The casino industry has progressed a long way during the 21st century, with technology powering significant changes within the sector.
Before the new millennium, if you wanted to play games such as roulette or blackjack, you most likely would have visited a land-based casino venue.
The arrival of the internet transformed the landscape, sparking a massive surge in the number of people who started to play online casino games.
Digital variants of all the popular games found favour with players across the world, helping the online gambling industry become a multi-billion-dollar business.
However, while online sites became hugely successful, the games lack the human element that is a feature of playing in brick-and-mortar venues.
For many players, the biggest thrill generated by traditional casino games is the opportunity to go head-to-head with a dealer or croupier.
Thankfully, many of the leading online casino operators have been quick to recognise this and have expertly leveraged modern technology to their advantage.
The addition of live casino games to their online offering has proved to be hugely successfully, with some operators reporting they now account for more than half of their annual revenue.
But why have they been such a big hit with players? Read on as we look at the differences between online casino and live casino games.
Traditional Vs Online Vs Live Casinos
As we mentioned earlier, visiting a land-based venue was the most common option available for people to play casino games before the turn of the millennium.
The arrival of online sites sparked a change in consumer habits, allowing players to play digital versions of their favourite games.
While this was undoubtedly an exciting development for the casino industry, many players still preferred land-based games to their online counterparts.
Advancements in video technology provided the perfect solution for iGaming operators, allowing them to introduce live casino games into the mix.
Live games effectively take the experience of playing in a land-based casino venue and recreate it within a digital environment.
How Live Casino Games Work
Many players believe that one of the biggest issues with online casinos is they are powered by random number generators (RNG), thus removing much of the skill element from the games.
Live casinos have addressed this problem by replicating the gameplay provided by brick-and-mortar establishments within a digital setting.
Each table has three cameras, optical camera recognition technology and a game control unit which allows for live games to be staged in a studio.
The action is streamed in real-time directly to a digital device, with instant messaging software used to allow for two-way communication between the player and the dealer or croupier.
Players can place bets in the same way they would in a traditional casino, and watch the outcome unfold on desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Why Are Live Casino Games Popular?
Several factors give live online games a significant edge over casino games played in traditional venues or the digital variants.
For players who love the human interaction of traditional casino games, live casinos are a hugely convenient alternative.
They mimic the gameplay experience of visiting a land-based venue, but have the added bonus that players can access them whenever they want.
Live games are available 24/7/365, so you can play at home, during your lunch break, on the train, on holiday or even in the bath.
Another element where live games have an advantage is in the skill stakes, particularly when compared to the digital versions.
Games powered by an RNG are by definition entirely random, a factor that largely negates a player’s ability to use proven casino strategies.
As live games are closely aligned to the traditional variants found in land-based venues, systems such as ‘basic strategy’ in blackjack are much more effective.
The Future of Casino Games
Land-based, online and live casino games will undoubtedly all have an important part to play in the industry over the coming years.
Visiting a brick-and-mortar casino venue still remains a popular entertainment activity for millions of people and that is unlikely to change any time soon.
Online casino games will also continue to corner a share of the market, particularly amongst players who enjoy shorter gaming sessions.
The biggest growth within the casino industry in the future will come from live games, with operators only scratching the surface of what is possible so far.
While some companies have invested significant resources into their live offering, it is fair to say that there is still plenty of scope for further expansion.
Some casino brands have paid lip service to live games, but that is likely change as more operators wise up to their ability to generate revenue.
Innovations such as virtual reality (VR) technology may also have an impact on live games, with the supporting hardware now capable of delivering a truly immersive experience.
Developers Evolution Gaming have already made great strides in this area, creating new VR casino games which have been a massive hit with players.
Some experts have forecast that VR could have a significant impact on the way major poker tournaments are played, thus creating further possibilities for the industry.
Live games are clearly the future where the casino sector is concerned, and it will be interesting to observe how things progress over the next few years.