Live Casinos are hugely popular because they offer online players the most authentic casino experience. The advancement in technology now allows us to play casino games like roulette and blackjack with a real human dealer via a stream. This adds to the excitement and it easy to see why so many players now opt for these types of games.
Best Casino Sites 2021
Our Guide to find the Best Live Casinos in 2021
In 2021 you really need to have a live casino page on your online casino site or you’re going to miss out on a load of customers.
Playing live casino games is the latest thing. It means allowing players to compete in their favourite casino games with a live dealer controlling the action.
With most sites offering live casino play these days, what makes the good ones stand out?
1 – Quality Live Casino Games
You want to play quality games. With live casino games, this might mean playing with dealers who you get along with. There are a number of providers of live online casino games, but two are dominating the field: Evolution Games and NetEnt.
Take a look around sites you’re considering and see if they have the games you want to play and if you like the dealers that you can see.
2 – Exclusive Live Casino Games
Because live games are unique one-off happenings – to an extent – you can play games at one site that you can’t play anywhere else. Good sites will also reward you for your loyalty by allowing you to play at better or smaller tables and for bigger stakes over time.
Always play safely, of course, but if you’re a high roller look for a site that’ll be comfortable giving you the service you deserve.
3 – Live Casinos on Mobiles
Small screens are how most of us use casino sites these days. You might think that this would be a problem for live games, but with a good quality site and a good connection, you should be able to enjoy live roulette and live blackjack easily.
But check out what sort of service mobile players get from a site. Is it an app or a site? Both have their plusses so choose what works for you. Check out a site on your device if you’re going to sign up.
4 – Try for free?
Live games are harder to play for free. Because bets are taking place in real-time, and running the game is more expensive – sometimes involving a one-on-one interaction between a player and a paid member of staff. You can’t really operate a demo on a live game.
Playing for free is a great plus. It’s the best way to learn games safely. So, if you do see offers offering free live play, or a site has a regular promo on live games then that’s a bonus you ought to look at.
5 – Are Live Casinos safe?
Any novelty attracts the charlatans. Check out bootlegging or counterfeiting in any field and you’ll see dodgy stuff coming together around fashions, fads, and new releases.
This means you should be extra careful around anything new in gambling too. It’s OK, you don’t need to panic, you just need to look for licensed sites with good data protection and privacy policies and encryption. That’s all!
Of course, we want you to play safely too, so make sure you know how to look after your mental and financial health around live casino games too.
What are live casinos?
Live casino sites offer casino games over a live link. The player interacts with the games via an interface on the screen using their computer or mobile to send signals to a dealer or croupier that they will carry out.
You choose to play live roulette online. Your screen will show a video link to a roulette table with a member of casino staff, or maybe more, running a roulette wheel.
The player uses their device to select the stake they want and to place a bet on a number or series of numbers. The member of casino staff – the live dealer is the usual term used – then spins the roulette wheel. The player watches; winning bets are paid out.
That’s really about the size of it.
It’s very simple.
Most online casino sites are live casino sites these days. There are a few live casino-only sites, and some sites are big enough to spin-off their live-dealer operation to a separate or stand-alone site, but in general, if you want to play live online casino games these days you just need to go a regular online casino site and look for a tab named “live casino” or “live dealer” or similar.
In most ways live casino games operate exactly like the simulated versions that have been available online for years.
However, these are a couple of difference that might make an impact on how you play:
First: demo mode
Firstly you can’t really play live casino games in demo mode. Because real people are running these games the costs are much higher. To allow players to play for nothing is a losing proposition. We’ll cover what this means for you later on.
Because games are happening live, there may be actual limits on the number of people who can play a particular game at a particular time. And while these games are essentially 24-hour operations, it is possible that there may be some limitations in the times you can play a particular game at.
Thirdly: social aspects
Most gambling online is done alone. For that reason, it’s always been a different proposition from the Hollywood version of a casino that it would like us to think it is. Now, there is a social aspect to these games, which may be actualised via a chat room on some games.
Four: Real people
You are now interacting with real people. This is a very different experience from playing against a machine. And it demands more of you. It’s not our place to lecture you on how to behave. But we’re about to lecture you on how to behave. Please skip on if you find basic human decency annoying. The staff who run online casino games are real people. They have the right to be treated decently and politely. They are probably doing what they are doing for not very much money, and they are probably qualified to do something more demanding but haven’t had the opportunity to. Please don’t treat them any worse than you would like to be treated.
Five: real people, safety
If you have spent any time at all looking at live online casino games you will quickly come to a conclusion about how staff are chosen. We’ve already asked you to behave decently towards online dealers, and that includes behaving appropriately, and also to be aware of how you are likely to react towards people you find attractive. Please don’t make decisions on whether or not you would like to play a game, or make another bet based on how attractive you find the dealer, or how much you’re enjoying talking with them. Please see our guides on safe gambling for some rules you apply whatever sort of game you are playing, and dial-up your safety concerns even more where sex is becoming a sales point.
Live Casinos – The Game Providers
There is a good selection of live casino game operators. Some websites are big enough to run their own operations. This is not cheap.
In order to run a casino, you need to be able to, well, run a casino. The internet makes it possible for these casinos to be set up in jurisdictions where pay and conditions are lower than they are in the UK, but paying people will always be more expensive than paying machines. And, yes, you can be sure that when it’s possible, online casino sites will use virtual, artificial intelligence dealers.
The two biggest live casino game providers are Evolution Gaming and NetEnt. You will find these games consistently featured in the best live dealer casinos.
Live Casinos – Games
Evolution Gaming – One of the Best Live Online Casino Games Providers
We’ll have a look at Evolution Gaming as an example.
Evolution Gaming is a stock market-listed gaming company based in Sweden. It has bases in 11 countries. And when you look at the number of employees in those countries you’ll soon work out that the 3,000 plus employees in Latvia and the nearly 2,000 in Georgia are the dealers, and that the company is taking advantage of lower wages in those countries to make its money.
The company is award-winning and global. In the UK, the industry audit site that we like the most lists this company as the 9th biggest game provider. That’s amazing when you consider that Evolution is a live casino provider and this list includes slot companies.
That’s how explosive the growth of live online casinos has been.
Evolution supplies 20 games currently, and they cover the whole gamut of live casino gaming at the best live online casinos.
Let’s have a look at those live online casino games because they’re a great way to survey the market as it currently exists.
Live roulette online
Evolution gaming makes live roulette the first and most prominent offering. That’s because roulette is the world’s favourite casino game.
In common with most live casino game producers Evolution offers a number of live dealer roulette games.
They are: Live roulette and lightning roulette.
And within these categories, there are a number of further variations.
Immersive Roulette and Immersive Lite. Immersive games offer a more involved experience, including multiple camera angles. They are often more expensive, premium games.
Live European Roulette: the chief variations within roulette are regional. European roulette is one of these. It is a single zero game, which makes it better value for players than American roulette, with its double zeroes. There are a number of specialist bets in European roulette.
Speed roulette. Is roulette played at high speed!
French roulette is the original roulette game. It is also a single-zero game with a number of specialist bets.
Native-speaking roulette games are available by country.
Double ball roulette is what it says it is. This means there are more pay-outs.
Dual play roulette is a mix of live players in real-life casinos playing alongside online players.
Mini Live Roulette is a cut-down version working in a smaller screen window.
Auto roulette is a live online casino game but without a live dealer.
American roulette is one of the classic variations of the game. Its extra zero has side bets, but that zero reduces the chances of the players in most equations.
You’ll find Evolution versions of roulette all over the internet. There are a load of reasons to play Evolution, but your decision to play at a particular site might depend on specific time tables, exclusive games, or even a live roulette bonus.
Live Blackjack Online
Using Evolution as a model again, we’ll look at live blackjack online.
Evolution’s live blackjack also includes a number of variations.
The classic game is joined by:
Speed blackjack. Yes, it’s a fast version of the game.
Blackjack Party is interesting in that it’s a social version of the game played something like a TV game show. Check it out to see if you like the style.
Bet Behind is a multiplayer game. We’ve mentioned the problem of getting enough players into games for live casino games. Bet Behind allows more players to take part by allowing players to bet on the people who are actually at the table playing.
Perfect Pairs and 21+3 Side Bets have the option to add these two extra side bets.
Pre-decision is a faster version of the fame that removes the need for players to wait for their turn before deciding what to do with their cards and chips.
Again, there are more variants still, some of them specifically branded for providers rather than for end consumers. A live blackjack bonus might be on offer at the site you use, so check out forums and sites like ours to look for the best value not just for Evolution live blackjack, but for live dealer blackjack games from all providers.
Live Baccarat Online
Blackjack and roulette are the world’s most popular casino games. That’s pretty well established. After that things aren’t so clear.
So, you’ll see the roulette bonus and the live blackjack bonus trailed most obviously. After that, you might see a live baccarat bonus in the site publicity.
Baccarat is a great game. It’s not as popularly known as those other two casino games, but it has a great reputation. It’s regarded as exclusive and glamorous in European and American casinos and it’s a massive hit in East Asian casinos, especially in Macau.
You’ll find all sorts of branded versions of the game as well as a set of well-established regional variations.
Evolution Gaming offers a typical set of live online baccarat game styles:
- Live baccarat is themed around the Asian casinos where the game is most popular.
- Multi-camera baccarat offers a more immersive experience.
- Live baccarat squeeze is a live dealer baccarat game with the squeeze – the practice of lifting up the corner of cards in an apparent hint of what the dealer may hold.
- Live baccarat control squeeze takes the squeeze out of the control of the live dealer and gives it to the player.
- Speed live baccarat is simply a fast game.
Those are the top live baccarat online games we think.
However, they are far and away from being the only live casino games on offer.
At Evolution Gaming, for example, the choice goes on to include:
Live Sic Bo. Sic bo is a Chinese dice game that is also big in the United States.
Live craps is the world’s best-known dice game. However, it is not always on offer at casinos. Craps is quite a complex game and comes with a huge variety of variants. At Evolution Gaming they’ve cut through all this by setting up their own branded dice game called Lightning Dice.
You can also bet live on other card games, including Dragon Tiger; Caribbean Stud Poker, three-card poker, Texas Hold’em, and more.
Many live casinos offer some form of lucky wheel game. This age-old form of gambling simply spins a wheel and awards prizes to players based on where it stops.
Virtual sports, like Evolution Gaming’s Football Studio, are a growing element of the live casino gaming world.
There’s a huge variety of branded games too. The likes of Monopoly Live or Deal or No Deal are to be found around the casino world.
Live Casino Play: Safe live casino play
You should treat a live casino experience as you would any other casino game. That is to say, you should be careful.
Make sure you know that you know the game you are playing and that you understand the rules on the site you are using and at the table at which you are playing. Read the rules, and read the small print.
We’ve mentioned above that you can’t really play live casino games on demo mode. That makes playing the games in simulator versions a very good idea. There you can play for free and learn your way around the basics of these casino classics.
We’d also suggest you read guides like our introductions to blackjack, roulette, baccarat and so on.
There are dangers to playing live casino games. It is possible to get scammed (but very rare); it is possible to lose money by bad play, and it is possible to suffer addiction.
Let’s look at those in turn.
Safe Live Casino Play
You should be just as safe playing a live casino game as when you play any slot or other online game.
Make sure you’re playing at a licensed site. Make sure it’s a legitimate site. And make sure that you’re following the same rules as you would with any other online transactions.
There is an extra element to live casino play. And it is your interaction with the dealers. It is not outlandish or prejudiced to suggest that live online casino companies like to employ attractive dealers. It is not outlandish or prejudiced to suggest that the main audience for these games is young men.
And where people try to sell things to young men you will find sex. A lot of that sex is in the head of the audience. We’re not sure what to do about that. It doesn’t seem likely that there will be laws regulating the clothing or appearance of live casino dealers. It seems very unlikely that there will ever be a way of stopping young men from thinking about sex and for stopping that thinking from influencing their decision making.
Of course, all this applies across genders and sexualities, and you will mind quite as many handsome young men as you will pretty young women working in casinos. We’re just covering the majority position in this industry first.
There’s not a lot we can do to protect you from your bad self here. But we think that if you recognise that this is a danger for you then even flagging it up might be a positive for you.
Don’t let an attractive live online dealer change your decisions about which games you play, how long you play them for, or how much money you spend. Let your own financial position and what you enjoy doing decide that.
Winning at Live Casino Games
We have a particular line on winning strategies in online gaming.
There aren’t any.
Sorry. That’s not a popular view in the industry, but it’s the truth so we think you should know it.
That’s not to say that there aren’t good ways to play or good ways to conduct yourself around a casino.
First of all, you should read a good quality guide to the game you’re going to play. Then you should play it on demo mode at a casino site you trust. Then you should read all the specific rules at the site you’re using.
Some games are less risky than others. Check out guides that include RTPs or theoretical return to a player for each game. You may also see this listed as house edge. The lower the house edge, the better value you are likely to get from a game.
And within each game, some bets and some approaches are better valued. You can easily find guides to these, here and at other sites.
The fact is those good betting strategies will not help you win. Their biggest benefit is that they may reduce your losses or slow down your losses. The best and most basic betting strategy is to bet small amounts on the lowest risk bets. Yes, boring is best!
Betting strategies like Martingales need deep pockets to even start, as they involve doubling stakes. This gets very expensive very quickly. And, they still won’t help you win.
Our advice is to do some reading on the Gambler’s Fallacy, and accept that all gambling is down to luck, with the odds tilted in favour of the house.
A new element has entered the world of “strategy” with the advent of live casino games. These are the physical strategies that work in real-life casinos. There is no reason why these strategies will not work in a virtual live casino too.
Card counting is the most famous of these strategies, not least because it has at least some evidence in its favour with some big winners. The principles of card counting (and remember that the most famous example needed a big team of people to make it work) should work in a virtual casino.
The game in which card counting is most used is blackjack. Blackjack is played from a shoe. You should be able to find out how many decks of the card are in the shoe. If you play and watch for long enough you should be able to work out which cards are left in the deck. Knowing this will give you a slight advantage when it comes to forecasting which cards are coming up.
So, card counting is something that you might want to try. But you need a lot of resources.
The other physical skill that has some following is that of spotting where a roulette ball is more likely to land-based on some physical tic of the dealer. This is extraordinarily difficult to justify. The variables are so enormous that you will need some sort of super perception to make this work in our view. However, it’s something you might want to try to add a new element to your game.
Live Online Casinos FAQ
The internet is going back in time! The latest and most popular thing in the online casino world is to play real casino games with real human co-players and real human staff manning the wheels and card shoes.
There’s a lot to understand in this brave new world of live online casinos and this guide will help you get started and stay safe.
What is a live online casino?
Live casinos offer casino games to players. The games are played at a remote location and filmed. A live link allows the player to interact with the person running the game, placing bets, asking for cards, and so on, and the player can win casino games in the usual way.
What’s different about a live online casino?
A couple of things make live online casinos a different beast from the more traditional style of casino games. The first thing is people. People need to be paid (we hope!) and that means that it is harder to offer live online casino games for free. This makes the games slightly more expensive to enter, usually, and makes free-play offers very rare. People also mean social interaction, and perhaps something called parasocial relationships. Gambling can cause problems for some people. You need to make gambling decisions rationally, not because you think an online croupier might go to dinner with you. It doesn’t take long to see that casino sites are choosing to employ attractive, young staff in live casinos. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, but don’t make decisions in order to impress people. Live casino games may also be limited in their availability. Most are played to a timetable and there are seat limits at some games.
How do I find a safe live online casino?
The first thing you must do is check the licence. It is illegal to play gambling games in the UK at a site that is not licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This is the first check you must make at any site you want to use.
How do I play live online casino games?
Because you cannot play live games on demo mode (so easily) we recommend that you do a bit of research on the games that you want to play before you start playing live online games. You can do this by reading up on games, but better still is to play games on demo mode or at review or referral sites. For this, you will need to find RNG games (random number generator) games that do have a demo mode. You need to understand the difference between European and American roulette before you sit at the wrong table!
What games can I play at live online casinos?
Live games are exploding in popularity and adding new titles all the time. Roulette and blackjack remain the most popular online casino games. You should also expect to find baccarat and some variants on dealer poker games – like Hold’em or Caribbean Poker for example. Beyond this, there is a whole family of games that have been designed especially for live online casinos. Many of these are based on simple TV gameshow games and include lucky wheel spins, but you can now also play slots in a live environment.
How Do I stake more money at live casinos?
Live casino games are very often linked to loyalty schemes. This is because it is not possible to open infinite numbers of games to infinite numbers of players. So there needs to be a way to limit play. Loyalty schemes allow sites to set access levels, commonly with higher staking the higher up the scheme you go. Loyalty schemes – like all casino bonuses – are designed to get players to sign up and spend more money at a casino site. Bear this in mind when you play live casino games.
What else will I find at live casinos?
Most casinos are not specialist live casinos. Most live casino games are offered by casino companies who offer a more general set of games, usually including slots, scratch games, RNG casino games, and maybe bingo.
How do I play at a live online casino?
You’ll need a computer or phone with internet access, and you’ll need to legally entitled to play. In the UK this means that you’ll need to be over 18, and be able to prove it. This may mean scanning ID documents. You also need some cash. In order to fill your account with money, you’ll need a bank account or debit card with internet functionality, or you’ll need an e-wallet or prepaid card, or a mobile payment app or crypto wallet. Real money changing hands is why you need to be so careful with these sites.
Can I win real money at live casinos?
IYou can indeed! However, you shouldn’t ever play gambling games with the expectation that you are going to win, and you should budget to lose. Make sure you understand how to play safely and how to limit your spending or ask for help if you need to.
Can I play live casino games on my mobile?
You can. You should check how many games are available on the mobile site you’re using. You should also make sure you know how to use the game safely and be aware of the impact of playing it on a smaller screen.
How do I find live casinos?
All the big sites – in fact, almost all casino sites full stop – now offer at least some live games. There are a number of companies who offer them – NetEnt, Evolution, and Pragmatic Play for example – and if you have a taste for a particular brand of the game then you need to check which ones you can find where. You can do that with your favourite search engine or by using a review site like this.
What are live casinos bonuses?
Bonuses are usually offered in return for depositing, with welcome bonuses for the first deposit always appearing the most generous. Live casino bonuses are relatively rare because of the cost implications of playing live games for free. Such offers are much sought after, so cash in if you see one.