The Technology Fueling the Live Dealer Gaming Craze – Entertainment Focus
Last year, the Times of Malta reported that more than half of gaming revenue for major iGaming companies was generated by live dealer casino products. Many pioneering software providers that have traditionally focused on creating the best slot machine experiences for desktop and mobile users are venturing into the live dealer vertical.
NetEnt is a great example. The Swedish studio is considered one of the top seven slots providers and has been innovating the video slots scene for over a decade, bringing responsive HTML5 powered slot games to our screens, but its NetEnt Live division consists of real-time and live streams. games with a gaming atmosphere to rival any land-based casino floor.
Many consumers are drawn to the prospect of playing immersive live dealer games because they offer a land-based casino experience from the comfort of their own home. All you need is a fast and reliable Wi-Fi or 4G connection to get started. HD quality visuals are crystal clear, giving players a unique perspective of the action as it unfolds on the tables.
However, running a live casino studio is more than meets the eye. Below, we’ll explore the technology basics required by major iGaming brands to run live casino studios 24/7.
We might as well start with the components that are arguably the most important part of any live dealer gaming experience: the studio cameras. Positioning and clarity of studio cameras are key to ensuring a smooth and immersive gaming experience. Most live dealer table games will have multiple camera angles you can choose from, tailoring your perspective of the action right from the start.
For example, a standard live dealer roulette table will typically offer three studio camera angles. The first being a basic overview of the betting table and wheel. The second being a top-down overview of the roulette wheel exclusively, and the last being a top-down overview of the betting table.
The in-game monitor is the eyes and ears of the online action for live dealers. It shows them what active players can see on their desktop and mobile screens. The in-play monitor is also useful as it can identify any players who may be taking longer than usual to place their bets, giving dealers a prompt to help newbies and maintain a steady flow of play.
The in-game monitor is also used to help dealers know when a player’s bets are lost and therefore their cards can be removed from play. It is the in-game monitor that allows dealers to interact in real time with the players, with messages relayed via the live chat box.
It is also important to recognize the role that the dealers themselves play in the operation of live casino games. These dealers are professionally trained before entering the live casino studio. This means they know the rules of every game they run like the back of their hand.
Dealers are not only trained to handle and manage the flow of the game, but they are also selected for their engaging personalities. Many of the live casino dealers you’ll encounter will have a real charisma that will make every deal or spin as fun as the last.
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology
If you’ve ever played in a live dealer casino and wondered how the user interface manages to display card and hand values so quickly, it’s largely thanks to OCR technology. OCR is built into the dealer’s shoe of any card game and even roulette games like roulette. It is used to convert meaningful data – like the value of a physical card – into a digestible digital format.
When a dealer takes a card from their deck, the card is swiped over an OCR camera, which immediately captures the value of the card and overlays it on your user interface via the game control unit. OCR technology has been used since many decades to help digitize analog industries and eras. The British Library recently used it to digitize Magna Carta, and now it’s helping to bring land-based casino games to life online.
Game Control Unit (GCU)
The GCU is another key element in a live casino studio. Consider it the heartbeat of any live tabletop game. It is fixed under the gaming table, helping to maintain the flow of data from the table to your desktop or mobile screen. The GCU is designed to encode the live stream streamed to your device. This ensures the best possible viewing experience.
In many ways, live casinos would not be feasible without a rock-solid GCU to encode and encrypt the broadcast, ensuring a secure and smooth gaming environment.
A layman’s explanation of how a live dealer studio works
The process of running a live casino game varies from game to game. For the purposes of this example, we will use live blackjack to explain how the studio operates a game of blackjack with multiple online players based in different parts of the world.
To start, the dealer and the table will be broadcast live on the screens of the players seated at their table. The broadcast will be streamed and integrated into the intuitive betting interface of the live casino site you have chosen. Players can watch the dealer interact with their messages in real time via the live chat box.
Bets can be placed on the user interface by dragging and dropping virtual casino chips into the blackjack seats you wish to play. Once these bets are placed, they are removed from the screen and the action begins. The dealer deals each card via his OCR camera, which quickly relays the on-screen hand values to the players. You then have the option of playing your hand to completion through the user interface. It is possible to change your view of the blackjack table by changing the camera angle, as long as multiple angles are offered.
The live casino interfaces have also been developed to be fully responsive, ensuring players can enjoy their favorite table games on any desktop or mobile device, regardless of screen size.