of capitalism, who ushers in this fantastic gaming experience to players. Strangely enough, that symbol (like the game itself), was not originally intended to be a positive thing!

Rather, the “Monopoly Man” is not a specific character with a single origin, but rather a representation often associated with the board game Monopoly and not at all tied to a particular individual or historical figure. It has become a widely recognized symbol of wealth, capitalism, and business tycoons due to its association with the Monopoly game. The game itself was created by American political activist and writer Elizabeth Magie in the early 20th century as “The Landlord’s Game,” intended to illustrate the negative aspects of monopolies and concentrated wealth. Over time, the game was adapted and popularized by the Parker Brothers (now a subsidiary of Hasbro), and the Monopoly Man imagery became more iconic.

The Monopoly Man has been used in various contexts beyond the board game, often in satirical or critical depictions related to wealth inequality, corporate power, and monopolistic practices. The character’s appearance is so recognizable that it has become a symbol in its own right, often used to convey messages about economic and social issues.

By the way, there’s one last way that Evolution Gaming continues to lead the pack: fighting problem gambling.

As anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in and around casinos can attest, responsible gambling is important because it prioritizes the well-being and safety of individuals who engage in gambling activities. It helps mitigate the potential negative consequences associated with gambling, such as addiction, financial hardship, and emotional distress. By promoting responsible gambling practices, society aims to create an environment where individuals can enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment while minimizing the risks of harm to themselves and their loved ones.

Armed with all of this information, here’s the main takeaway for players: Monopoly Live is somehow not overrated!

In fact, there’s really only one reason not to play it: namely, that higher RTP is available elsewhere. For all other considerations, and for players more interested in pleasure than in profit, this title is an absolute must.