There’s no question about it. Online casinos have come a long, long way since they first started appearing in the 1990s.
In the early days they were what even their biggest fans would have described as being very basic. There were few games and the visual styling was similar to the earliest versions of video games.
But technology marched on and more and more tools became available to enhance the playing experience. So sites started to feature increasing numbers of the very popular slots games and table games like roulette, blackjack and baccarat also became more engaging.
Throughout the relatively short history of the online casino one aspect has been a particular driving force – to recreate the “authentic” casino ambience and experience as closely as possible.
It was really only with the advent of the smartphone that this became a real possibility in the form of the live casino. And, now it’s here and well-established, it’s proving to be even more popular than might ever have been predicted.
So what is the “live” casino?
Like the name suggests, with a live casino the action is all real. Players can play a number of games that are being run by live dealers in real time with the action streamed to their PC or mobile device.
The action takes place in a studio where there are a number of gaming tables set up, just as there would be in a real casino. This means that when you play you can hear sounds of other games being played in the background, just as you would in a “bricks and mortar” casino.
There is even the option to chat online to the dealer which lends an even greater feeling of authenticity.
The tech that makes it possible
There are a number of elements that make the live casino possible. The most important of these is a device that can convert the physical into the digital, enabling the game in question to be played online.
In the case of card games, the dealer passes each card over a scanner as they deal it. Working in the same way that ANPR cameras in car parks do, this digitizes the information. In the case of roulette, the device acts in the same way, this time identifying which number the ball has landed in.
Typically, there are three cameras focused on the action which cut between different shots to heighten the drama. In some live casinos players even have the option of choosing which view they would like to have.
The action is then live streamed to the many players who can enjoy playing the games simultaneously – far more than would ever be able to fit in a real casino at the same time.
Why so popular?
There are many reasons why the live casino experience has proved to be so very popular, over and above the popularity of online casinos in general.
- The atmosphere
The first time you experience the live casino you will sense, almost immediately, that you’re in an exciting and authentic ambience. Wearing headphones can increase this even more and help you to feel that you really are caught up in the action with the closest of links to the dealer running the particular game. This is further enhanced by the sounds of all the other games going on in the background.
- The sheer choice of games
The most common games that you’ll find in live casinos are the big three – roulette, blackjack and baccarat. But, within these, there are a wide number of variations to choose from. Some accept lower stakes than others and there are certain games that are played more quickly.
For players who want an altogether different playing experience, many live casinos also offer “wheel of fortune”- type games which are fun to dip in and out of between the more serious business of trying to take on the dealer at the card table.
Online casinos with automated games have always faced the issue of trying to replicate the randomness of the real world in digital form. To do this they have had to use a piece of software called a random number generator which can closely recreate the way a roulette ball falls or the way that cards are dealt.
While online casinos are frequently checked to make sure that the games really are random, some players simply prefer to rely on the genuine randomness of the live casino.
- The human touch
Closely linked to this is the sense of the human touch that is inherent in the live casino experience. By knowing that a real dealer is in charge of the action, it makes playing an altogether more authentic experience.
Many players also find that they get to have favourite dealers whose games they like and whose tables they prefer to play at. Often, when joining a table, the dealer will acknowledge your arrival and wish you good luck.
This all adds to the feeling of connection that simply may not be there with purely automated games.
So it all adds up to a fairly compelling set of reasons why the live casino has taken off to the extent that it has.
And, with the ever-growing use of virtual reality, not to mention the speed and capacity of 5G networks, the live casino experience is set to become even more exciting – and many casino fans just can’t wait!