What is the single biggest difference between a real-world casino and an online casino? It’s probably the absence of other human faces.
You have to admit that online casino gaming is a pretty lonely, solo experience. But if recent trends are anything to go by, things are changing, and fast.
Live streaming technology is changing the way iGaming works, providing online casinos with new types of interactive and social games. The likes of Netflix and other streaming services have perfected streaming making every event available worldwide, instantly. This tech has been adopted by the iGaming industry.
Many casino gamers are also finding new ways to earn money online, creating popular accounts on streaming sites like Twitch. There are multiple narratives in this evolving story of live streaming and online casinos.
How Twitch is influencing casino gaming
If you are an avid video gamer you will probably know all about Twitch.
For the uninitiated, Twitch is a video streaming platform, populated largely by gamers and folk who love video games in general. The Amazon-owned service specializes in live streaming of people playing video games.
Video games are not always about playing the game – often, it is a lot of fun just watching your friends play (and lose and rant) from the comfort of your living room couch. Thanks to the raw unscripted nature of its live content, Twitch has experienced massive growth in recent years.
Nearly a million viewers log in daily to watch live streams from thousands of popular video gamers. The lives of these video streamers make for a fascinating read, as this article from The New Yorker demonstrates superbly.
Games like Fortnite have catapulted Twitch into stratosphere.
Vanilla video games like Fortnite, Dota, and Player Unknown Battlegrounds are not the only ones grabbing eyeballs on Twitch these. Casino slots players are also attracting attention.
And the biggest of them is probably CasinoDaddy, an entire channel staffed by a roster of slots players. According to Kotaku, the channel has been around since 2016 and boasts of over 60,000 followers.
Platforms like Twitch and Youtube offer the following advantages to casino gaming:
- Creates new marketing platforms for casinos to showcase their latest games
- Provides talented slots players with attractive new sources of revenue
- Gamers get a new source of information on casino games
- Creates a social hub where slots and casino enthusiasts can interact
There are other ways in which casinos are embracing streaming technology
It is not just players who are using live streaming technology these days on online casino. On the other side of the equation, casinos are also starting to harness live video streams in a big way.
Modern Live Dealer games use video streaming to provide players with refreshing new gaming experience.
Starring trainer human dealers/hosts, these live games offer an online casino experience that is as close to a bricks-and-mortar casino experience as possible.
These days, you can find the following games using live video technology:
- Money Wheel
If you visit any modern online casino, chances are high that you will encounter a section filled with these games, usually called “Live Dealer” or “Live Casino.”
Live Dealer Games are nothing like regular casino games
These games are quite different from the regular collection of assorted slots and card games. Those are entirely single-player experiences, where you are playing against the computer.
Unlike games using computer graphics, Live Dealer games are a different breed altogether. These games take place in the real world, in the studios of certain companies that specialize in this genre, like Netent and Evolution Gaming.
The games are hosted by live human dealers who are trained in the art of hosting casino games.
Video cameras capture the game and broadcast it live to payers who can watch from the comfort of their homes and place bets using special buttons and controls on the game screen.
There is even a chat screen which allows them to communicate with the host. This creates a social gaming experience very similar to what you get at Twitch.
On Twitch, streamers are constantly chatting with their viewers while playing the games. In Live Dealer games, the host or dealer is doing the same thing, responding to live messages from the players on the fly.
Why live streaming casino games are gaining in popularity
At online casinos, it is more about increased immersion and bringing a gaming experience that is as close to reality as possible.
According to Laszlo Keczer, Netent’s Head of Netent Live Production, live games like Roulette and Blackjack have been established for several years now.
But there is a recent surge in popularity of these games, and that is entirely due to “improved technical performance, stability, and quality.”
“The live casino offering has reached a point of maturity that allows suppliers to fully focus on creating a first-class user experience;” says Keczer.
Unlike streams on Twitch, Live dealer games are not about spectating, but about jumping in and placing bets along with other players. These games bring an authentic casino atmosphere to your screen, in ways in which other online casino games simply cannot.
But live streaming also has its share of flaws and weaknesses
There is no doubt that live dealer games have a lot of advantages when compared to other casino games. But nothing is perfect in this world, and these games are no different.
There are some minor and not so minor inconveniences associated with these games:
- They are not available at all online casinos
- Only a limited number of players can join each game room at a time
- The value of bets placed are on the higher side
- These games need fast and uninterrupted internet connectivity at all times
- Casinos do not offer bonuses on these games
That last point is often a huge turn off for online casino patrons who love their bonuses and promotional offers.
But if a casino is unwilling to provide bonus offers on particular games, they often have a very compelling reason. This handy article explains in detail why you will not find a bonus offer at online casinos offering live dealer games.
Sportsbooks & Live Poker – other gambling arenas with potential for live streaming
Modern online sportsbooks are leveraging live streaming videos in a big way for their customers. Sports matches and races, when streamed live, give numerous opportunities for live betting.
Online sportsbooks these days host countless live streams of races and sports events from all over the world. This provides a better gambling experience than real life – with so much choice, you can jump from one event to the next, without having to wait for the next race!
Perhaps more than any other casino game, poker is the most affected by the switch to computers.
In other games like baccarat and blackjack, the cards are the main focus.
In poker, the other players are equally important, if not more so than the cards you are dealt with. Identifying the unique “tells” that betray a person’s intentions is a big part of the poker experience.
That is not possible when you cannot look at other players’ faces. Video streaming could potentially change all that.
Currently, video streaming in poker is restricted to Twitch streams of popular online poker platforms like PokerStars. But it is not hard to envision a future where online poker rooms use webcams to transmit live videos of each player.
The quest for realism will continue in a growing virtual world
Newer generations are spending more and more time in the online virtual world these days. Everything here is structured, curated, and feels quite artificial and disconnected from reality.
This is why people are always looking for new experiences that bring you as close to reality as possible. Live streaming casino games is also an extension of this phenomenon.
If you cannot go into a real casino, the technology is there to try and create a credible alternative for you. And things will only improve as the video streaming technologies evolve in the coming years.
Pretty soon, we could have Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR & AR) technologies bringing even more immersion and realism to online casinos.