Live dealer casino games are casino games that use webcam technology to stream games to your computer or mobile device in real-time. The first live dealer casino technology was introduced in 2003 by top software provider Playtech. Since then, more and more software providers have joined the ranks, including big names like NetEnt and Microgaming. From 208, live casinos started gaining significant traction in iGaming circles as players searched for a more authentic gaming experience while playing remotely. Live casinos became more common at online casinos and today, most of the best online casinos offer live dealer games to some degree. Here, we take a closer look at live casinos and what makes them so unique and entertaining in today’s digital age.
- 1 What Makes Live Dealer Games So Special?
- 2 Live Casino History
- 3 How Live Dealer Games Work
- 4 Advantages of Playing Live Casino Games
- 5 Live Dealer Games
- 6 Live Dealer Versus Online Casino Games
- 7 How We Rate the Best Live Dealer Casinos
- 8 Top Live Dealer Casino Software Providers
- 9 Mobile Live Casinos
- 10 Live Casino Bonuses
- 11 Top Tips for Choosing a Live Dealer Casino
- 12 Conclusion
- 13 FAQs for Live Casinos
What Makes Live Dealer Games So Special?
Live dealer games offer a truly unique and exciting experience to online gamblers. This includes a variety of innovative features that were previously unavailable. Some of these features include different variants of roulette games that offer incredible slo-mo videos to really get you excited for more action to follow. Some games feature different angles for a full view of the table, while the added social element offers players the closest thing they can get to an actual land-based casino. Thanks to chat functions, players can communicate directly to the live dealers and fellow live players during the game, adding some authenticity to the gameplay.
Live Casino History
As mentioned before, Playtech was the first software provider to develop live dealer technology back in 2003 and swiftly created its first live dealer game that same year. Soon, big names like Evolution Gaming and Microgaming followed suit, creating its own live dealer technology in 2006. Two years later, in 2008, live casinos started becoming commonplace at online casinos and a few years later, in 2012, there were 140 online gaming sites offering live versions of table games. That’s an impressive increase of almost 1 000% in four years.
Evolution Gaming released the first live slot games in 2012, although live table games remain the most popular options at these casinos. Thanks to the advancement of modern technology and faster internet speeds, live casinos became more common over the years and is today one of the most common types of games found at the top online casinos.
How Live Dealer Games Work
Live casino games take place at actual land-based casinos around the world, which is set up by the online casino. The casino makes use of webcam technology to live stream videos of the games, which can be played in real-time. Due to the advanced technology, videos are streamed with no delay and any glitches that happen during the stream will be due to a players’ internet connection. Players will take a virtual seat at a live table game, which is run by a live dealer. Players can watch the action take place live with no interruption, zoom in and enjoy views of the entire table from the comfort of your home or while on the move. Many live casinos have their own dedicated studios while others are broadcast directly from affiliated land-based casinos.
Advantages of Playing Live Casino Games
There are many benefits to playing live dealer casino games. Firstly, you enjoy a real, authentic gaming experience wherever you are, whether it’s sitting on the couch or while on your lunch break, while you’re in the comfort of your home or while on the move. Secondly, there is no need to travel to a land-based casino to get a realistic gaming experience and experience the excitement of a live game.
There are also no operating hours, which means you can play whenever the mood strikes as these games run 24/7. Also, there is an added sense of security and trust among players when playing live as you can watch the dealer deal cards or spin the wheel in real-time as these games do not depend on random number generators. Finally, live casinos feature a social element lacking from standard online casino games as players can interact with each other and the dealer during gameplay.
Live Dealer Games
While the live dealer game selection is not as large as online casinos, there is a nice variety to keep players entertained and engaged for hours on end. The most common live casino games are blackjack, roulette and baccarat, although there is also sic bo, punto banco, casino hold’em, poker and more.
Live blackjack is the most popular game at live casinos. Live blackjack is either available in its classic seven-seat multiplayer setup or a version where a dealer deals to many different players. Live blackjack rules are the same as if you were playing at a land-based casino in that the cards are dealt by the dealer; you place a bet and aim to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over.
This was one of the first live dealer games available at live casinos. Typically, three versions of this game exist at live casinos, namely chemin de fer, punto banco and baccarat banque.
Live poker can be played as a group or just you and the dealer, whichever version you prefer. The same rules apply as traditional poker, although there is one difference in that blind bets alternate between the player and the dealer. Some popular live poker variations available at live casinos include Texas Hold’em, Casino Hold’em and Caribbean Stud Poker, to name a few.
Similar to traditional roulette, this live version lets players enjoy real-time action while spinning that reel and hoping for the best. The dealer takes the bets and spins the reel and the results are based on where the ball lands. There are some definite advantages to playing live roulette, including being able to see the outcome history charts, playing multiple tables at once and checking your betting history.
Live Sic Bo offers a truly immersive experience as you join the live action from the comfort of your home. This game was originally developed for the Asian market but has since become a popular option at online and live casinos. Live casinos typically offer the Westernised version of the game, which is just as exciting and rewarding as the original game.
Live Dealer Versus Online Casino Games
Online casino games, while completely fair, make use of Random Number Generators (RNGs) to ensure that all results are random with no outside influence or human intervention. Live dealer games, on the other hand, are played live, which means a dealer deals the cards, spins the wheel or rolls the dice, which means a real human being controls the game, much like in traditional casinos. That said, results remain fair and all games of chance, like roulette, are still based purely on the luck of the draw, or the spin. Below are some of the key differences between live dealer games and online casino games.
Live dealer games characteristics
- You get an authentic live gaming experience from the comfort of your home or mobile device
- Play alongside players from around the world; you get the social aspect lacking in online casino games
- Perfect for gamblers who are put off by the mechanics of online casino games
- A live dealer conducts proceedings, so the pace of the game is up to the dealer
Online casino games characteristics
- Usually feature a much larger range of games, which sometimes go into the hundreds and even thousands. There are far fewer live casinos games available at typical casinos
- A wider range of betting options means that these games cater to a broader range of players with different budgets
- Games can be played for free or real money, while dealer games do not have free versions
- More bonus and promotion opportunities
How We Rate the Best Live Dealer Casinos
We put a lot of time, effort and dedication into creating detailed, accurate and unbiased reviews on the latest and greatest online casinos and casino games. We thoroughly test and vet all our top recommendations to ensure that players enjoy only the best that iGaming has to offer. We want all gamblers to experience rewarding and successful gaming and as such, we consider the following factors when reviewing all casino sites.
When looking at the online casinos, we consider licensing, encryption certifications, software, external testing and more. The checklist we’ve put together ensures that all our bases are covered and that we do a complete test of the casino to check for safety and security. We also check what safety measures are put in place to protect players, for example, additional firewalls etc.
While we view banking with a fine-toothed comb, we also consider payouts. When playing and winning real money, you want to know that withdrawing will be hassle-free. The live casino must ensure its payouts are fast and efficient, with minimal delays.
Have 24/7 customer support is one thing, but are they responsive? We test the casino’s customer support team to ensure that they are on top of their game. We test all methods of contact, including live chat, telephone and email to ensure we have an accurate account of the responsiveness of the support team.
Live casinos are getting the mobile treatment and as such, we expect the best live casinos to work smoothly and seamlessly on smartphones and tablets. Live gaming on the go should work as well as its computer version and we test that the mobile casino is fully optimised and responsive, whether it’s instant or downloadable and its compatibility.
The best live dealer casinos should have a variety of games to choose from as well as wagers of all sizes. Live casinos typically offer live table games, although live video poker and live slots are available as well. The more diverse the game selection, the better.
Bonuses and offers
We check the bonuses and offers available as well as the T&Cs to make sure everything is fair, straightforward and above-board.
Live dealer games are powered by numerous top-tiered software providers, each of which brings something unique to the table. We check the software providers being used and ensure they have a reputation as a leading name in live dealer gaming. Not all software providers are equipped to produce live casino technology, so we must make sure that the appropriate software is used to complement a thrilling and realistic gaming experience.
Top Live Dealer Casino Software Providers
As mentioned above, there are a handful of top software providers who have either developed their own live casino technology in addition to regular online casino games or focusses solely on providing the ultimate live gaming experience. Here are some of the top names in iGaming, which we look out for when testing and reviewing our top sites:
Playtech is the pioneer of live casino gaming. Not only is it one of the largest online gambling software suppliers in the world, it created the first live dealer casinos in 2003 and this inspired other software providers to follow suit. They are an award-winning software provider who continues to push boundaries. Some of the live dealer games available from Playtech include Live Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette and Casino Hold’em Poker.
Evolution Gaming is one of the software providers that focuses exclusively on live casino games. This means that they are well equipped to provide the best possible gaming experience from the comfort of your home or while on the move. Many top live casinos are powered by Evolution Gaming and the company has several popular live games, including Blackjack, Roulette, Casino Hold’em, Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker.
NetEnt is another popular software provider among online casinos and live casinos alike. NetEnt Live is the brand’s live casino offering and produces excellent live versions of Roulette and Blackjack games.
Mobile Live Casinos
Live casinos are not just for those playing from their desktop or laptop computers. Thanks to modern technology, mobile players can also access the live casino wherever they are. Mobile technology has advanced so much in recent years that players can expect the same top-class gaming experience from all compatible mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets using Windows, iOS and Android operating systems.
In most cases, there is no need to download a casino app as you can instantly access the site from your web browser using the mobile version of the casino’s main site. This guarantees smooth and seamless gameplay, especially if the casino is powered by one of the above-mentioned software providers. Getting started is as easy as signing up and making a deposit, with the only real difference being the graphics will be scaled back slightly to fit the smaller screen of your mobile device.
Whether you choose to download the casino app (if available) or access the site instantly from your web browser, you can expect the same gaming experience that is immersive, efficient and convenient. It all comes down to personal preference.
Live Casino Bonuses
Bonuses are something offered by many online casinos as a way to attract new players and retain existing ones. Bonuses specific to live dealer games, however, are not as common as traditional bonuses as online casinos. Some operators will offer live casino bonuses, and in these cases, they are very lucrative and exciting and can include welcome offers and deposit bonuses.
Welcome bonuses are the most common type of casino bonus at online casinos and are designed to attract new players to the site by giving them a nice boost to their initial bankroll. Since live casinos require real money betting, live players will find these bonuses very helping for starting their journey with the site. Welcome bonuses usually take the form of deposit bonuses but some casinos offer no deposit bonuses as well.
Once you register to the live casino and make a deposit, you will be eligible to claim any bonuses on offer. Visit the promotions section of the casino to see what opportunities are available. For high rollers, you may have the chance to join the casinos VIP Club once you reach a certain level, which can be achieved by making deposits and earning loyalty points. That said, the VIP club is casino-specific and changes based on a particular casino’s preferences.
Top Tips for Choosing a Live Dealer Casino
Not all live casinos are created equal, although the same can be said about online casinos. The most important thing to remember when choosing a live casino is the online casino it is attached to and the software it uses. Most live casinos live within the lobby of an online casino, although some are stand-alone sites dedicated to the live gaming experience. Choosing where to play is based on what best suits you needs, although you should consider the following factors:
The live casino should have a nice variety of live table games available. As live casinos will never have as much variety as online casinos, there should still be a good range of table games including the classics like Blackjack, Roulette, some variations of the two and games like Baccarat and Poker. The number of games offered will depend on the software provider, but the best of these will have an assortment of games to choose from.
Software and appearance
As we mentioned above, the software is a deciding factor when choosing an online casino, not just for the gameplay and opportunities, but for the user experience as well. Check out how the tables are set up, how appealing the background looks and how friendly and engaging the dealer is. This will change the tone of the gameplay and you want an environment that is thrilling and upbeat. How the software looks and performs is also important but above all, you want to be playing at a live casino that is safe and secure, so choose software providers you can trust.
Minimum and maximum bets
In terms of betting, live casinos must offer a range of wagering options to suit all players. Most sites allow bets ranging from $5 – $100, although this is likely to vary between casinos. Some providers allow smaller and larger bets, but those are not as common. Make sure you know what you’re expected to bet before choosing a live casino as you may not be able to afford it.
Think about where you’re going to play. If it’s a desktop computer, you will likely get a top-class experience, although the best live casinos will be fully compatible with mobile devices as well. Newer or less established sites may still offer rudimentary mobile casinos, so decide if you prefer desktop or mobile gambling before making your decision.
Live casino gaming is on the up and up and many players are choosing this option for a more realistic and engaging gaming experience. While you can enjoy immersive gameplay at online casinos, live dealer games offer a live, social aspect that is as close to the real thing as possible. If live gaming is something you want to try, give it a go and enjoy a unique aspect to online gaming. As long as you’re playing at a safe, secure and trusted site, the experience will be as thrilling and rewarding as you’d get on a casino floor, with the added benefit of never having to leave your home thrown in as well.
FAQs for Live Casinos
✅ What are live dealer games?
Live dealer games are games available at live casinos. These games are played in real-time and run by a real-life dealer. You access the live game via advanced webcam technology from your computer or mobile device anywhere in the world and join the action from the comfort of your home. Think of it as a Zoom call, but for table games. Players can communicate with the dealer and other players, giving a unique social aspect that is lacking from standard online casino games. Live dealer games promise a realistic and immersive gaming experience that long-time gamblers will simply love while new players will experience some of the more interactive and live nuances that, until now, only land-based games could provide.
✅ What types of games are available at live casinos?
Typically, live casinos will offer a selection of table games to play for real money. The most popular of these include Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Caribbean Stud Poker, Casino Hold’em and more. The game variety will depend on the software provider, but most of the leading live casinos will have a good selection to choose from. These games should be available to play instantly or to download and should be available on desktop and mobile sites.
✅ What live dealer game is the most popular?
Blackjack and Roulette remain two of the most popular table games at land-based and online casinos, and live casinos are no different. These games are popular simply because of their reputation, but also because they are exciting, easy to learn and incredibly rewarding. Other popular live games include Baccarat and Poker games like Casino Hold’em.
✅ Can I play live casino games for free?
Not really, as most online casinos require you to make a deposit to play live dealer games. That said, a number of sites offer demo versions of the games, although these are few and far between. Your best bet is to join a reputable live casino after playing for free at the online casino. In this way, you get the experience you need before making any real money bets.