Live casinos are getting bigger and better by the day and one of the main reasons for our passion for live dealer games is that there are new live lobbies opening up every day for New Zealand players. If we would need to recommend one gaming category at KiwiGambler it would undoubtedly be the live dealer lobby as this is the main place for New Zealand gamblers to find the ultimate experience.
With the introduction of video streaming services and the increasing distribution of high quality internet connections, online operators can now virtually offer the same experience players are used to in land based casinos. Interestingly, players can expect winnings that are comparable or often even bigger to brick and mortar venues. Still, live casinos are taken for granted by most online visitors, but the technology behind them is actually quite something. For all of you who’ve been wondering how this works, here’s an inside look.
Interactiveness of live casinos
What makes live dealer casinos so thrilling is that the games are run in real-time by a human dealer and players are able to take part in the game which is made possible via a live stream from either a studio or casino floor. In case that players have questions or need help or assistance, live chat is among the available functions, while croupiers also guide players through the game by making verbal announcements. The physical transactions made by the dealer are translated into data used by software called Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which is one of the different technologies integrated into the game. The latter enables the player to take part in the casino action making it feel like he or she is surrounded by a land based casino environment. The outcomes of the games offered in live casinos are determined by human action instead of an automated RNG-process.
Staff and technology
Despite being taken for granted among users, live dealer games require operators to make a significant investment in both staff and technology. A typical live dealer casino studio employs a cameraman, an IT-manager, a pit boss, and dealers that master different games and languages. The higher expenses related to the live dealer casinos are therefore among the main reasons for the lower number of games on offer. Most of the NZ casinos feature games like Roulette, Blackjack, and Baccarat available in addition to the newest generation of game shows. In comparison, the cost of running regular RNG games is a lot lower. This is also why live dealer casinos don’t offer free casino games and players are required to make real money casino bets. It also explains why there are less live promos. Live dealer casinos are expensive to run, but they are definitely worth it.
Technology used live casinos
A live dealer casino consists of at least three rooms. The first room generally comprises a live dealer studio, the second one is meant for a software room, and there is usually also an analyst room at most live casinos. The exact setup may vary from operator to operator.
As you will understand by now, cameras play a major role in the streaming service of live games. Thanks to the latest technological breakthroughs it has become possible for smaller but powerful cameras to be used for live feed streaming. Any game works with multiple cameras that give an overview of the table, while there are separate cameras that show the action on a wheel or table and there are also dedicated cameras that zoom in and out. Most cameras show the action in HD, while some providers have started with 4K. A lot of devices of players are still not able to deal with 4K making the introduction of 5K not very likely for the time being.
Game Control Unit (GCU)
The Game Control Unit (GCU) is one of the most important parts of the live casino. Every live dealer table has a GCU attached to it. The device fits into a shoebox and its goal is to encode the video that is broadcasted. Although the GCU’s size is rather small, its role is crucial. The GCU is what we would call the expert assisting the croupier while he or she runs the game. Every live game needs the GCU to function.
Depending on the game, the live casino room might include a wheel as well, which is typically the case for roulette games, but also for Wheel of Fortune-games, and other game shows. The latter category has become increasingly popular in recent years, giving players a real show, focusing on entertainment and fun. Like live dealer casinos, game shows were also introduced by Evolution and many manufacturers of live casino configuration and/or game wheels work with integrated sensors in the wheels while the casino software interacts with them and makes sure that prizes get awarded and players make their wins. These winnings are then added to a player’s casino balance.
As mentioned above, croupiers are mainly responsible for handling the game. The idea behind the dealer’s role is that the ambiance of a land based casino floor is brought to the player’s screen. Ideally, players shouldn’t feel a big difference between an online setting and an authentic game as played in a brick and mortar venue. This also means that the average dealer is experienced, socially skilled, and should make you feel as welcome as in any land based casino. Every dealer gets trained for the live dealer action as there are some differences with handling the game as in a real casino. Live dealer casino croupiers aren’t always interchangeable for dealers from a land based casino, while the opposite is also true. Modern technologies make it possible for every dealer to be tracked with a smart card.
The monitor shows what online users see on their screens, including desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile casinos. Most cameras work with so-called “blind spots” that make it possible to avoid being shown in the action, but most dealers and elements involved in a live game are continuously shown on the screen of all players that have joined the table. The presence of a monitor in the game is crucial to the dealers as well as it urges them to take action when needed and enables them to keep track of the bets that can be placed and those that can be closed. The monitor also allows the dealer to see a list of the users who are online. Although dealers can be seen via a camera, players at home aren’t shown to the dealer, nor to other players that joined the table. As mentioned earlier, players and dealers can communicate via a live chat box making it still possible to share thoughts.
Optical Camera Recognition (OCR)
Optical Camera Recognition (OCR) is one of the main reasons live dealer casinos were introduced as they have been successfully integrated into the studios and, thus the games. In a nutshell, this is the technology that records every detail in the gaming room and allows it to be streamed to users that have joined the action via a video link. This way, players can go ahead and place their bets via a console on their computer screen. In case of any help or assistance needed, a live chat operator is also available. The OCR allows the whole process to be transformed into data in electronic format. This is done by capturing every action, including the shuffling of the cards, the rolling of the dice, and the spinning of the wheel, which makes the generall process of playing a live dealer casino game similar to that found in land based casinos.
So what does the player need to join the action?
This brings us to a grasp of the elements which are needed to get involved into the action from a player’s perspective. Players will need a reliable internet connection and a device that can handle the action that is usually streamed in HD. Most modern smartphones will do the trick, while a Wifi connection is always advised instead of a mobile connection to join a live table at a new casino. In emerging countries, live dealer casinos are therefore less popular than in developed nations, explaining why not everyone is yet familiar with live dealer games. With most people in NZ having both access to high quality devices and internet, this shouldn’t be a problem for players that are based in New Zealand. In order for players to join the live dealer action it is always recommended to make use of a casino bonus as a live dealer always expects the player to make a real money wager. For the same reason KiwiGambler also advises its players to learn the game rules for your preferred live dealer game. Make sure to enjoy the fun and always play responsibly.