Live dealer casino games changed the landscape of online casino gambling. Playing table games on your computer was a pretty mechanical experience until the advances in technology facilitated the integration of video, voice and game play elements seamlessly to deliver an experience that is now as near as it gets to being physically present in a land based casino. You get the thrill of being at a land-based casino while playing from your home.
In this article we explore the fascinating world of live dealer casinos. In particular we cover:
- The best live dealer casinos and bonuses
- The technology behind live dealer casino gambling
- How to play at a live dealer casino
- Types of live dealer games
- Advantages and Disadvantages of playing at a live dealer casino
- The different live dealer casino software providers
- Playing live dealer casino games on your mobile device
- Frequently asked questions about live dealer casino gambling
Best Live Dealer Casinos
Live Dealer Casino Technology Overview
The following video illustrates how the action unfolds when you play a live dealer casino game.
In live dealer casino gaming the action is filmed live at the studio of the software provider and then streamed over high-speed Internet for players to access from their computer or mobile device. Studios have multiple tables for each game type.
The different elements in a live casino studio include:
- HD cameras: Multiple HD cameras are used to provide different angles and a sense of being at the casino. For instance, a roulette table may use at least 3 cameras:
- One camera for the overall view of the table.
- Another camera for images of the table and the wheel.
- A third camera for the picture-in-picture display.
- Game Control Unit (GCU): This is a critical component of a live casino. It is a small device that encodes the video being broadcast. Every table has its own GCU.
- Wheel: Used for roulette games, the wheel comes from specialist manufacturers. They are the standard wheels that are configured for use in a casino, but with built-in sensors that interface with the software being used.
- Monitor: The monitor gives the dealer the ability to see the players online. There are blind spots – spots that are outside the range of the cameras – for players to use if they do not want to appear on the monitor.
- Dealer: The most important element at a live casino studio is the dealer. She/he handles the game and gives you the feel of actually playing at a land-based casino. Many casinos are nowadays able to track the dealer’s actions at the table using a smart card.
Next, we take a look at an important software component in a live dealer casino set-up: the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The following are some of the features of OCR technology.
- It translates the physical transactions made by the live dealer into data that can be read, analyzed, and acted upon by the software.
- It records all the actions in the live studio in minute detail including:
- Card shuffling
- Dealing of card hands
- Spinning of the roulette wheel
- Accepting of bets
- Clearing of the table once a game is over
- It then converts the recorded images into data in the electronic format, which is then streamed live over Internet using live streaming technology. Live streaming ensures:
- Transmission of images that are full HD with minimal to zero latency.
- Images are compatible with the user interface.
- Interaction between player and dealer through live chat.
- A land-based casino experience in your house.
Now that we know the technology behind a live dealer casino, let us take a look at how a live dealer casino works.
How Live Dealer Casinos Work
Live dealer casinos work exactly like their land-based counterparts, except that they are available online. Here is a quick run-down of how to play a live dealer casino game.
- Click the Live Dealer Casino or Live Casino tab on the casino website.
- Select the game you want to play.
- On your device screen the images from the game are displayed.
- You place the bets for the hand (if it is a card game) or the round (if it is a roulette game).
- Once the bets are placed the dealer starts dealing the hand or spins the wheel.
- The buttons used for betting become inactive once the game starts.
- You make your move based on the hand you are dealt, after which the dealer makes his moves.
- The winning hand is shown on screen.
- In live roulette, the number on which the ball lands is announced and the winnings are then disbursed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing at a Live Dealer Casino
There are quite a few advantages, and also a few disadvantages of playing live dealer games. The following are the major advantages:
- You get to interact with a live dealer, an actual person.
- The experience of live dealer gaming is life-like; you can interact with the dealer and other players over chat, unlike at a regular online casino game.
- The action is live and streamed real-time over the Internet.
- The multiple HD cameras used give you different angles for the same shot, enhancing the visual experience.
The following are the disadvantages of playing at a live dealer casino.
- Live dealer games are usually available in real money mode only.
- The number of games is very limited – just a handful – compared to the game range at the regular online casino.
- The minimum bets are higher than in a regular casino because of the additional expense involved, which includes:
- Maintenance costs
- Staff retention costs
- Equipment costs
- Games are slower-paced because it is one person – the dealer or croupier – controlling different aspects, including:
- Accepting bets
- Dealing cards
- Spinning the wheel
- Interacting with you and other players
We will next take a look at the different live dealer casino games available.
Live Dealer Games
Live dealer casinos do not have the vast range of games that you otherwise see in an online casino. You will usually find the following games at a live dealer casino:
There are other live casino games too, though these are found only at casinos run by some of the software providers. These games include:
- Caribbean Poker
- Golden Ball
- Texas Hold’em
- Dragon Tiger
- Punto Banco
Not all software providers offer all these games together. In the next section we list out the different games available from the different software providers.
Live Dealer Software Providers and their Studios
We explore the primary live dealer solution providers below, some of which specialise in live dealer games only.
|Software Provider||Studio Locations||Number of Tables||Live Game List||Mobile||Where to Play|
|Evolution Gaming||Latvia, Malta, UK||100+ tables||Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em for iPad, Three Card Poker||Yes||Hello Casino read review|
|NetEnt||Malta||0-10||Common Draw Blackjack, 7-Seater Blackjack, Roulette, Automatic Roulette||Yes||Guts Casino read review|
|Microgaming||Canada||20-50 tables||Regular and Playboy Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em||No||Betway Casino read review|
|Extreme Live Gaming (Novomatic)||London||11-20 tables||Baccarat, Roulette, French Roulette, Blackjack, Golden Ball||Yes||Intercasino read review|
|Playtech||Riga (Latvia), Bucharest (Romania), Manila (Philippines)||50-100 tables||Sic Bo, Casino Hold’em Poker, Baccarat, Hi-Lo, Roulette, Blackjack||Yes||Casino.com read review|
|Media Live||Malta, Italy, Slovenia||11-20 tables||Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat||Yes||Bet Victor Casino read review|
|Netplay TV||London||0-10||Roulette||Yes||SuperCasino read review|
|Ezugi||Belgium, Bulgaria, Costa Rica. Direct streaming from land-based casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Cambodia||20-50 tables||Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, Keno, Double Ball Roulette||Yes||Leo Vegas read review|
|Portomaso Gaming||Malta||0-10 tables||Punto Banco, Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack||Yes||Leo Vegas read review|
There are a few other software providers as well who offer live casino games (most of these are not supported by UK licensed casinos):
- XPro Gaming
- Ho Gaming
- Visionary iGaming
- Authentic Gaming
- Lucky Streak
- Vivo Gaming
- Opus Gaming
- Global Gaming Labs
Mobile Live Studios
The mobile variant of live dealer games is possibly the future of the live dealer casino industry because of the enormous popularity that mobile casinos enjoy. Here are a few reasons for the popularity of mobile live dealer casino games:
- Completely secure experience.
- Compatibility with multiple mobile platforms including Android and iOS.
- Live dealer casino gaming on the go.
The following are some of the live casino software providers with a mobile offering:
- Evolution Gaming
- Extreme Live Gaming
- XPro Gaming
- Media Live Casino
- Netplay TV
Live Dealer Casino FAQs
Most casinos offer their games in real money mode. However, there are some casinos that offer demo versions of the game.
Most casinos allow you to change and customize the settings for streaming quality and sound. Click Options in the menu on the live casino screen; you get a list of options that you can customize.
If there is a live stream fail you immediately receive an alert: a message pops up on the screen informing you of the live stream fail and the possible reason, usually a network error.
Sometimes you may get disconnected when a game is in progress. Different live dealer casinos have different rules regarding disconnection. Certain casinos give you a specific time period in which to reconnect. If the reconnect happens in that time period the game continues.
If the reconnect does not happen within the given time period the winnings are given out – you get what you won till the point you got disconnected. In this situation, the deposit you made just prior to getting disconnected is considered your last deposit.
There is no delay to allow the dealer to change the outcome of a game without your knowledge. Even if there is a streaming fail or a disconnection, as mentioned above, the last winnings are considered to be what you won. The dealer does not have the time to change an outcome of a game.
Live casinos do not need to indulge in unfair means because the house edge is already on the side of the casino. As the saying goes, the casino always wins. No live casino would want to lose out on credibility for a little bit of money. All the top live casinos in the UK are audited and certified for fairness by some of the best third party auditors like eCOGRA and TST. The dealers and croupiers at these casinos are professionals and they are trained to maintain high standards.