Live Dealer Online Evolution

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In the early days of online gambling, digital table games were little more than animated pictures of table surfaces, cards, dice or roulette wheels, and virtual chips. Random number generators took care of the “dealing” and the games, although technologically novel and functionally efficient, were far from entertaining—bordering boring.

How much times have changed. The graphics and audio quality of today’s online games have become highly realistic. The variety of games offered is nothing short of astounding—hundreds more variations than could be packed into any bricks and mortar venue. And thanks to increased bandwidth and high-speed connectivity, video streaming of live dealers is now possible to put a true human face on the world’s most popular forms of gaming. Chronologically, here’s how live dealing has come about.

1994 – The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act was passed by the government of Antigua-Barbuda, paving the way for legal licensing of online casinos and bookmakers. Software developer Microgaming was founded, creating the first online gaming platform.

1995 – The company known as CryptoLogic was formed with the goal of developing software to process online monetary transactions securely and effectively.

1996 – InterCasino went online, claiming to be the first Internet casino to accept a real money wager online. Shortly thereafter, the Interactive Gaming Council was established by a group of online gambling operators, including Microgaming. IGC would provide the online gaming industry with a unified voice, political lobbying clout and a fair gaming code of conduct for members to follow.

1999 – Online gambling revenues worldwide reached an estimated $845 million. A group of specialists from the casino, software engineering and multimedia industries created a new business-to-business gaming software supplier called Playtech.

2001 – In March, PRNewswire published the results of a survey indicating that some eight million people had already gambled with real money online.

2002 – Annual online gambling expenditures exceeded $4.5 billion.

2003 – Playtech kicked off the “live dealer gaming” revolution by setting up a broadcast studio based in Asia. Its “Live Gaming” was the first to use real-time video-streaming featuring live dealers with whom players could play and chat one-on-one. Right on Playtech’s heels, CWC Gaming began offering “Casino Web Cam” baccarat, roulette and sic bo from its base in Costa Rica.

2004 – Vuetec was inaugurated as a pioneer in live dealer technology, streaming games directly from a real bricks and mortar casino—the Fitzwilliam Card Club & Casino in Dublin, Ireland. Meanwhile, EnterAsia (later known as EntwineTech) launched live dealer broadcast from Macau.

2006 – Microgaming entered the live dealer market with the introduction of a live baccarat game broadcast from a studio in Riga, Latvia. Soon after, Evolution Gaming was founded in the Latvian capital as a specialist live dealer platform provider.

2007 – Smart Live Casino began broadcasting live roulette and blackjack games on Sky TV under remote gambling licenses by the UK Gambling Commission.

2008 – Evolution Gaming signed contracts to provide live dealer games for Blue Square and Unibet. Playtech partnered with high street bookmaker William Hill to offer live dealer games through William Hill Casino Club. EntwineTech entered into a master license agreement with CryptoLogic to supply a live dealer platform to the latter’s licensee casinos.

2009 – Playtech opened a new studio in Latvia. Evolution Gaming signed 888.com, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Party Casino.

2010 – Microgaming upgraded its live gaming platform. Chartwell Technology Inc. joined with HoGaming to provide Euro-centric live dealer games to Victor Chandler within the next year. Online gross gaming revenues approached $30.0 billion.

2011 – Playtech signed Betfair for its Euro studio’s live games. EntwineTech developed the first live dealer gaming app for the iPad.

2012 – Evolution Gaming launched a live dealer studio in Italy, supplying Italian language roulette and black jack action to Unibet, PartyCasino and William Hill.

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