Online casino games have been introduced in the mid-1990s as a response to the proliferation of the internet. While they were seen as a novelty by many, they became extremely popular, not to mention a true innovation engine always seeking to offer better services to their players.
The only major problem with online casinos was that they were impersonal. As opposed to a real-life casino, where players can sit face to face with a dealer, in online casinos, everything is done through a graphical user interface. That until the first live casinos were introduced.
Live dealer games
The idea of live casino games has emerged in the late 1990s – but the internet infrastructure was not ready for them at the time. In the mid-2000s, though, the time was ripe for them to emerge. One of the first developers to launch a live dealer game was Evolution Gaming, offering classics like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. Since then, a bunch of other companies emerged, ranging from the EA Casino Live platform from EA Gaming, aimed especially at Asian markets, to Ezugi, recently acquired by Evolution, with studios in Eastern Europe and South America.
Live dealer games now cover the classic casino games like blackjack and roulette but also a range of novel gaming ideas, including game shows, lotteries, bingo, and even virtual reality gaming experiences like Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt.
How do live dealer games work?
“Traditional” online casino games run on the casino software providers’ servers, with their graphical user interface being presented to the players. They use audited and regulated random number generators – pieces of software built to ensure the randomness (as in fairness) of the game.
In the case of live casinos, the random number generation is handled the same way traditional, brick-and-mortar casinos do it: manually. A dealer sits in front of a gaming table, dealing the cards from a shoe or spinning the roulette wheel or, in some cases, spinning the Wheel of Fortune or extracting numbers from a drum. The action is then streamed live to the players who follow all the action via live streaming from their homes or smartphones, whichever the case might be.
But there’s a tricky part. These live dealer games have a digital interface for placing bets, similar to the one in a traditional, RNG-powered online casino setting. After all, there’s no use in streaming a gaming table if the players can’t wager on it, right? To take care of this, live casinos attach a game control unit to every table being streamed live – this is the device that monitors the state of the game, captures the cards on the table or the slot in which the roulette ball stops, and transmit the results to the computers handling the wagers from the players. Based on the data transmitted by these GCUs, the casino software registers the results of the games and pays out any winnings to the players automatically.
Live dealer casinos are an innovative and ingenious piece of technology successfully merging the personal touch of a traditional casino with the accessibility and convenience of an online casino. No wonder it has become one of the most beloved forms of gambling online.