Some facts about live online casinos...for enquiring minds
Want to know how, who, why, where and what... about all things live gambling? I don't blame you. If I was told I could play casino games dealt by a real dealer with real cards in real time who was sitting at a blackjack table on the other side of the world I'd want some answers too. The below isn't a definitive guide, but it does offer a pretty good insight as to how the games work and who the main players in the industry are.
How do the games work?
OK so you've registered a playing account at your chosen live casino and you click the 'PLAY NOW' button to launch the game. What you will be confronted with is a user interface allowing you to participate in the game (bet chips etc) and a video insert with vision of a (usually very attractive) dealer dealing the game. She's sitting in a dealer studio that is purpose built to capture both game vision, and state of play data (ie what card was just dealt? what pocket did the roulette ball land in?) and deliver it all to your PC so you can participate in the game as it happens...from the other side of the world! The above image provides a diagrammatic representation of how this happens.
It's worth noting that in most cases the games are actually being run by a third part platform provider (ie not the online casino). The dealer studio where the games take place, where all delivery technology (scanners, cameras etc) is housed, and where the dealers go to work each day is owned/operated by the platform provider. If you ever log on and play live games at two different online casinos (say Unibet and 888.com) and notice you are seeing the same dealers, this is because both these casinos license live games from the same platform provider (Evolution Gaming).
Who are the casinos, who are the platform providers?
We've listed a bunch of well known live casinos here including their platform provider. Below is a more complete list
|Playtech||bet365 | William Hill | Betfair | BetFred | 21Nova | EuroGrand|
|Evolution Gaming||888 | Unibet | Victor Chandler | Party Casino | Betsson | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power | William Hill|
|Microgaming||AllSlots | Royal Vegas | Canbet|
|Vuetec||Dublinbet | Lucky Live|
|Visionary iGaming||Fairway | Castle | Celtic|
|Smart Live Gaming||Smart Live Casino|
|EntwinTech (Entertasia)||Bodog88 | Victor Chandler* | 888*|
|Global Gaming Labs||5Dimes|
* only available to Asian region players
Where do the games physically take place?
As noted above, all the action happens at the platform providers' premises (or in the case of Vuetec's games, at an actual casino). The dealer studios are located all over the world...the below image pinpoints a few of them.
The larger dealer studios in terms dealer/table numbers and also players serviced, are those operated by Evolution Gaming and Playtech, both in Latvia. At the time of writing Evolution Gaming employed a dealer staff of almost 400.
Do you play for real money?
Yes. You fund your casino account using credit card or various virtual wallet services (PayPal etc) and play for real money.
Can you try the games for free?
At some casinos, yes. Although the majority do not allow free play. For free games, visit our list of free-play live casinos.
Can you tip the dealer?
At most live casinos, yes. Simply drag one of your chips to the tip slot. And yes, the dealer you tip gets the tip (generally they are not pooled).
Can I chat to the dealer?
At most live casinos, yes. Your game interface has a chat window where you type your message and the dealer responds either verbally (most cases) or by typing back (a couple of older platforms).
Do I need a fast connection speed?
As a general rule you want a connection that's faster than 1Mbps to be able to play the games without any discernable deal lag or video freeze framing. You can check your actual connection speed at one of a number of free testing services like Speedtest.net
In the event of a dispute with the casino what are my avenues of recourse?
Contact the casino's licensing authority and follow their dispute resolution procedure.
What games are available?
Blackjack, roulette, baccarat, sicbo, mahjong paigow, poker. Different casinos offer different games and game variations, If you're looking for a particular game start at our live games page.
If it's not real cards, real wheels, real balls, real dice,
then it's just not real random.
Live casino gambling is a relatively new online phenomenon...and it's developing fast! Check out this month's latest updates HERE