One of the biggest online entertainment trends of the past few years has been the emergence of live dealer games. Designed to create an immersive and authentic experience, these take the setting, atmosphere, and excitement of a brick-and-mortar casino and transplant it into the player’s home.
Bringing in billions of dollars in revenue for the online casino industry, these live games have managed to successfully bridge the gap between real-world and virtual play, and there is some very special tech underpinning them.
We take a look at how this is used to bring traditional games like blackjack and roulette into the heart of homes around the world.
Optical character recognition technology (OCR)
The most vital piece of tech used in live casino games is OCR. Let’s say that you want to play live casino games online at a site like Betfair. Unsurprisingly, many players like live casino games due to the level of interactivity it offers. Here, you have a choice of lots of different options, from roulette and blackjack to monopoly and baccarat. All of these, however, are reliant on OCR.
First used in the ’90s, OCR was developed to digitize newspapers and other paper-based documents. It avoided the need to retype these, saving time and effort. It could convert various types of analog information, such as hand-written letters and printed news articles, and store these in a digital format.
However, in live casino games, its purpose is rather different; here, it captures what’s happening in the studio and streams this to players’ mobiles and desktops. OCR is therefore rapidly replacing the more cumbersome technology that preceded it, which required casinos to use either minute computer chips or barcodes.
The upsides to OCR compared to its predecessors are numerous and include increased efficiency, a higher degree of accuracy when sharing real-time updates, and ease of use.
To work at an optimal level, optical character recognition technology needs enough light to correctly identify information. For this reason, live dealer studios often boast premium quality lighting setups to rival those found on the sets of high-budget Hollywood movies.
For example, Evolution Gaming swapped halogen lighting for a setup designed by Photon Beard, who usually manufacture lighting equipment for television and movie sets. This is fluorescent and provides much more powerful illumination than standard lighting equipment.
Game control units
Most studios also invest in something known as a game control unit, which encodes game-related information and provides dealers with a sort of visual support system. This means gameplay is made smoother and more efficient, with a special sensor or scanner translating info such as dealt cards into a digital medium.
The software installed in these units processes this data and then displays it in the user interface. This shows important information such as winning numbers to consumers and automatically updates to show them whether they’ve won or lost, for example.
Last but not least, the all-essential webcams. These are used to give players a glimpse into the room and to make them feel as if they’re present in it. Various camera angles are utilized to conjure this illusion and to build an immersive and engaging experience.
When a player joins a table, several cameras show them the game from different angles, panning in on the dealer, the gaming equipment, and so on. Some setups feature around 20 different cameras to create the ultimate virtual experience.
Tell us, did you enjoy your glimpse into the clever and complex world of online gaming and the technology that underpins it?