Innovation in the iGaming sector is nothing new. Since the first online casinos emerged in the mid-90s, they have embraced new technologies, from the spread of the internet to the rapid development of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As well as embracing these new technologies, online casinos have gradually provided a more polished service, taking advantage of faster internet connections and more powerful chipsets in our devices. Doing so has brought better graphics, live interaction between players and an overall enhanced experience.
The traditional online casino brings all the card games and slots available in land-based casinos without the need for the player to leave home. Wagering in some form has permeated nearly every civilization in the history of human beings, and the online world created by the internet has not escaped this. Thanks to Antigua and Barbuda’s 1994 passing of the Free Trade & Processing Act, online casinos began popping up at a rapid pace from 1995 onward, with an astonishing 200 opening in the first two years.
As computing devices became smaller and more portable, so did online casinos. Mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices have allowed people to play from anywhere, without being chained to a desk. That especially appealed to casual players, giving the opportunity to escape the monotony of a commute or to fill the time of an ad break while watching TV. With free-to-play and wagering options available, online casinos cater to both those looking to play for fun and those wanting a little flutter.
What is a live casino?
While online casinos are an excellent convenience and make casino games more accessible to those who do not live near a land-based alternative, they will never be able to replicate the experience offered by their physical counterparts.
The concept of a live casino aims to bridge this gap, bringing back the human element with a real croupier and the ability to talk to them. For those looking for a more interactive game, live casinos offer another level of realism, with live versions of many card games, including poker and blackjack, as well as roulette and themed games. Most live casino games are variants of card games or roulette since these generally have a human element in land-based casinos as opposed to slot-based games, which are predominantly played alone.
As an example of live casino games, PokerStars has developed several different small options, as alternatives to their more traditional online games. In addition to a strong offering of live card games, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat, the company has several other live games, including live roulette and two themed games.
The first, “Dream Catcher” is a game that resembles roulette in several ways, but adds the additional element of a “spin multiplier.” A human host spins the Dream Catcher wheel, and players get multiple camera angles. The second is “Live Football,” a card game based on the concept of home and away wins.
While online casinos do not always require the player to make a wager, live casinos do. The main reason for this is that live casino games have much higher costs to the iGaming provider, requiring heavy IT resources to stream live video as well as the staffing costs of a presenter and production team. On the other hand, online casino games are, for the most part, only software running on a computer.
Which to choose?
Online casinos and live casinos cater for similar but different markets. Live casinos offer a more human element, with social interaction and a real croupier. However, the live casino will never be a complete substitute for the land-based ones since they will be short on the atmosphere and facilities found in a physical facility. Meanwhile, the online casino games continue to offer the convenience to play wherever and whenever at your pace.