It’s just like its sounds – live dealer casino gaming using real, human dealers who are live-streamed to your device. You get all of the benefits of playing in a ‘real’ (land-based) casino, but from the comfort of your own home.
Plus, you get the added benefits of an online casino – the bigger bonuses, top-notch software and a lot of game variety. Live Dealer gaming has often been described as the most cutting-edge of all casino games, and it’s only becoming more advanced as it grows in popularity.
Live casino sections at online casinos usually offer a range of familiar table games, just played live against a human dealer, such as:
It’s a good question – they’re so hi-tech, that it can be tricky to understand just how a good Live Game comes together to become the end product you see and enjoy playing.
It’s actually a pretty simple process, even if it sounds complicated. Much like other casino games, software providers design the games – but instead of just producing a standard, say, slot game, they go a little further: they employ professionally-trained croupiers and dealers, then create a special studio built to look like a real casino lounge. They train the croupiers and dealers to work in these studios, speaking to specially-designed and equipped cameras.
The cameras then live stream to each casino operator, via HD link, and in real-time. And that’s where players get to meet them, by choosing a Live Game to play.
The casino site handles all of your player bets, wins, losses and otherwise, in real-time. You can easily chat with the dealers via the live chat button in each game, and they’re usually available 24/7.
Of course, while Live Dealer games will give you a taste of playing at a real casino, it’s still not quite the same experience as actually being in a real casino lounge!
Here’s a quick comparison of the two:
|Live Casino||Land-Based Casino|
|Game range||Usually more variants available at a Live Casino than in land-based casinos, as there's no need to think about physical space!||Usually only a few types of table games, and a few tables, as (lack of) physical space is an important factor.|
|Bonuses||Usually bigger and more regular, since online casinos have lower overheads.||Fewer and farther between - land-based casinos have a lot of overheads to cover.|
|Casino experience||You lose a bit of the casino experience - while you’re interacting with a dealer (and possibly other players), all it takes is for you to look above your device and be reminded that you're not in a casino.||You get the all-immersive experience, complete with cocktail waitresses, surround sound and flashing lights.|
|Location||Anywhere you want it to be - just fire up your device, choose a game and start playing.||Specific locations, which might not always be accessible (or even legal). These can be hard to get to.|
|New games and upgrades||Software providers are constantly innovating new and exciting games, as well as ways to upgrade the current player experience.||Casinos are unlikely to change a winning formula, meaning in-person casino gaming will stay the same for a while - upgrades to tables, or bringing new tables and games is an expensive, difficult and time-wasting process.|
When sourcing the best Live Dealer sections to recommend to you, we look for the following criteria as a starting point:
Any online casino worth knowing about will have a solid range of Live Games – but this can be a pretty wide range.
Wholesome online casinos might offer a Live games lobby, or even specific ones for Live Blackjack and Live roulette, other casinos will give you the option of sometimes up to 100 variants. These will all be variants of one type of game – for example – Blackjack – with a range of different rules per variant. So you might see 50 Live Blackjack variants that include American Blackjack Live, French Blackjack Live, Super Fun 21 Blackjack Live and more.
Ultimately, it’s up to you as a player to decide whether you want a really massive (100+) range of Live Games to choose from, or if up to 10 will do for you.
Every online casino will offer you some kind of welcome bonus – but, as a Live Casino fan, you need to know whether or not that bonus will apply to the Live Games you want to play.
Some casinos – such as 32Red Casino – even offer new players a Live Casino welcome bonus to play with.
Although it’s rare nowadays, not every Live Game on offer at casinos will be available to play via their mobile site or dedicated apps. They mostly are, but it’s always worth it to check the mobile-readiness of a casino’s Live section, if you’re interested in playing there before you commit.
While most software providers are really great at producing amazing games like slots and other table games, there are a few really exceptional software providers who specialise in Live Dealer games, and whom you should be on the watch for:
|Play for||Need to know|
|Evolution Gaming||Standard and VIP tables available |
Real-time gaming stats available
Multi-game play mode
|They're the most popular provider by far - could be a bit samey if you're looking for something a bit different|
|NetEnt Live||iOS and Android devices supported |
Excellent UX and graphics
|Only Blackjack and Roulette variants - no other games on offer|
|Playtech||Native tables in several languages available |
Range of games available
Multiple gaming licenses
|Not as popular as other providers|
|Microgaming||Good range for games on offer |
Stranger variants available - e.g., Playboy-licensed dealers
A founding member of eCOGRA
|Only English-speaking dealers on offer|
One other thing to mention – because Live Games rely on live streaming technology, just as with other streaming sites, you can occasionally notice a drop in quality, and maybe even some minor lagging at peak times (like evenings and weekends).
This has been getting better over the years, as the live-streaming technology has become more powerful, but it’s still something to be aware of. You can remedy this by playing with a good internet connection, and a speedy device (this isn’t the time to use an old, clunky device, because it will only slow your gaming connection down).
There’s also a slight difference between the providers when it comes to image quality. While every provider strives to bring you the best quality of image overall, each and every time, it’s Evolution Gaming (the industry leader for a reason) which offers you the best, clearest images. The other providers come close but, but don’t do this as well as Evolution Gaming.
Additionally, some players report that both Playtech and NetEnt Live games have visuals that are a tad dated in comparison to the likes of Evolution Gaming. This is more of a stylistic choice, and really, shouldn’t affect your gaming experience (unless you’re really into aesthetics!).
Lastly, but definitely not least, the security of players accessing a live stream is incredibly important.
But actually, it’s not really that different to playing any online casinos game – and the good news is, you’re fully covered.
Any online casino we recommend has to abide by strict regulations if they want to operate – and Live Casinos are a part of these operator gaming sites. Casinos have to register and be regulated by a recognised licensing body, such as the United Kingdom Gambling Association, as well as clearly display a Responsible gambling policy.
Most online casinos also link to a range of Responsible Gambling organisations, such as GamCare and GamStop, proving their commitment to player safety. Every online casino with strict regulation will also have SSL encryption across their site, keeping your player data completely safe and encrypted form any wannabe hackers.
Although each Live Casino game is very different from one another, and usually follows the exact same rules as their non-Live equivalents, there are some things you can do to help your gaming experience be fun, rewarding and safe!
These are games that put you in contact with a real, human, dealer, who’s doing their job in a fully-kitted out authentic casino somewhere around the world. They are being beamed to you via HD live link.
It feels like you’re playing at a real land-based casino, just from your device, and likely in your own home. It makes for a more sociable and interactive version of traditional table games, and it’s a really interesting player experience to have.
It really depends on each individual casino, but mostly you’ll find a range of variants of –
It’s really up to the casino as to which Live Games they provide for their players, as well as the variants of these games they have on offer.
By far, Blackjack and Roulette are the most popular of all Live Games (just as they are table games). You can bet that any online casino with a Live Gaming section will have at least a few variants of Live Roulette and Live Blackjack, with really great sections having a range of Live Baccarat, Live Poker, Live Sic Bo and more. It’s up to you to do a little research before signing up to an online casino to see which games are on offer.
Not at all – just the regular device that you play online casino from! Whereas in the past, not every mobile casino site could stream live games, that is thankfully, in the past. Most Live Games are now accessible from casino apps and mobile sites.
Interestingly, the software providers powering the Live Games actually develop special cameras and more for their croupiers and dealers to play ‘to’, and from which they use to interact with you during a live stream.
The answer is – possibly. While most casinos don’t offer you free demos of Live Games (because they’re very expensive to make, what with all of the specially-trained staff, casino sets and especially-developed technology), so they’ll only allow you to play if you’re doing so for real money.
Having said that, there are a few casinos that do allow you to demo games, but these are few and far between. Remember, you can still play a free table game version of each Live Game – just against the computer – at almost every online casino you like.
Each game – just like any game offered at the online casinos we recommend to you – are independently tested by bodies like eCOGRA and GLi. Casinos often have these organisations’ logos in their footer, showing you that all of their games are fair, trustworthy and safe to play.
You’re not expected to, and at some providers’ games – such as Evolution Gaming – tipping is completely banned. However, if you can tip a croupier or dealer, and feel that they’ve done a fantastic job, then by all means feel free to tip – the dealer will surely appreciate it!
You’re welcome to, and encouraged to. Just use the chat function and type in your questions or comments – they’ll respond by speaking while they deal. This is probably the best thing about playing a Live Casino game- that you have the option of real, human and live interaction. Just remember to be polite and respectful to your dealer and to other players too.