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How live casinos work
The basics of live gaming casinos are easy. You can play classic table games, like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and even poker with a real life dealer. And the best casino sites UK use some of the most advanced, cutting-edge tech to make the experience as close to being in a land-based casino as possible. A real dealer or croupier, real tables and real cards. But with the comfort of never having to leave your home!
Plus, with the popularity of live gaming on the rise, and advancements in the tech these operators use, it means that live experiences are getting better all the time. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) means that the cameras can recognise card values. And chat functions let you speak to your dealer directly. And it’s this attention to detail that makes live gambling fun, safe and super exciting,
Live games vs. standard table games
If you love classic casino games, then you’ve probably already tried your hand at online table games. Roulette, blackjack and baccarat are casino staples. And with leading software developers bringing out incredible versions of these games, you can find fantastic variations on all your favourites; all with crisp graphics and seamless gameplay.
So why would you want to switch to live versions? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of live dealer casino games vs. classic online table games:
Pros of live gaming
First, let’s start with the benefits of live gaming. These include:
- Unique gaming experience: being able to chat with your croupier, and see them deal the cards, gives you all the thrills of being in a brick-and-mortar casino. The chat function also adds the human element that you might feel you’re missing from playing computerised games
- 100% fair gameplay: some people are suspicious of the software that digital games use. Even though RNGs produce random numbers and cards in online games, there’s something nice about seeing your cards dealt by a real person from a real deck. This peace of mind is why a lot of people prefer live versions of card games
- Instant access to games: unlike at a land-based casino, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a seat to free up at the table. And, with live gaming being so popular, it means that there’s a game starting almost every minute of the day. So you can play live games whenever you want
- Incredible game selection: casinos are bringing out new and exciting live versions of their games all the time. With classic table games, as well as game show games and other offerings, their arsenal of live games is growing every day!
- Specific bonuses for live players: some casinos actually offer bonuses for live games players. Pick up an offer and boost your bankroll with a cool bonus, just for playing on live games
Cons of live gaming
Now let’s take a look at the possible downside of playing live games:
- Slower gameplay: while the human touch is one of the best perks of playing live games with a real dealer and other players, it can also lead to slower gameplay. Waiting for other players to make a move, or for a new croupier to deal the cards isn’t as fast as playing digital versions
- Technical issues: with lots of high-end tech running the show, there’s always the chance that something can go wrong. Technical issues can be a pain, but don’t happen very often. And with staff on hand 24/7, any problems should be sorted out in a jiffy!
- No free play option: with most games at an online casino, you can find a demo version to play for free. This is a great way to try out new games without spending any money. However, live games don’t allow you to ‘try before you buy’, so you always have to deposit in order to play
- Higher minimum bets: some games let you play with pennies. But with live games, the minimum bets are set higher. Something to consider if you’re a low bettor
Types of live casino games
There are tons of live versions of classic games at the best live dealer sites. They are usually table games, as these lend themselves to the live experience more than others. We can’t imagine what live slots would look like!
Some of the most popular live games include:
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular live games in a little more detail:
Live dealer roulette
One of the most popular casino games on the planet is roulette. With its distinctive wheel and plenty of chances to win, roulette has been enjoyed by gamblers for literally centuries. And now, with live roulette, you can enjoy all the thrills of watching that wheel spin in real time with a real dealer.
Online live casino UK sites will have many versions that you can play. Of course, you’ll find the classic European game on most sites. But check out live roulette variations like American Roulette, Mini Roulette, Lightning Roulette and No Zero Roulette for a new and exciting experience.
Live dealer blackjack
Go head to head with the dealer in a game of live blackjack. Probably the other most popular casino game around, blackjack is so much fun to play. And because you are playing against the dealer, rather than other players, this game lends itself to live gaming especially well.
Live dealer Sic Bo
If dice games are more your thing, then check out live Sic Bo. This classic game of luck combines everything we love from a casino game.
Like roulette, Sic Bo is completely luck based, but you can be clever with your bets. Use combo bets to spread your chips. Or go all out and bet on a single outcome. Lots of fun to play, and with a live dealer, the experience is even more exciting.
Live dealer Hi-Lo
Another classic card game, Hi Lo is super easy and fun to play. Guess if the next card dealt will be higher or lower than the previous one. It doesn’t get more simple than that. This game is so popular that it spawned its own game show in the UK. And with a live version, you can feel like a contestant on The Price is Right!
Live dealer Baccarat
The beautiful game of baccarat is perfect for the live gaming experience. The lush green table and wooden paddles are all here. Try your hand at one of the amazing live dealer casinos on our lists, like Speed Baccarat, Baccarat Squeeze or even Progressive Baccarat, where you can win huge cash prizes.
More live dealer games
It’s not just the classic table games you can find at live casinos. Check out game show games, like Deal or No Deal, Mega Ball and Crazy Time. Even classic board games like Monopoly have been given the live treatment!
What to think about when selecting a live online casino
So, what should you look for in your next live gaming experience? Our experts recommend taking the following into consideration. So that you can get the most out of live gambling at an online casino:
Great selection of live games
If you want to play live games, then you want a casino that offers a great selection. Make sure the site you’re on has a wide variety of all the classics, like blackjack, roulette and baccarat. As well game show games.
UK sites work with some of the best games providers in the world. So also look for casinos that have a great catalogue, from providers such as Evolution Gaming, Playtech and Microgaming.
Specialised bonus offers
Some casinos offer specific bonuses for their live players. Check out their no deposit, deposit and reload bonuses, to pick up some extra cash to play with.
As with all bonuses, make sure you read and understand the T&Cs before signing up. And check our lists of trusted and reviewed casinos. We’ll keep you posted about online casinos in the UK, and their special bonuses for live games customers.
Reasonable bonus requirements
Another thing to consider is that the bonus you’re offered has reasonable bonus requirements. Make sure to look at the wagering requirements and game weighting attached, to see how these will affect your bonus. We recommend not taking on any bonus that has huge wagering and low game weighting. You can also check out our list of no wagering casino sites!
English speaking live dealers
If you play at a UK site, then you will have dealers that speak English. However, if you play at casino sites overseas, then you might find yourself faced with a language barrier. We recommend only playing at UK sites for many reasons. One of which is to guarantee that you don’t have any language problems which may interfere with your gameplay.
Another reason for playing at UK sites, is that they are all licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). All top casino sites in the country must be registered with the UKGC as a legal requirement. And it’s the UKGC’s job to regulate these sites and keep them safe for their customers. Always look for the UKGC logo on the site you’re on, to make sure it’s a legitimate and fully-licensed casino.
Live games RTP
Return to player (RTP) is the percentage of your original stake that the casino predicts you will get back if you play one game for long enough.
Every single casino game that you play online has its own RTP. And, luckily, live casinos have better RTPs than most other titles on the market.
RTP (Return to Player) Explained
As we’ve seen, RTP refers to ‘return to player’. And is the percentage that you should see back from your original stake, at least.
For example, if you see a game has an RTP of 95% and you put down a hundred pounds at the beginning of your session, by the end of play you should see back £95.
Obviously, we hope that you walk away with a lot more than you put in. But, RTP does provide an insight as to how much and how often a game pays out. And knowing that you are going to get back the majority of your original stake does make a difference when looking at which games to play.
Typically, the highest RTP games found at an online casino are classic table games. But, depending on which version you play, the RTP will change.
So, let’s take a look at the top 3 classic live table games that you can play, and their individual RTPs.
Blackjack has the highest RTP of any casino game around. Typically, you’ll be looking at at least 99% on most blackjack versions. But the highest RTP blackjack games around includes Playtech’s Unlimited blackjack, with 99.54%. Closely followed by Quantum Blackjack, also by Playtech, at 99.45%. And finally, Evolution Gaming’s Infinite Blackjack, with 99.51%.
Live roulette follows closely behind blackjack for the highest RTPs at online casinos. The RTP of roulette will change depending on the type of bet that you make. However, generally speaking, RTP for roulette goes on the basis of making outside bets, like odd/evens and red/black.
Some of the best RTP titles available at the moment include Evolution Gaming’s lightning roulette, and Playtech’s Quantum roulette. Both of these RTPs come in at around 97.3%.
Our third and final classic live title is baccarat. Again, how you bet on baccarat will dictate your winnings. But baccarat does still have a fantastic RTP. Evolution Gaming’s lightning baccarat, for example, has an RTP of 98.76%. Bringing it somewhere between blackjack and roulette.
Game developers for live gaming
Now that you know all about live games and their fantastic RTPs, it’s time to look at who makes the titles that we all know and love. These software developers work hard to provide the most sophisticated and innovative live games that we’ve ever seen.
So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best games providers on the planet, and see how they are improving live gaming for all of us.
As you may have noticed, a lot of the titles with the highest RTPs come from Evolution Gaming. This company has led the way in revolutionising live casinos and the way that we gamble.
Starting in 2006, Evolution is still pretty young, in terms of casino games providers. But that hasn’t stopped them from dominating the live sector. This multi-award-winning company now has other huge brands under their belt, including NetEnt, Ezugi and Big Time Gaming.
With all these experts working out of their offices, Evolution Gaming is able to produce some incredible titles. And their live catalogue includes many versions of blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and, more recently, the wildly popular Sic Bo.
NetEnt is probably best-known as a slots provider. Established in 1996, they are considered one of the most established casino games providers on the planet. More recently though, after being acquired by Evolution Gaming, they have also begun to produce some amazing live casinos. These include classic games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat. As well as incredible game show-inspired titles and other live games.
Extreme Live Gaming
Extreme live gaming came out in 2013. and it proved to be so popular upon its release that it was acquired by gaming giants Pragmatic Play a short time later. Since it became part of Pragmatic Play, Extreme Live Gaming has been responsible for some of the biggest smash hits in the live market.
Some of their most popular live titles include Golden Ball Roulette and Live Box, which is streamed live from a casino based in Gibraltar. Meaning that you get the most true-to-life experience possible from this incredible, Innovative and cutting-edge software developer.
Other notable game developers
The popularity of live gaming shows no signs of slowing down. And some other notable companies to keep an eye out for include Ezugi and Medialive, who are both hot on the heels of the more established providers. Our experts are keeping their ears to the ground, and listening out for the next big shake up in the live casinos arena!
Professional Live dealers
When it comes to live casinos, the dealers and croupiers are what make these games special. Not only are they there to deal your cards or spin the wheel, but they’re also integral to your enjoyment.
Therefore, when looking at any live casinos, our experts only recommend sites that employ professional, courteous and fully-trained staff. There’s nothing worse than losing a bet due to human error. Not to mention, it’s also not a very nice experience playing with a dealer who looks like they want to be somewhere else!
That’s why every site we list employs the best live dealers around. So that you know you’re getting the best possible experience with dealers and croupiers who genuinely love their jobs.
Find a dealer that you enjoy playing with
Overall, dealers you find at the top casino sites are all trained professionals. But, naturally, you’ll end up liking some more than others. Just like anything in life, you’ll be drawn to one or two dealers in particular.
Luckily, a lot of games providers have taken notice of this trend. And at a lot of casinos you can actually search for a live title by the dealer’s name. Meaning that you can play with your preferred dealer or croupier whenever they are working.
Mobile live casinos
For many years, the only way to access all the casino action was with a PC or laptop. But, that wasn’t exactly convenient when you wanted to play while out and about.
Thankfully, the coding geniuses from some of the top software companies created a solution that changed the industry for the better. It’s now possible to get all your favourite games, including live ones, right there on your phone wherever you may be.
All of the games that you were previously enjoying on a larger screen have been optimised and tweaked so that they adapt perfectly to the vast array of screen sizes on the market. And this also includes the amazing live games as well.
Obviously, your internet connection will greatly influence the quality of gaming that you can enjoy. So before you start, always ensure that you have a strong data signal.
And it’s not just the games that migrate seamlessly. Now, you will find all of your data and account details there in the palm of your hand. Game history and payment options etc., are also ready and waiting for you.
You don’t need to do anything special to take advantage of this incredibly powerful tech. In fact, you can simply log in to your casino account while on your mobile internet browser and get cracking! Although some sites aren’t content with a mere mobile version of their live games, so they have created dedicated apps that enhance the experience even further.
Let’s take a look at how the two ways to play on your mobile affect your experience.
Mobile web browser
Firstly, we have the standard browser format. But just because it is the simplest way to recreate the gambling action, that shouldn’t put you off.
Remember the days when you tried to load a website on your mobile and it was so small that you couldn’t even read it? Luckily, they don’t really exist in the gambling world anymore!
In order to make the jump to the smaller screens, a process called ‘mobile optimisation’ was necessary. The coders at the software companies went back to the drawing board and made a few changes. As a result the full webpage simply adapts to the device you are using and everything is visible and legible. It’s the same, but smaller!
There may be one or two changes here and there. For example, a full webpage may list all the games available as soon as you land on the full site. But the mobile version may have a dropdown list to save space. You get the idea.
Mobile casino app
Mobile optimisation is only one way to get the best live gaming action on your mobile. It may be the simplest method from a techy standpoint, but is it the best?
Some brands say no! And for that reason, they create apps that a user can download. What are the advantages? Well let’s have a look and see.
For sheer convenience, you can’t beat a little icon sitting right there on your phone. All you need to do is click on it and, voila!, you’re away.
Secondly, app designers have the ability to not only tweak the site from an aesthetic point of view. Dedicated applications are like a whole new website for them to play around with and create the ultimate user experience.
Optimising a web page requires settings to change as the device is recognised, and this can potentially cause a delay. It’s tiny, but these things matter to some people! Apps, on the other hand, function in a more efficient way.
The settings of an application will specifically match your operating system, such as Android, for example. This means that as soon as you click on the app, it knows exactly how to react and produce your best results in lightning-quick speed.
In conclusion, you could argue that a casino app is the better option for live play from a very technical point of view. However, as long as your device is fairly modern and your internet connection is solid, you should have a great experience either way.
For more information, visit our mobile casino section, to find the best mobile sites on the market.
iOS or Android?
Let’s face it, you’re not about to change from an iPhone to an Android phone just to get a better gaming experience. But the good news is, you don’t have to! Both Android and iOs offer superb experiences, whether you’re downloading an app directly to your mobile. Or if you’re using your phone’s internet browser.
New live casinos in the UK 2023
New live sites are appearing all the time but are they all worth playing? Not necessarily! The best way to know if a site deserves your attention is to see if they appear on a review site like ours.
We take the time to go through a brand’s credentials to ensure that they meet the grade. Players don’t have time to go through every last detail on each of the hundreds of sites around today. But fortunately for you, we do!
There are loads of different areas that make up a great new site and we go through everything with a fine tooth comb. If a casino appears on our site, then you know that we have given it a thorough evaluation.
The sheer volume of new sites may seem a little overwhelming for players, although it does mean that your custom is becoming more and more valuable by the day. And this means that they will bend over backwards to draw you towards their site.
This is great for us as gamblers. Not only does it increase the quality of the casinos out there, but also the deals they offer. You can land an awesome bonus for signing up to a new site and we’ll show you how. Have a look at our new casino sites recommendations for the latest bonuses.
Live casino bonuses
One of the best parts of playing live games at a casino is the bonuses you can pick up that will help you start your session with a bang. There are plenty of different bonus offers available that you can use for live games. So let’s take a look at them!
Welcome bonus offers
Welcome bonuses, also called welcome packages, can include more than one type of bonus. Generally speaking, welcome bonuses are extremely generous. Because they are designed to entice you to play at a site. Therefore, normally they’re the best deals you can get your hands on. As part of a great welcome offer you could be looking at a no deposit bonus or deposit bonus. Both of these are great options for live gaming, depending on your preferences.
No deposit bonuses
These are a great way to play games and try out a site for free. As you don’t need to pay into the casino to receive this bonus. Having said that, the amount that you will get in bonus cash will be low. But don’t forget, this is a gift from the casino. And you can play real-money games and win real cash prizes using a no deposit bonus.
Alternatively, you may be offered a deposit bonus instead. Deposit bonuses rely on you paying into the casino before you can unlock this deal. But they tend to be a lot more generous. For example, a match deposit bonus will see your deposit amount matched by, on average, 100% or 200%. Therefore, these bonuses are better for those who are willing to pay in a large amount.
Reload bonus offers
You could be forgiven for thinking that once you’ve used your welcome bonus offer that you won’t be extended any more promotions. Luckily that’s not true! Reload bonuses are given out to loyal customers who make more than one deposit at the same site. Literally, reloading! Therefore, you could receive yet another bonus by paying in a second, third or even fourth time at the same site.
Bonuses specific for live casinos
One of the best ways to promote a new live title is by giving out bonuses for players, so that they will try out the game. Therefore, when a casino releases a new live game, it’s very common to find bonuses specific to that game. Check out our live casino bonus page for more information.
To find these extra deals, you can sign up to the casinos newsletter. Which will tell you about any upcoming promotions, including bonuses for live games. Alternatively, you can check at the casinos website directly.
Wagering and game weighting
When making your decision as to which live dealer online casino offer you would prefer, you need to check the T&Cs.
It’s important to remember that the casino isn’t offering up free cash for you to withdraw. It’s there for you to play with and there are certain rules that apply.
The most prominent of these is the wagering requirements.
Money that enters your account as part of a welcome bonus will land in your bonus balance. This is generally separate from your live balance so as to avoid confusion.
Funds that are in your bonus balance will have to satisfy the wagering rules before you can withdraw them. The way you do this is very simple; you gamble! There will be a specific number of times that you need to play with the bonus cash and this is specified before you accept the deal.
Let’s say you deposit £20, for example, at a casino that offers a 100% deposit bonus. As a result, you now have £20 in your live balance and a further £20 in your bonus balance.
If there is a 20x wagering requirement, then you will have to play the £20 of bonus cash 20 times to complete your side of the bargain.
After that, any money that’s left will arrive in your live balance. It’s pretty simple really, but remember that there may be a limit on the winnings that you can receive.
Deposit & withdrawals for live gaming
Casinos that offer live gaming are some of the most sophisticated on the market. So, along with top titles on great websites, you also get the most modern ways to pay in and withdraw.
Nowadays, there are so many ways to pay into a casino site. And which one is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances. But what’s great, is that if your circumstances change from day-to-day, you can choose the most convenient option for you at the moment.
E-wallets are extremely popular among online casino enthusiasts. They provide extremely secure online payments. And you can get an account for free. Companies like Skrill, Neteller and PayPal let you use your username and password to make and receive payments. Meaning that you never have to give out sensitive information, like your card details, ever again.
Also, E-wallets are available in multiple currencies and different languages. And some companies offer you the chance to have a prepaid Mastercard. These cards are fantastic for setting yourself a budget and keeping an eye on your spending.
Just be aware that E-wallets will come with some fees attached to move your money around. So it’s worth checking out these extra charges before you open an account.
Literally every business online accepts Mastercard, VISA and other debit card payments. Generally free to use and very convenient, you don’t need to open any additional account to use your debit card. This means that debit card payments are one of the most popular on the planet. Plus, MasterCard and VISA are generally free to use, as long as you are depositing and withdrawing in your own currency.
That being said, for a lot of people giving out their card details online makes them feel uncomfortable. As it can leave you open to fraudulent activity. And nobody likes having to cancel their card! So, for the more safety-conscious gambler, E-wallets tend to be more popular.
Pay by mobile
There are now lots of ways for you to pay into a casino site using your mobile phone. For example, why not try out Boku? You can make payments using your mobile telephone number, instead of giving out your bank details. Or, take advantage of other services, like Payforit, which lets you use your mobile phone credit or end of month bill to deposit at casinos online.
But do keep in mind that, with most pay-by-mobile platforms, you won’t be able to withdraw your winnings back to the same source, i.e. your phone credit or bill. So you’ll need to link your casino account to your bank, card or e-wallet account as well. Plus, there are usually daily limits as to what you can deposit via these methods. So read the T&Cs first, to see what these are.
The old-school bank transfer is still a preferred payment method for people who don’t use internet banking. Safe and secure, wire transfers are easy to set up. And are usually free to do, unless paying in another currency.
However, of all the payment options around, bank transfers are definitely the slowest. And you could be waiting for upto 5 working days for your funds to clear. That being said, because they are easy, free and don’t require you to open any additional accounts, bank transfers remain popular with a lot of customers.
Staying safe when playing at live casinos
Keeping yourself safe online is essential. It will protect you from fraudulent activity, and improve your overall enjoyment of using online casinos.
So, have a look at our checklist of 3 ways that you can keep yourself safe while playing at any online casino in the UK.
Check for UK licence
The very first thing you should do before playing at any casino is look to see if they’re licensed to operate in the UK. Every gambling site in the country is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). And it’s a legal obligation to display the UKGC logo on their websites, as well as their licence number.
Therefore, when you look at a new site, make sure that you can see the UKGC logo and the company’s licence number. If you can’t see either of them, then you could be on an illegal site. And you should leave immediately.
Check for data encryption
Next up, make sure the casino you’re on has an SSL certificate. You don’t have to be techy to do this! Simply look at the search bar at the top of your screen and, where the website’s name is, there should be a small padlock symbol on the left. If this padlock is present, then that means the site you’re on is safe, and you don’t have to worry about any of your information being shared with third parties.
SSL encryption is imperative to your safety and enjoyment. And all reputable casinos will have the correct certificates in place. So, just take a quick glance to make sure that padlock symbol is there, and you’ll be good to go!
Do you have to worry about games being rigged?
There’s always been a bit of worry surrounding online games and if they’re rigged or not. A lot of people believe that, if a game is being run by a computer program, then the casinos can put something in the programming that means you never win. However, this simply isn’t the case.
Any computer-based casino games, e.g. online slots, are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs). And these RNGs cannot be accessed by the casinos. Therefore, cannot be interfered with at all by any third parties. This makes them pretty much impossible to rig. So you can relax in the knowledge that the games you’re playing are powered by a completely unbiased program that can’t be tampered with.
Play live games responsibly
So, now you know how to keep yourself safe online, in terms of protecting your info from potentially fraudulent third parties. But you must also keep yourself safe from someone else: you! It can be easy to get carried away with fun and exciting casino games. But this can lead to stress and financial problems, if you don’t play responsibly.
Therefore, check out our list of things to remember while playing at any real-money site. So that you can enjoy your time gambling, and not get yourself into any trouble.
Only make bets you are comfortable with
Making bets is part of the fun of gambling. And the possibility of a huge cash prize at the other end can lead us to make bets that might not be in our best interests. It can be easy to place bets that are bigger than you’d planned.
But you must remember to only ever make bets that are within your budget. And that won’t leave you short if they don’t come in. Only ever play with money that you can afford to lose. And, if a bet seems risky, don’t be tempted to go for it with cash that isn’t disposable. In short, only make bets that you’re comfortable with.
Set a timer for each gaming session
As the old saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. But losing track of time can lead to overspending and/or missing out on other important events in your life. Therefore, when you feel like having a session, set yourself a time limit. That way, you won’t get carried away and you’ll give yourself a time to stop. This will also help to avoid overspending. Don’t forget; you can always visit the casino another day!
Set up a monthly casino budget
Setting up a budget is the best way to manage your spending. If you give yourself a threshold, and are strict with yourself, then there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your sessions guilt-free.
You can do this by working out a budget yourself, or by getting a prepaid debit card, which you can load with funds specifically for gambling. These cards are a great way to avoid overspending, as once they hit zero you will have to reload. Which means you’ve hit your limit and you should stop playing.
Don’t chase to win back your losses
Chasing a loss is a sure-fire way to get yourself in financial trouble! If you’re down a few quid, it’s very tempting to try and claw it back by betting more. But this can lead to overspending very quickly. And, by chasing a loss, you could end up worse off than if you’d just walked away in the first place. Therefore, if you’ve had a couple of losses, then it’s time to stop. You can always go back to the casino another time.
Here are some frequently asked questions that our readers send us about UK live casino sites.