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Live and Online: The Best of Both Worlds

Live casinos offer real life dealers conveniently streamed online.
Photo by Bagogames / CC BY 2.0 Live casinos offer real life dealers conveniently streamed online.

It may seem like online casinos have been around forever, but the fact is they are only 20-years-old. From the first online poker room, Planet Poker, back in 1998, the industry has grown to over 600 different sites, with hundreds of thousands of players online at any one time. The industry is on course for a $1 trillion turnover, but the future is not about scale. It’s also about sophistication, too.

Online Advantage

We all know why online casinos are so popular. You can play when and where you want, without any of the hassle and expense of a night out at a brick-and-mortar casino. You can play a few hands on the train to work, spin the roulette wheel during your coffee break or even play in your pajamas when you can’t sleep.

However, while online casinos are convenient, they can sometimes feel like more of a video game than a real casino experience. We all know that the online casino algorithms are fair and honest, but you don’t quite feel at the mercy of the cards or the wheel in the same way as you do playing live. It isn’t the same.

Live Casinos

To counter this feeling of disconnect, many casinos are now offering live play, which gives you the best of both worlds. You can still play when you like, from the comfort of your couch, but now, you are served by a live dealer using real cards, spinning a real roulette wheel or throwing real craps dice. The dealer and the game are streamed live, in real time, while you place your bets in much the same way as any other online casino game.

You get the same excitement of watching the pack or willing the ball to drop into the right slot, just like in a real casino, along with all the advantages of playing online. You also get the chance to interact with the dealers and croupiers, making it a much more immersive experience. The top online casinos have gone to great lengths to recreate the real deal, and you’ll be surprised at how close to the authentic casino experience these live games can get.

You cancelebrate a virtual win at your favorite casino without leaving the house
Photo public domain, no attribution required / CC0 1.0 You cancelebrate a virtual win at your favorite casino without leaving the house.

Virtual Casinos

Of course, for the best blend of an online casino convenience and the thrills of the brick-and-mortar casino floor, you need to step up to virtual reality (VR). Viewed by most industry watchers as the future for online gaming, it is easy to see why. The best systems provide an immersive casino experience, with all the lights, sounds and atmosphere of the real thing.

Using a headset such as an Oculus Rift or the Samsung Gear, you can step out onto the casino floor as convincingly as if you had flown to Las Vegas yourself. VR adds all those little trimmings like having a favorite slot machine in your favorite spot or a familiar, friendly table that you always play. It also lifts the experience from a video game to a feeling like a full-on casino visit that is so much more fun.

Getting Started with Live and Virtual Casinos

Unfortunately, live and virtual casinos both need good Wi-Fi and internet connections for you to get the most out of them. If your home broadband is a little temperamental or if you share the signal with your teenagers and their incessant social media, then it can be frustrating as the streaming dealer comes and goes. You’ll also need to invest in some extra technology, especially if you want to go virtual. That said, VR headsets are coming down in price as quickly as it is their quality and capability are going up, so finding that joining Parzival and friends in the world of “Ready Player One” is more affordable than you think.

Some people worry that the rise in online casinos and the advances in technology, such as live dealers and VR, will mean the death of the brick-and-mortar version, but it could work the other way. With more competition from the internet, real casinos will have to up their game to attract players with better facilities, better deals and better service instead of resting on their laurels as the only game in town. That means that everyone will be a winner no matter how they choose to play.