Once a clunky, slow and painful experience, live casino is fast becoming the go to attraction of online casinos. With much better live casino games, a bigger choice of live dealers, and enhancements to casino games themselves, playing at an online live casino nowadays is pretty close, in terms of enjoyment, to playing at the real thing.
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- 8 best live casinos in the UK
- 8 best live casinos in Canada
- 8 best live casinos for Rest of World players
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What exactly is live casino?
Essentially live casino is as close to playing at a real casino that you're going to get, online. Imagine walking into a casino lobby, the vast swathes of table games in front of you, each table surrounded by real people playing their favourite casino games.
Well, that's what live online casinos are like, kind of. Casino lobbies have been recreated. Tables with a selection of casino games like Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat are positioned in front of cameras that broadcast the table through the internet and onto your screen.
Smartly dressed live dealers stand behind the tables as you'd expect in a real casino, and they communicate with you whilst you're at the table. Obviously there's loads of high tech things going on behind the scenes that assist the croupier in knowing who's at the table, how many players are ‘sat' there, whose turn it is to bet, how much each player has bet, who's just won, etc.
Effectively, the screen setup is augmented reality (AR). The table is real, the cards are real, the dealer is real, the sounds are real, but your chips are virtually displayed, as is the user interface.
An onscreen ‘control panel' allows you to make bet decisions and communicate with the live dealer.
All cards that get slipped out of the deck are scanned face down allowing the system to advise you on your hand. This also allows the system to calculate your hand in order for you to be able to make a quicker decision as to what you want to do next.
In the case of Roulette, cameras are carefully positioned in key angles to ensure that nothing is out of site for you at any time.
This is serious casino, and no discrepancy can be allowed.
The live casino lobby
Click into your online casino's ‘Live Casino‘ section and you'll find yourself in the lobby. All available live casino games will show here. Scan through and see what tickles your fancy.
Once you've decided on your chosen game, simply enter it. You'll arrive at the table and immediately know if it's just you or if other players are also present. (It's great when you have other live players there that you can go head to head with, or indeed work with the beat the house.) ‘Sit down', get acknowledged by the dealer and you're ready to start playing.
Make sure that a) you're aware of the rules of the game before you join it and b) that you've got funds in your account before you start placing chips.
Where to claim a live casino bonus
Online casinos all normally offer a separate welcome bonus to new players looking to play live casino. This is normally over and above the welcome bonus that you'd receive joining the casino in the first place.
A pretty standard live casino bonus would be a 100% deposit match bonus, up to a certain amount. For example at LeoVegas live casino (playing from the UK) you'd receive £100 free over 2 deposit match bonuses. This means that your deposit is matched 100% each time.
Remember all online welcome bonuses tend to come with wagering requirements. So always make sure you've read the terms and conditions before you make your first deposit.
Live casino games
Pretty much any table game that you'd find in a real land based casino can be found in live casino format online. Obviously the most popular games being Roulette and Blackjack are very well catered for, not only as traditional games but in souped-up versions of them too.
Wins can be massive as well – mainly due to the multipliers and the number of people that can play at any one time.
You'll also find Craps and Baccarat, Sic Bo, Casino Hold'em, Mega Wheels and game show style casino games such as Gonzo's Treasure Hunt Live (as well as other spin offs of existing popular online slots games).
Some online casinos offer bigger and better live casino than others. Lucky for you we've broken down the very best live casinos for UK players and the best live casino for Canadian players in separate articles.
Live Roulette games
One of the most popular live casino games without contention is live Roulette, and if you're not sure where to head once you hit the casino lobby, Roulette is always a good one to get you warmed up and settled in.
You'll find a large selection of live dealer casino games in the Roulette section of most casinos. Clearly a favourite amongst players. Live dealers await you here at the tables 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Choose from the regular variation of the game or go for a modified version of it like Lightning Roulette, powered by Evolution Gaming, or Quantum Roulette. Both these games are enhanced versions of Roulette offering massive multipliers for potential big wins.
Most casino lobbies offer Roulette table games with high stakes options and lower stakes options meaning players with varying budgets can find a level that suits them.
Live Blackjack games
Quite possibly the most popular casino table game, live Blackjack is also extremely well provided for in the online world. As with Roulette, this live casino game comes in loads of different shapes, sizes and variations to keep your interest piqued.
This experience is as close to being in a real casino as you're going to get. It's a more intimate affair than Roulette and you can make your money go a lot further, especially when other players are at the table helping to bust the dealer.
As a player you'll be assisted with options available to you at all times like insurance, side bets, splitting, doubling down, backing other players at the table. So you'll never miss an opportunity to cash in more than you otherwise would have done.
What's more, the system will calculate your hand for you, leaving you with the sole decision of whether you want to hit or stand. All cards dealt by the live dealer are scanned face down as they come out of the deck eliminating any potential discrepancies.
You'll find high stakes and low stakes live Blackjack tables available as well.
Weighing in behind Roulette and Blackjack is live Baccarat. Another popular casino game that involves you beating the house.
Although a traditional slow paced casino game, Evolution Gaming has released a version of Lightning Baccarat which introduces RNG (random number generator) tech into the game. Lightning cards are injected into the pack which carry huge multipliers. This adds not only excitement to the game but the potential for some huge wins if you get lucky.
To give you an example of the kinds of multipliers you can see from live Lightning Baccarat:
If you're lucky enough to get dealt 3 matching Lightning Cards, you're looking at a return of 512x your stake. (8 x 8 x 8). A ten pound bet will return more than £5,000.
But it doesn't stop there. If you get dealt a tied winning bet with 6 matching Lightning Cards the multiplier becomes over 250,000x. (Capped at €500k plus your bet.)
Live casino vs. real life casino
So the big question, what's the difference between online live casino and real life casinos? It's like anything virtual vs. real. Despite the advances that have been made in live casino game technology and the ingenuity of the game designers and software developers behind everything, online live casino is simply not the real thing.
The sounds, sites, people, smells – free drinks! – the mingling and making table buddies over an all night session are all missing from the online version.
However, online live casino is as close to the real thing that you're going to get. And what's still there is the rush, the increased heart rate, the desire to beat the house. And of course these are real money casinos meaning that if you win, you win real cash.
The money is anything but virtual and ultimately that's what it's all about.
Be careful that you never spend too long gambling and always gamble responsibly. This is a highly addictive past time that needs to be kept fun and under control.
The 8 best live casinos in the UK 🇬🇧
Whilst we're putting together a detailed list of the best sites where you can play live casino games in the UK (all regulated by the UK Gambling Commission) and why, we've shortlisted out contenders below. All featured casinos offer an excellent selection of casino table games and new player welcome bonuses:
- LeoVegas – Offer: £100 in deposit match bonuses for new live casino players
T&Cs apply. New reg only. 2 deposits eligible. 7 days to opt in & deposit £10, £25 or £50. 7 days to wager cash stakes on live casino games 75x. Wagering contributions vary. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
- Play Frank – Offer: £100 in deposit match bonuses for new players
New players only. Min deposit £20. Bonuses to a max of £100 + 50 bonus spins. Wagering bonus 35x. Wagering bonus spins 35x. The winnings must be wagered within 21 days. Bonus T&Cs apply.
- Betfred Casino – Offer: 5 Golden Chips when you stake £20 on live casino
New Casino customers only. £10 min transfer & stake on slots within 7 days. Min 5 game rounds. Max 50 Free Spins on selected games, credited within 48 hours of qualifying. Free Spins expire after 7 days. E-Wallet & Pre-Paid card restrictions apply. SMS validation may apply. Full T&Cs apply.
- Bet365 Casino – Offer: £100 in new player live casino bonuses
Deposit min. £10. Max. bonus £100. 20x wagering (game weighting, table coverage and max. bet rules apply) on deposit and bonus to make the bonus balance withdrawable. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
- Casino Planet – Offer: 100% deposit match up to £100 for live casino new players
18+ Promotional T&C's Apply New players only. £10 min deposit. £30 max bet using bonus. 40x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. Skrill + Neteller excluded. www.begambleaware.org
- Genesis Casino – Offer: 100% deposit match up to £100 for live casino new players
18+ Promotional T&C's Apply New players only. £10 min deposit. £30 max bet using bonus. 40x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. Skrill + Neteller excluded. Max Bonus £100 – www.begambleaware.org
- 888 Casino – Offer: 100% deposit match up to £100 for live casino new players
1st deposit only • £20 min deposit • Claim within 48 hrs • Valid for selected games • Bonus wins capped at £500, excl. JP wins • 30x wagering – req. vary by game • Bonus expires within 90 days • Payment method & country restrictions apply • Withdrawal terms & T&Cs apply.
- 32Red – Offer: £10 FREE no deposit slots bonus when you join as a new player
18+ begambleaware.org. New accounts only. Max. withdrawal £100. 50x wagering, game contributions vary, max stake applies. 7 day expiry. See full terms.
Live Casino bonus offers available for UK players right now 🇬🇧
Whilst in the list above we highlight some of the best live casinos, generally, available to UK players, below we've short listed specific welcome offers that are pretty hot at this point in time. Check them out.
The 8 best live casinos in Canada 🇨🇦
For players in Canada the choice of live casino is off the charts. Lucky for you guys you not only have multiple casinos where you can play live casino games, but you also have some huge new player welcome offers aimed directly at players looking to play live casino:
- bet365 – Offer: Get a new player bonus of up to $200
- Casino Planet– Offer: Up to C$1,500 bonus & 200 free spins
- JackpotCity Casino– Offer: C$1,600 in deposit match bonuses
- 888 Casino– Offer: Double your money: 100% Up to $200 + $88 in no deposit casino credit
- King Billy Casino– Offer: C$1,500 or 5 BTC + 200 additional free spins
- Genesis Casino– Offer: C$1,000 new player bonus + 300 additional free spins
- Play Frank– Offer: $300 welcome bonus + 200 free spins on Starburst slot!
- Vegas Hero– Offer: C$1,000 + 50 free spins for new players joining
The 8 best live casinos for Rest of World players 🌍
For players located all over the world, live casino is rife for you guys too. Depending on where you're playing from and the local laws in your country, the selection of casinos below will allow you to play if you are able to successfully join as a new member. So give it a shot:
- Casino Planet
- JackpotCity Casino
- 888 Casino
- King Billy Casino
- Genesis Casino
- Play Frank
- Vegas Hero