Live Dealer Technology

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When live dealer games first became available via the Internet in 2003, they were hailed as a breakthrough. Especially vocal in their enthusiasm were players who distrusted the Random Number Generator (RNG) software that powers virtual table games. But even among those who had embraced technology-driven gambling, the addition of a human factor had an appeal.

Over the past decade, the live dealer platforms have continued to improve upon what was always a good idea. Higher speed data transmission has allowed audio and video quality to improve. Competition for customers has increased the variety of games available. And new software has given players even more control over aspects of the gaming experience, from toggles to change camera angles to the capacity for multi-tabling.

The typical user interface today is much like the one supplied by Evolution Gaming through Ladbrokes Live Casino. For the best results, players are urged to ensure that their computers and Internet connections are compatible with the streaming video platform.

In terms of hardware, that means having a 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium III processor or one that is 100% compatible, plus at least 1 GB RAM. For software, the recommended operating systems are Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP or Vista. Broadcast quality is best with an SVGA graphics card capable of 800 x 600 resolution or higher. Approved browsers include Internet Explorer 6.0, Mozilla 2, Chrome 1.0.0154 and Safari 3.0 or later, which should run with Adobe Flash Player 9. And the connection speed ought to be 256 kbps or higher.

Among the various types of live dealer formats currently available, the purpose-built dealer studio with streamed audio and video via web cam is the most prevalent. The facility will house the tables, dealers and cameras in an environment especially well suited to broadcasting, including professional lighting control and first-class acoustics. No casino patrons are allowed to enter, and the experience of play can be a very personal one, if somewhat less lively than a true casino atmosphere.

Other formats include video feeds from an actual casino, such as Vuetec’s operations at the Fitzwilliam Card Club & Casino in Dublin, Ireland, and television studios converted gaming activities. Interaction is limited and interruptions can occur at the former, while the latter may be better suited to cable broadcasts one-to-many than to streaming via the Internet one-to-one.

Most of the questions that players ask about live dealer technology fall into two fairly obvious categories: the human and the machine. For example, what happens in the roulette game if the ball hops off the wheel and lands on the floor, or what if the connection is temporarily lost.

Of course, each casino will develop its own set of guidelines to cover such eventualities but, by and large, procedures are the same as they would be in a land-based bricks and mortar casino. A pit boss is on hand to serve as the arbitrator in case human errors are made, and all bets stand once made.

When it comes to certifying the technology employed in providing live dealer games, Technical Systems Testing (TST) and eCOGRA are the two authorities most cited. Gaming Laboratories International is another. Their periodic reviews of the payout percentages are the best indicator of the fairness of the games.

Should a problem arise, especially regarding technology, all reputable online casinos offering live dealer games also offer technical support via phone, chat or email. Service is usually available 24/7.

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