This week, Ladbrokes launched a new live casino product in partnership with Playtech, which it hopes will help it corner the live casino market. Live casino tables aren’t a new addition to the online and mobile gambling landscape – it’s been almost five years since we started seeing them appearing in earnest – but with lower costs and higher bandwidths, more casinos than ever before are offering casino table games with live croupiers.
What was once a luxury item to find at a casino has now become just another games tab you can expect to find at any casino of any decent size. This all really raises a big dilemma for casinos who are trying to set themselves apart when it comes to their game offering. Just how do you make your live dealer options stand out? There are lots of different thoughts on this out there and we thought we’d look at how two casinos – Ladbrokes and 888 Casino – are trying to combat this problem.
Ladbrokes Casino – Let Players Chat
The newest player on the ‘speciality live dealer’ pitch is Ladbrokes, who, although having launched their first live dealer games some time ago, is making an awfully big deal out of the new launch. Although the casino – and Playtech, the developer behind the new games – sites “new studio design and a better app functionality” as improvements made in this new release, it’s undeniable that the change most players will notice first is the addition of player-to-player customised chat.
While players have always been able to communicate with chat hosts and in some games have been allowed to talk to each other with stock phrases (‘Good Hand’, ‘Nice Play’ etc.), this is the first time they’ll be able to say what they want to each other. The hope is, of course, that this will increase engagement in the game and make player spend more, but jury’s out on whether it’ll just get nasty real quick.
888 Casino – Offer A Luxury Experience
A couple of months ago, 888 Casino launched its brand new Elite Live Casino Lounge. This was by no means the casino’s first foray into live casino gambling, but what it represented was a shift towards a new form of live casino gambling where it’s seen as a luxury and exclusive space to gamble. The lounge may have only been open a few weeks, but it’s already proving popular with players looking for something a little more exclusive and exciting.
The key features of the lounge are the late night openings, the high limit games, the high quality (good looking?) hosts and the exclusive promotions which could be enjoyed there. While it’s technically open to all players, it’s geared towards attracting high spending individuals, who enjoy risk and expect a bit more of a luxurious virtual environment when they play.
Are Live Tables Really The Future?
One thing we haven’t touched on yet (and a topic that could fill a whole post in its own right) is whether all this investment is really worth it. Do players really want live tables? Is this really the trajectory online gambling is taking? What happens when virtual reality really takes off?
While it seems an increasing number of players are opting to play at live dealer tables, there’s also increasingly questions being asked about the fairness of using real croupiers in online games. Earlier this year, video surfaced which appeared to show a live dealer in a video feed switching the order of cards in a game of blackjack, causing the player to lose a high value hand. If instances like this continue to erode player trust in live dealers, do they really have a future?
As for the virtual reality question, the jury is really out. On one hand, it could be argued that brand new possibilities for graphic representations of computer generated hosts with artificial intelligence will make live casino hosts obsolete within a few years. On the other hand, you could envision – as is already happening in some places – live dealers having their images beamed into virtual spaces to be part of the VR game. All this is yet to be seen — what an exciting time to be a mobile gambler!