History Of Live Casino Games

Online casinos have been around for over 20 years, and have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. While live dealer casino games did make a (grainy) appearance in the early days, advancements in technology have seen their triumphant reimagining in recent years. These newer games bridge the gap between land-based and online gaming by offering a real-time, authentic casino experience where you can play online games live-streamed from a real table, with a real dealer, alongside other players.

The internet has revolutionised many aspects of modern life, including the casino industry. But how have live casinos come to be so massively popular? Let’s take a look.

How it all began

The rapid growth of the internet in the 1990s caught governments off guard the world over – there wasn’t any legal framework within which online casinos could operate, until the 1994 Free Trade and Processing Act of Antigua and Barbuda. This opened the door to online gambling, allowing establishments to apply for licences to operate online for the first time. The UK and Malta soon followed suit.

Legislation was updated and regulatory bodies were established, but there were still plenty of technical difficulties to be faced in the establishment of the soon-to-be multibillion-dollar industry.

The first live casino online

The first online casino software was developed in 1994 by Microgaming. However, because there was no way of safely transferring funds, no real money could be wagered. In 1996, a payment system developed by online security provider CryptoLogic was deployed by InterCasino. It provided a safe and reliable cryptographical method of cash transfer, making InterCasino the first online casino that was able to accept real-money wagers.

Following this breakthrough, the popularity of online casinos began to surge and has not stopped. By the end of 1966, around 15 online casinos had popped up; by 1997, there were more than 200.

In 1998, casino site Planet Poker made history by launching the first live dealer poker room. Now, players could play with a live dealer and real equipment without having to leave the house! Of course, the video quality was unreliable and pixelated, and the speed was slow, but the future had been paved.

Progression and limitations

The online casino industry continued to gain popularity, and early online casinos featured only around 20 casino games in total. The experience was anything but smooth. Devices were bulky and internet connections were slow and patchy.

Of course, these things would take a while to advance, and in the process of developing more streamlined, accessible and steady technology, live dealer casino games were, for the most part, sidelined.

The modern live casino experience

Technology has seen massive leaps over the past decade and with it, two essential elements to the success of live casino gaming have been addressed: graphics and streaming quality. Interfaces have evolved to become more efficient and easy to use, and internet connectivity is way faster and more stable these days. Players can now enjoy uninterrupted HD-streaming technology over myriad reliable platforms, while communicating with dealers and other players via chat features that support both voice and text. This contributes to the authentic, “real life” casino experience, making live dealer games more popular than ever.

Apart from being convenient and highly accessible, there are a number of reasons why live dealer games have evolved into one of the most popular forms of gambling entertainment today.

Professional croupiers and dealers

Live casino providers require croupiers and dealers to undergo extensive training, with the same standard expected in the live studio as one finds in brick-and-mortar casinos. Croupiers are prepared for hosting various games as well as being on screen, making the players’ experience as immersive and entertaining as possible.

A refined experience

Game developers such as Evolution Gaming, Microgaming and NetEnt continue to raise the standards of live dealer games, offering more streaming options for players and multiple variants of traditional table games such as blackjack, poker, baccarat and roulette. Other genres are jumping on board, too, including live versions of money-wheel games such as Live Crazy Time, board games and even slots (Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt comes to mind).

Live streaming from specialist studios and land-based establishments

These days, live games are streamed from either specialised studios, or from live suites within the casino itself. These locations house rooms dedicated to specific brand requirements, and boast a high-quality set-up with top-of-the-range cameras, lighting, monitors, and microphones. Casinos such as Grosvenor prefer to operate within the establishment itself, and use their own staff to maintain the brand identity and provide the standards that are expected, both within the walls of the land-based casinos and online. Streaming is always of impeccable quality for these live casino games, which creates an immersive online experience for fans of the genre.

Live casino for mobile

While mobile phones in the 1990s and early 2000s offered the most basic of games, such as Snake, the smartphones of today are equipped to provide the chance for gameplay that’s just as great as high-end laptops and tablets. Live casino has further been optimised for use across a number of devices and operating systems, making playing wherever, whenever more widely available.

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/ 31 December 2021