Online casinos have come a long way since the mid 1990s when the first true Internet casino appeared. Those early online casinos were powered by random number generators and used state-of-the-art security protocols to keep hackers at bay. But there was one big thing missing that would have made them perfect: the ability to bring players face-to-face with real dealers in an authentic casino environment.
That was the idea behind live casino, and it seems to have worked. Now, we have the luxury of playing blackjack or roulette or baccarat in the comfort of our homes thanks to the innovative technology that allows us to connect with a live dealer via video link. It’s a bit like going back to the days when high street casinos were the place to go for an evening of glitz and glamour, only without the smoky smoke.
The live casino experience is offered by a variety of online casinos and can either be streamed directly from the brick and mortar version of a casino or from a dedicated studio designed for this purpose. Regardless of which option is chosen, the games are handled by professional dealers who undergo rigorous training to ensure they understand the rules and formats of popular casino games. Players can interact with the dealers and chat with them through an easy-to-use user interface that’s part of the game itself.
Using the same streaming technology as what makes it possible to watch sports games online, live casino streams are a real-time experience that lets players join in and participate in the action of a table game. There are also special cameras that focus on a specific area, for example, the table’s betting areas. The dealer’s screen shows them how many gamblers are participating in the game and their nicknames, which is great for boosting the community spirit and stimulating communication between players.
One of the main differences between live casino and regular online gaming is that all bets are made by the players themselves. This means that players can bet as much or as little as they wish, depending on their budgets. The dealer will then process the bets and announce the results of each round in the game. The winning bets will be awarded immediately and the losing ones will be deducted in a few seconds, all of this thanks to Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology that translates the symbols, numbers, and cards into data that can be sent out over the network and displayed on player screens.
There’s another piece of vital tech that’s needed to make a live casino work, and that’s the Game Control Unit or GCU. It’s not very large, no bigger than a shoebox, and it’s responsible for encoding the video signal to be sent over the network. It’s a crucial component of any live casino because it makes it possible to connect with the dealer and see the table in real-time.
The portfolio of games on offer in a live casino will vary by provider, but the majority of them will feature the golden trio that’s accessible in every land-based casino: blackjack, roulette and baccarat. The other options usually include poker, wheel of fortune and a few custom games that are exclusive to the provider.