The big difference between online casinos and their land-based counterparts is the lack of a dealer; casino software controls the game when you’re playing on the Net instead of the person behind the table. New technology from Casino Reality changes that by adding a live dealer to the online game, but does it improve the experience?
Casino Reality uses proprietary technology to broadcast casino games live over the Internet via a streaming video link, from a table operated by a real croupier. Bettors place wagers via a Flash game client and cards are tracked using a multi-faceted Java system. A chat feature and video are embedded in the browser window, and everything occurs in real-time. It’s like you’re right there at the games table. Sort of.
The Casino Reality technology doesn’t require a download and players are able to connect to a live broadband feed using a number of different options, although high-speed cable or ADSL will be the most reliable. Both PC and Mac platforms are supported, and Flash-based games mean most gamblers should be able to just sign up and play.
Caroline Steele, Marketing Manager at Casino Reality, believes the company’s product stands out from other online gambling software packages because of “the combination of convenience, user experience and the fact that all our games are based on luck not [the] random number generators” other Net casinos use. She also notes that, “each visit and game gives bettors a different and more personal experience,” in part because of chat features that allow players to talk to the dealer and other gamblers at the table.
Graphics for the Casino Reality product are as good or better than average, but the product falls a little flat when you look at the range of games. There’s a choice of three, to be precise, and while that may be fine if you’re fanatical about roulette, baccarat, or sic bo, it will be a problem if you’re looking for something else. Casino Reality is working on Blackjack at the moment and plans to add more games in the future.
Casino Reality premiered at Dr.Ho’s live Slot Online casino in January 2002. The games are broadcast from a studio in Antigua, and one of the selling points of the Dr. Ho casino is that the dealers work in bikini tops or Victoria’s Secret lingerie. Steele says other casino launches will be announced shortly.
The idea of bringing a live dealer to Internet gambling is interesting and even commendable, but the benefits are a little hard to see and casino sites haven’t exactly been rushing to implement this technology. The Casino Reality dealer does change the feel of the online game but the level of interaction just isn’t the same as at land-based casinos, regardless of how life-like the technology is. The dearth of games is also a real shortcoming for players accustomed to a dozen or more selections.
Casino Reality’s product may be worth checking out if you want to “see the cards being dealt, the roulette wheel spinning, or the dice shake in real-time,” as Steele puts it, but you’re probably better off heading down to the nearest brick-and-mortar casino if you really want a dealer calling the shots.