Are online live dealers the future of casinos?

Step onto the floor of any Las Vegas casino (or any casino around the world for that matter) and you’ll notice the same things, no matter which casino you happen to be in.

There’s the slot machine section, where one-armed bandits as they’re affectionately known, entice you with promises of million-dollar jackpots. Those machines are either mechanical (if they’re old school) or run by a computer (assuming they’re video slots or even some 3-reel classics). More often than not, the only humans you’ll see are other players, cocktail waitresses, and the occasional slot machine attendant who is fixing a machine or reloading it with coins.

These machines tend to be the most profitable for a casino, but any good casino doesn’t rely just on slots. They also have a large table games section because that’s what gamblers demand. The table games, whether Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Casino War, Baccarat, or Caribbean Stud, are all manned by real dealers. These dealers are explicitly trained in the ins and outs of table games. They deal the cards. They place bets. They pay you out. They monitor the tables. They do everything.

But as casinos evolve, the human dealer could very well go the way of the dinosaur. Yup, real dealers could one day be extinct.

innerlive04062015To be clear, I’m not suggesting that online casinos are taking over real casinos as some anti-online casino advocates suggest. In fact, studies show that online casinos actually complement real casinos by getting players excited about gambling. For example, many new casino players in New Jersey hadn’t set foot in an Atlantic City casino until online casinos were regulated there in 2013.

What I am suggesting, however, is that as more and more players become comfortable with the virtual way of doing things, real dealers could be replaced by video screens. And at some casinos, they already are.

Over in Massachusetts, while the state awaits its full resort casinos to be built, one racino will soon include virtual dealers at the Blackjack tables. Plainridge Park Casino isn’t licensed to operate table games, but they are licensed to operate electronic games. That loophole allows them to operate electronic Blackjack tables. Instead of real felt, each person at the table gets their own tabletop screen. It’s almost like a giant iPad. They use it to bet and signal for hits/stays/doubles/splits. The screens are positioned around a curved rail, much like a real Blackjack table.

But this is different than just traditional online Blackjack or a video version of the popular game. There’s an actual real dealer present. She just happens to be positioned on a giant screen, right around where a live dealer might stand.

There are a few big differences, though. First, you can’t actually interact with the dealer. She’s a prerecorded video, so you can’t exactly have a conversation. But because the game is all electronic, it’s much faster. There’s no waiting for cards to reshuffle and no waiting for a table to open (unless of course all the seats are filled).

The new electronic dealer Blackjack game doesn’t open for a few weeks, so it’s not clear how players will react to it. But if successful, you can expect to see more and more casinos implement the technology.

And who knows? One day casinos could be full of electronic Blackjack tables. In the future, you might need to go online to play with a live dealer, just as you can today at Palace of Chance. If you haven’t checked out our live dealer casino, give it a try. You’ll love it no matter which kind of games you’re after.


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