Live games didn't have the best of starts to life in the casino industry. At the start they were, admittedly, badly put together. But due to advances in technology, live games now boast a smooth integration of voice, video and game play elements.
Ryan's Thoughts"Live games have changed the landscape of online casino gambling, offering you all the thrills of a land based casino, but from the comfort of your own home."
What you will find in our guide:
- The best live casinos and bonuses
- The technology behind live casino gambling
- How to play the games, with in-depth guides
- Types of games
- Advantages and disadvantages when compared to Random Number Generated (RNG) games
- An overview of the different software providers that make the games
- How to stream live on a mobile device
- Frequently asked questions
Best Live Dealer Casinos
Streaming and Realtime Technology Overview
The following video illustrates how the action unfolds when you play a live game.
Play action 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 video streaming 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 in the workings of these systems. 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 component of 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 that makes all of this possible, namely, Optical Character Recognition (OCR). 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.
How Live Dealer Casinos Work
- Click the or Live 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 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 live vs computer generated games.
- 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
Live Online Casino Games
You will usually find the following games at a live dealer casino:
There are other live games, although 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||-|
|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||-|
|Portomaso Gaming||Malta||0-10 tables||Punto Banco, Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack||Yes||-|
Some other providers include:
- XPro Gaming
- Ho Gaming
- Visionary iGaming
- Authentic Gaming
- Lucky Streak
- Vivo Gaming
- Opus Gaming
- Global Gaming Labs
Mobile Live Studios
Mobile variations of live streaming is starting to take off because of the enormous popularity that mobile casinos enjoy. As technology matures, they will gain in popularity because they are:
- Completely secure.
- Compatible with multiple mobile platforms including Android and iOS.
- Available 24/7, as long as there is connectivity.
The following are some of the 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 screen and you'll get a list of options that you can customize.
If a live stream fails 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. 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, your winnings prior to the disconnection are handed over. 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 are audited and certified for fairness by some of the best third party auditors. The dealers and croupiers at these casinos are professionals and they are trained to maintain high standards.
These are extremely rare though from time to time, some sites do offer free play on live games. If we know of any, they will be listed on our no deposit bonus page.