So you’re not sold on the whole random number generator (RNG) thing and want to play casino games online. You’ve heard about live dealer casinos – online casinos that stream vision of a real live dealer over a web cam and allow you to place real money bets via an accompanying bet interface. But before you rush out and sign up at the first live casino you find, just bear in mind this is not a generic offering.
True, at present the game range offered in live dealer format is limited. Typically only blackjack, roulette and/or baccarat are offered. Some casinos also have live sicbo. But if you spend some time researching the live dealer offerings of participating casinos you will soon find that they are quite different – even when considered on a game by game basis.
The first important fact to bear in mind is that, like RNG casino games, most live dealer casinos outsource the provision of their live deal and accompanying video stream and bet interface to a third party provider. In fact, some of the big RNG software developers have sought to take a slice of the live dealer market and offer this service to licensee casinos. Microgaming and Playtech are two examples of this. And just like their RNG games, the look and feel of their live dealer games differ substantially.
There are also specialist live dealer platform providers selling their wares to casinos. These guys concentrate purely on the live dealer format to the exclusion of any RNG games. Evolution Gaming is an example of a live dealer ‘pure play’ provider that is powering the live dealer games of a number large online casino operators including Victor Chandler, Gala Coral, Party Gaming, 888.com and Sportingbet to name a few.
Differences in platforms are considerable. The dealers, the bet interface, bet limits, time allowed between bets, US player policies and importantly, the quality of the video stream all differ substantially.
Evolution Gaming pride themselves on offering a television quality vide stream, with an interface dominated by a full screen video of the dealer and a small bet widget in the corner of the screen. Novel options like multiple screen views are available so you can actually change the orientation of the vision you are seeing. Considerable attention seems to have been paid to lighting and background ambience as well. This compares to the Playtech and Microgaming offerings that embed a smaller video stream into a bet interface dominated by a virtual graphic of the table.
And then there are the proprietary offerings, like Smart Live Casino, who manage their own live deal in house from a London based dealer studio. Their games are also available on dedicated Sky and Freesat channels in addition to a webcast at their website.
So take you time and shop around before registering an account.
By Milton Shaw
Milton Shaw is a staff writer at live dealer information site Live Casino Deal