The online casino market has been growing relentlessly for more than a decade, regardless of which metric you might choose to try and measure it. The biggest area of growth has been in the United States, which banned its citizens from making financial transactions with online gambling companies more than a decade ago, but it is far from alone in this respect. Strong regulation in many European countries has led to a huge increase in player numbers on the other side of the Atlantic, and there are dozens more countries which are just beginning to implement legislation to permit online gambling for the first time.
Trust has always been a sticking point for the online casino industry – how can a player feel sure that they are getting a fair game when they spend their money at an online gambling website? This solitary question has kept millions of potential players away from participating in online gambling for many years and has been a major driver to the creation and widespread adoption of “live dealer” online versions of the most popular card and table games.
What is a Live Dealer Game/Casino?
The first online casinos offered purely digital interpretations of the games you would typically find on the casino floor. Over the next few years these games would be upgraded many times, gaining better graphics, better user interfaces, and greater speed. Software companies would iterate on their games endlessly, but the question always remained – how can I feel confident in the outcomes I am seeing on the screen?
Regulation and licensing can play a big part in convincing the populace that your online casino is fair, but most people would still prefer to see a person spin the roulette wheel; they would still prefer to watch a person deal their cards. It sounded impossible to players in the early days of online casinos, but it wasn’t long before high quality sites such as the 32Red live casino online would offer their players this advantage.
Video streaming technology is used to permit players to see their dealer in real-time, with bets being placed via a typical online casino interface in between rounds. If players have any doubt about the fact they are participating in a live session, all they must do is tip their dealer a dollar or two – they can be sure of receiving a thank you shortly afterwards!
Which Games are available in Live Dealer Format?
Not every game is suitable for presentation in a live dealer format. Many land-based casino attractions such as slot machines and video poker are already completely digital, so there is nothing to be gained by trying to add a human into experiences such as these.
Traditional casino games are ideally suited to the live dealer format – table games such as roulette, for example, or card favorites such as blackjack, let it ride, and baccarat. All these games have proven to be extremely popular in every corner of the world when offered in this mode authentic of styles. Some online casinos are hoping to increase adoption even further in the future by adding support for virtual reality headsets and wearable devices.
How Popular are Live Dealer Casino Games?
Looking at the entire worldwide online casino industry, the market has increased in size every year for over a decade, but it can be difficult to accurately gauge what percentage of this growth can be attributed to the growth of live casino tables and games. The most accurate data currently available suggests that casino games account for roughly a quarter of global revenues in the financial year 2019-2020, which translates to around $15 billion in total.
Slot machines represent the far largest chunk of profits for both land-based and online casinos, but this fact alone does not tell the whole story. Slot machines have a far larger house edge than traditional casino games such as those which are popular in the live dealer format, so it is expected to see much lower revenue figures for these games in comparison to profit-boosting slot machines.
When live dealer format games are compared against purely digital variants at the same betting site, the difference is stark – live dealer tables create far more revenue than their digital counterparts, even though live dealer tables will almost always proceed at a much slower pace.
The faster action offered by those purely digital games does attract a significant percentage of players, however. This is particularly apparent in countries where strong regulation and licensing laws have created a high level of trust between online casinos and their customer base, a situation which American casinos should look to emulate as quickly as possible.