By Shaan Khan
When casinos made the move from brick & mortar establishments to online entities, there came two platforms of operation: Virtual and Live Dealer casinos.
Both online casino platforms are taking advantage of our era’s technological boom, with its growing expansion of smart devices allowing us to interact with online casinos in numerous ways with greater accessibility.
From sitting stationary behind a computer screen, to accessing your smartphone on public transport, now entering Mark Zuckerberg’s envisioned metaverse with a virtual reality headset—these are all the ways you can and will be able to access online casinos, but which one is right for you? Virtual or Live Dealers?
Virtual casinos strayed far from their brick & mortar roots with their completely computerised design-choice, opting for 2D/3D graphical visuals that make them feel more like video games.
The traditional human dealers were adopted into computerised characters or not needed at all with computer commands in control of the whole process—not a dealer.
On the other hand, live dealer casinos are less dependent on computer technology, by using it as a basic means to stream a live video feed of a human dealer that audiences can view and interact with by using computer controls.
The computer controls both platforms use are similar such as a live chat feature where anyone online in the game can post, read each other’s messages and have a conversation.
When questioning what platform can better authentically capture the brick & mortar casino experience, it would make sense to answer live dealer casinos with the video stream capturing the realities of brick & mortar casinos, in particular the item placements of dealer tables, cards and chips, which mostly takes on entirely new forms with virtual casinos.
The same can be said about social interaction; having dealers talk into a mic as they respond to your messages and display facial gestures and body language is close to the human connection seen at brick & mortar casinos.
Although, virtual casinos are not entirely out of the question, thanks to the new age of virtual reality (VR). Casinos made for VR can fully replicate the brick & mortar experience with realistic 3D graphics and tracking that allows you to use your hands as you would at a real-life casino!
The tracking feature with VR seems only possible with virtual casinos since most VR applications that use tracking require you to use a computerised avatar which would replace the live feed of the dealer.
While live dealer casinos offer the humanly element, the caveat is that games will be more susceptible to human errors. The primary issue with live dealers is delays; you can never expect how long a game could take.
Virtual casinos can offer you comfort knowing that games are built around set commands and durations with its automated system that’s less likely to be delayed thanks to its tried & tested command executions that developers work on routinely.
Keep in mind, both platforms can be crippled by internet connectivity, where games can buffer and halt you in the process before the internet connection is stable again.
The benefit to most virtual casinos is they can be accessed 24/7 since computers don’t need any sleep, unlike live dealers. Some live dealer casinos are 24/7, with enough dealers to cover every hour. However, you can’t expect your favourite live dealer to be available all throughout that time.
In general, live dealer casinos are more expensive since they have a business model similar to a brick & mortar setup where expenses are high to operate & maintain buildings, equipment and dealers. There is also the added cost of streaming equipment that must be factored in.
Live dealer casinos must pay for expenses such as lighting, cameras and sets. In contrast, virtual casinos have relatively low expenses, with virtual design and items being cheaper to produce and maintain.
Players will come to notice the minimum wagers for live dealer casinos is higher than virtual casinos.
All in all, it comes down to preference. When you’re sitting comfortably at your desktop, you might not mind the delays and inefficiencies of live dealer casinos since you rather focus on the human interaction and the live nature that produces spontaneous entertainment.
If you’re in a no-nonsense mood and on the move with just an iPhone in hand, then the efficient and intuitive nature of virtual casinos could be what you’re looking for.
So each platform can offer something for everyone depending on your smart device and lifestyle.