A Detailed Guide to Live Online Casinos
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There’s no doubt about it, playing at an online casino is an exciting experience. No more so than when you play live games. What can beat the thrill of watching the ball spin round the roulette wheel in real-time, waiting for it to drop into your number’s slot? It really gets the adrenaline pumping. You get all the exhilaration of a real land-based casino from the comfort of your home. But with so many online casinos offering live dealer games, how do you go about choosing the best one? Well that’s where we can help. We’ve played and assessed the bulk of live online casinos and chosen the cream of the crop for you to take your pick from. There’s 3 vital elements to take into consideration when you’re looking for a quality live dealer casino:
- Live Game Selection – how many games, tables and betting limits are available?
- Live Streaming Video Quality – is the quality of the video HD and does it run smoothly?
- Live Dealers – are the dealers friendly and helpful?
With these 3 factors in mind, we have selected the casinos which provide the best live experience around. Read on to find out what makes these live casinos so good. We’ll also provide you with a comprehensive guide to live dealer casinos, so that you can really get the most out of them.
The Best Live Casinos for UK Players
Looking for the best live games provider can be a real challenge, given that nowadays almost every online casino offers them. But once you find those top casinos, you are in for a rewarding experience. The best live casinos will offer many tables to play at, more than one variation of the classic casino games and different bonuses and rewards for players. This is why 888 Casino beats the competition hands down.
- 1. 888 Casino Play Now! 888 Casino Review £100 Bonus Best game selection Higher table limits £88 free play
- 2. William Hill Casino Play Now! William Hill Casino Review £300 Bonus Best video quality Various table limits Rich bonus offers
- 3. Eurogrand Casino Play Now! Eurogrand Casino Review £1000 Bonus 3D View Great game selection VIP offers
888 Casino has won numerous awards for the services they provide, like ‘Best Casino of the Year’ and ‘Responsible Operator of the Year’, so the high quality of their live online casino games comes as no surprise. With another award-winning software provider like Evolution Gaming, all you have to do to make this the live casino experience of your life is sit back and enjoy the ride. Next on our list, and might I add not far behind, is William Hill Casino. Here you can try your luck at their Three Card Poker tables or get a little extra with Blackjack Sidebets. And what is there to say about Eurogrand Casino, another one of our favourites? Well, on top of the very generous welcome bonus of up to £1000, just one look at those pretty dealers will give you a real casino feel. If you have already chosen your favourite one, you can learn more about her on their ‘Meet the Dealers’ page.
How do Live Dealer Casino Games Work?
Before ever having played a live dealer game, I used to wonder how they work, whether or not they are legit and what makes them so different from the classic games that online casinos offer. So, I will give you an overview of the two categories of live games – those filmed in special studios and those streamed from land-based casinos. Although many differences can be found between the two types of games, the most important feature that they share is the lack of computer-generated results, as all games are handled by real dealers.
Live Casino Online – Streaming from Land-based Locations
There are very few operators that actually offer and stream games from land-based casinos, where you can play alongside people seated at the tables. However appealing that may sound, there are some drawbacks to this kind of live game streaming, like bet limits, the smaller number of games and tables and of course, the quality of the video. Nevertheless, you can understand how playing online on one of the tables from Fitzwilliam Casino & Card Club in Dublin can incite a higher level of trust and authenticity. Here are the advantages of playing real-time action games from land-based casinos:
- play live dealer games in famous casinos across Europe
- players on the tables assure a real-casino experience
- higher level of authenticity of the games
So far, the only software provider that offers games and video-streaming from real life land-based casinos is VueTec.
Why Video Streaming from Studios is so Much Better
The most common way for live games providers to bring you land-based casino excitement right in the comfort of your home is using specially designed studios. There are numerous advantages to using dedicated studios, instead of streaming from a land-based one and the most important one is that they are as user-friendly as it gets. Also, with numerous camera angles and enlarged playing cards, this will make you feel like you are, indeed in a real casino.
Advantages of playing studio live casino online games are:
- Around the clock open tables and real-time action
- Huge selection of games, tables and bet limits
- More camera angles, better decisions
- Communication with the dealers and other players
- HD quality live video streaming
To be honest, in the beginning little did I know that playing online in a land-based casino could be less rewarding than playing at tables in dedicated studios. Just take the video streaming quality, while the action in land-based casinos will be transmitted to you by one or two cameras situated way up on the ceiling, studios offer numerous angles on HD cameras, with zoom and replay functions along with many others.
But what both types of Live Casino UK games have in common is the human element, which means that all the outcomes of the offered games are natural, with no automated processes and RNG (Random Number Generator). All the results of physical transactions – a spin on the Roulette, a hand on the card tables and so on, are translated into data which will be used by the casino software with the help of OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
The Most Popular Online Live Casino Software Providers
Although there are numerous companies that develop the software, in the following table you can find the best live dealer games providers and a short description of each one of them.
Evolution Gaming is, without a doubt, the king when it comes to live gaming online. Founded in 2006, Evolution Gaming has over 3500 employees and is regulated by LGA Malta. Also, this was the first European company to receive the eCOGRA Certified Live Dealer Seal.
Playtech, a renowned software provider was founded in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2006 that they included Live dealer casino games in their portfolio. An active member of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), Playtech is even traded at the London Stock Exchange, with the highest value of 847.50 pence per share.
Microgaming was founded in 1994 and, the very same year, introduced the first online casino software. Based in the Isle of Man, the company has offered live casino games since 2005. Licensed by The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, Microgaming’s online casino live games have been approved by eCOGRA’s Seals Compliance Committee in 2008.
Although based in Luton, UK, VueTec‘s story started in Sydney, Australia in 1999. It was then that the founder, Donald Bursill put together a team with the idea of creating the first live video streaming connection. And they did, in 2002. VueTec undergoes annual audits by eCOGRA and Gaming Associates.
Given that Global Gaming Labs not only has its headquarters in, but is also licensed by the regulatory body in San Jose, Costa Rica, it is more appropriate for the Latin American, rather than the European market. Nevertheless, they also offer the most common live online casino games in HD video streaming and full-screen mode.
Net Entertainment was founded in 1996 and is traded today at the Stockholm Stock Exchange, under the International Business Number A1T9ZW. Their Online Live Casino services include the most popular casino games, brought to your homes through HD video streaming connection.
The Smart Gaming Group company was founded in 2007 and is based in London, UK. They are fully regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, with licence number 000-002715-R-103240-009. Technical certification is provided by Ofcom and they broadcast their games on the various television Networks.
You can check the table below for more in-depth information, along with the differences and similarities between the live online casino providers. Also, you can find which games they offer, special features and much more. While Playtech tends to be the sole live casino star at a Playtech-powered casino, NetEnt and Evolution Gaming often appear side by side, especially at newer online casinos that go for both quality and quantity.
|Evolution Gaming||Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Casino Holdem, Sic Bo, Three Card Poker||Riga (Lettland), Malta||Live Streaming Solutions||5x EGR Live Casino Provider of the Year, Software Rising Star 2010||Multi-game, Multi Seat, HD Streaming|
|Playtech||Blackjack, Roulette, Casino Holdem, Sic Bo, Baccarat||Riga (Lettland), Philippines||Casino Gran Madrid||Best iGaming Software Provider, B2B Platform of the Year||Multi-game, Bet Behind, Multi Seat, Waiting List, Side Games|
|Microgaming||Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat||Canada, Philippines, Argentina||no||Best Software Provider 2005, 2006, 2010||Playboy Dealer, Multi-game, Bet Behind, Multi Seat, Waiting List|
|Vuetec||Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Casino Holdem||no||Fitzwilliam Casino & Card Club Dublin, Ireland; Palace Casino Isle of Man||no||Play-money Option, Multi Seat|
|Global Gaming Labs||Casino Holdem, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette||Costa Rica||no||no||Multi Seat|
|Net Entertainment||Roulette, Blackjack||Malta||no||Innovator of the Year 2014,||Multi Seat, HD Streaming, Side Games|
|Smart Gaming||Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat||London||no||no||Multi Seat|
Most Popular Online Casino Live Games
In the beginnings of online casino games with live dealers, only a few all-time favourite were available, like Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat. Now, the providers have added not only several variations of these games, but also some new ones, like Casino Hold’em, Sic Bo and Three Card Poker.
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Blackjack: One of the most popular casino games, Blackjack could not be forgotten by the live dealer providers. Although in regular land-based casinos, only 9 players maximum can sit at one table, with the Unlimited version of the Live Casino Blackjack Online, you have the option of betting behind one of the players. Although the options of staying or drawing a card belongs to the initial player, it is still better than having to wait for a seat to open. Also, some blackjack games provided by Evolution Gaming offer side bets, like the Perfect Pair and 21 + 3, all of which you can find at William Hill Casino.
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Roulette: As one of the most loved live games in the UK, Roulette also has some interesting variations that have been recently added to the collection. In addition to the Classic and the French games, you can also try London Roulette, Venezia Roulette, Mini and Sports Roulette. However, one of the most thrilling and surrealistic online roulette games that you can play with a live dealer is the Immersive game variation. With numerous cameras, many different angles, HD video, enhanced statistics and slow-motion replays, this is as real as it gets to a land-based casino experience.
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Baccarat: Said to be the game of Royals, Baccarat’s history dates as far back as 1490, when it is said to have been introduced in France. Although it can be categorized as a relatively easy game of chance, there are two variations of this game that actually involve some skill: Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque. Punto Banco is the least complex variation of the game and it can be found in most live dealer casino collections. Also, VIP players won’t be disappointed either, as most renowned operators like 888 Casino offer special tables, with higher limits and special treats.
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Casino Holdem: Growing in popularity in both land-based and online casinos, Casino Hold’Em was the first game to be added to the online casino live games collection. The main reason this game grows on players more and more is the AA bonus side bet, which can bring you fabulous extra winnings. Very similar to the popular Texas Hold’Em poker game, Casino Hold’Em is an extremely fun and entertaining game to play with real dealers. And the best part of it is all users play against the dealer, and not each other. Furthermore, even if you cannot beat the dealer’s hand, your AA bonus side bet still wins, provided you have a pair of aces or higher.
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Sic Bo: An ancient Chinese game, Sic Bo is a game of chance played with three dice. Much like the Roulette tables, with Sic Bo you can place bets on a large layout, betting on the outcome of the dice being rolled. Available bets include Small, Big, Doubles, Triples along with other possible combinations. In live casino variants, the dice are not exactly rolled, but actually shaken in a glass dome and winning combinations are marked and highlighted on the layout. Also known as the Lucky Dice game, you can play Sic Bo at William Hill Casino, both in classic and Live version.
Top 10 Hottest Live Online Casino Dealers
Just like in a land-based casino, online operators have to spare no means when it comes to entertaining players and offering the best live casino experience. That means more than just the selection of games and the quality of the live-streaming. This is where the pretty dealers come in. From the moment you start playing at a table, they will greet you and keep you company every step of the way. I mean, what can be a better good luck charm than a lovely young lady smiling back at you while you play? Here are my Top 10 favourite dealers which were both nice and lucky for me.
Top 10 Hottest Live Casino Dealers
- Vija Find her at: Eurogrand, Winner Provider: Playtech Born on/in: 17.08.1988, Riga Hobbies: Dancing, Tennis
- Tatjana Find her at: 888 Casino Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 30.07.1989, Valmiera Hobbies: Squash, Theatre
- Evita Find her at: Eurogrand, Ladbrokes Provider: Playtech Born on/in: 05.08.1987, Malta Hobbies: Painting, Reading
- Anastasija Find her at: 888 Casino, William Hill Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 15.03.1988, Riga Hobbies: Music, Ridding
- Tanja Find her at: Eurogrand, Europa Provider: Playtech Born on/in: 25.08.1985, Riga Hobbies: Badminton
- Marija Find her at: William Hill Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 23.10.1985, Jelgava Hobbies: Movies, Volleyball
- Elvija Find her at: Winner, Betfair Provider: Playtech Born on/in: 23.09.1985, Riga Hobbies: Travelling, gardening
- Anna Find her at:Eurogrand, William Hill Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 19.03.1987, Riga Hobbies: Sailing, rock music
- Alina Find her at: William Hill, 888 Casino Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 12.08.1990, Gaising Hobbies: Photography, Cooking
- Darja Find her at: Eurogrand, 888 Casino Provider: Evolution Gaming Born on/in: 15.12.1995, Riga Hobbies: Poker, Soul&Funk
Should you see any of these pretty ladies at the live tables, be sure to say ‘Hi’ and try your luck. Professionalism, quality time and excellent company are guaranteed.
Now that our live journey has come to an end, I would like to share with you some of the most common questions that players have and the answers to them.
Can you play online live casino games for free or only with real money?
Considering the costs of organising, staffing and live-streaming that casino operators have to cover, it is only natural that such games cannot be offered in free-play mode. Nevertheless, operators that offer VueTec live games gives users the chance to try them for free. The reason for this being possible is that they stream from real land-based casinos, which means that costs are significantly reduced. However, given the bad quality of the video streaming and low level of entertainment, this does not promise a memorable live casino experience.
Do land-based casinos really have such a strict dress code?
One of the advantages of playing online is the total lack of dress code. Or any other codes or conditions, for that matter. It is totally up to you whether you choose to play in your bathrobe and slippers, with a beer mug in your hand or get all dressed up and feel like a VIP. Land-based casinos, however, might have a thing of two to say about that. Although the dress code is not as strict as it used to be, good luck trying to get in wearing your lucky pyjamas and slippers.
While there still are some casinos that decided to drop the formal dress code, others just gave it another name: Smart casual. This is the case of The Ritz Club, located at 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BS. Smart casual by definition requires men to wear trousers or chinos, but not jeans, plus a jacket or a blazer. Trainers, sandals or anything like that are strictly forbidden. On the other hand, with online operators the best live casino UK experience doesn’t necessarily have to mean suit and tie or any other restrictions.
Do casino licenses guarantee a safe iGaming environment?
The purpose of licensing and regulation is to control gambling operators and to ensure the protection of players. The entire legislation surrounding casinos is designed to create an environment in which the player may participate in fair and safe gambling. Gambling operators must therefore possess a valid license. These are issued in Europe mainly of the following authorities:
- Remote Gambling Authority Gibraltar: The RGA Gibraltar is represented by the Gambling Commissioner, who reports directly to the Government of Gibraltar. The licensing and regulation takes place under very stringent conditions that only the largest and most respected providers can implement.
- Lotteries and Gaming Authority Malta: LGA Malta is Europe’s largest gambling regulation authority, over 500 licenses were issued in different categories, which have to be valid in all EU countries.
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission: The AGCC is located on the British Channel Islands and thus is subject to the British Crown. The regulation here is not limited to Europe only, but also includes important markets such as the USA or Asia.
- Gambling Commission UK: The UK Gambling Commission regulates not only betting shops, lotteries and land-based gambling, but also all online operators that operate on the UK market.
Do operators offer any special live dealer casino bonuses?
Although live bonuses for new players are pretty scarce, some operators go the extra mile and try to make users an offer they can’t refuse. A special live casino bonus can be found at Ladbrokes Casino – £50 Cash welcome bonus. However, keep in mind that every operator has different requirements and conditions to claiming and playing-through their bonuses, so make sure to read the bonus terms and conditions.
Which are the most appealing live dealer promotions?
Although limited, special promotions for live games do exist and make playing with real dealers even more promising than usual. Take 888 Casino, for example. It is as if they are just wandering what to reward you for next, so they keep coming up with these special promotions like Roulette Lucky 8, £1200 on Live Blackjack tables and more.
Are there any online live dealer iPhone apps available?
One of the most important features of any casino operator is that they offer mobile apps not only for their regular, but also for their live games collection. However, whether they offer a special iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry downloadable app or a mobile-responsive website is different from one casino to another.
Which are the live casino online PayPal operators?
One of the hardest things is trying to find an online casino operator that accepts PayPal as a banking method, not to mention one that will accept both deposits and withdrawals by PayPal. But still we managed to put together a list of reliable PayPal Casinos that also offer live dealer games.