The online casino industry has been growing exponentially in the past few years. Research shows that the market is due to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 12% in the period 2021 – 2026, with online betting set to be the fastest-growing segment of the market.
The barriers to entry into the market have been greatly reduced by advance in technology and legislative changes in markets such as the US, which are starting to become more similar to legislation in Europe, Canada, and the UK, where online casinos are already big business.
Why are online casinos so popular?
- Increased connectivity
- Accessible devices
- Lots of options
- Easy to learn betting strategies online
- Free options to test the waters
- Exciting rewards and bonuses
- Freedom to play from anywhere
- Rise of the casual and hyper-casual gamer
With such a heavily saturated market, online casinos are looking to offer more and more to their customers, and prospective customers, to attract and retain players.
Amongst the many tools at their disposal, such as welcome bonuses, daily rewards, and VIP clubs, a large number of online casinos have blended the convenience of the online world with the thrill of live games by introducing live dealer games, also known as Live Casino.
What is a Live Casino?
A live casino offers players the opportunity to experience the feel of a real, brick-and-mortar casino without leaving their homes. Players will play against real people and be able to see a real dealer dealing the cards, and enjoy all the excitement that comes from human interaction.
The dealer is a real person, set up in a studio with video cameras, and the game is broadcast over the internet, allowing the player to play in real-time and ask questions, and place bets.
History of the online casino industry
The concept of live casinos goes back to the 1990s but failed to take off in any meaningful way, primarily because the technology was not keeping pace with ideas and desires.
Even in the mid-2000s when technology had come on leaps and bounds when compared to the 1990s, most online gaming was limited to PCs and unreliable dial-up connections.
Even though the online gaming industry has a reputation for trailblazing and pushing new technology forwards, players and operators were not prepared to deal with the issues they faced, and the idea of a live casino was shelved, and quickly replaced with the shiny new offerings of simple interfaces and slinky slot machines.
However, the advent of the smartphone made the idea of live casino possible once more, as it offered the required connectivity and streaming capability not seen previously, and further advances in technology, in particular the live chat function which allowed players to chat in real-time, made live casino a reality.
This elevated online casino from a game to an experience and is a (not so) secret weapon that many operators use to have an advantage over their competition.
Why is it so popular?
1. Authentic Atmosphere
Live Casino runs the risk of feeling staged and inauthentic, but operators have invested heavily into ensuring that all the glitz and glamour of a casino translates over the airwaves and into the players’ device.
Cameras are placed strategically, providing different angles of the dealer and the table, as well as a backdrop, and players can zoom in on the table, recreating the views that players would get if they were actually in a casino.
The state-of-the-art cameras and lenses mean that players can see the cards being shuffled, and the ball as it spins round the roulette wheel.
2. Multitude of Games Available
Players can play all their favorite games, and flit from game to game at their will, without having to worry about finding a spot on a table, or waiting for one to open up, as live casinos will have far more available tables than a bricks and mortar casino.
Poker is possibly the most popular game at live casinos, as it is fun and exciting, and live casinos are able to recreate the tension of the game.
Players can still enjoy the side bets available, the different variants of poker, and progressive jackpots, without having to worry about secondhand smoke, wanting a drink, or having to tip the dealer. It really is the best of both worlds.
As well as poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, and Roulette are also popular games.
3. Increased Trust
Some players are inherently distrustful of random number generators (RGNs), and having a real dealer they can see shuffling and dealing the cards means they have more trust in the game, and play more. Additionally, as well as the dealer, there is a whole production team behind the scenes able to intervene if there are any problems and to ensure that iGaming is safe and fair for all involved.
4. The Human Touch
Players feel more connected to others and less isolated when they can see and interact with a real person. Whilst it is not the same as sitting face to face with another person, the chat functionality and being able to see the dealer offers an immersive gaming experience.
The dealers are trained professionals and are engaging and personable. Players can also interact with other players, forging life-long friendships.