Most gamblers will tell you that there is no substitute for the live casino experience — the excitement, the chatter, and the sounds of chips stacking up all add to the atmosphere that casino fanatics love.
While playing online casino games is normally a solitary affair, many gambling sites are now bringing the live experience to patrons via Live Dealer games, where players make bets via their computer or mobile device while interacting with real-life dealers in real time through a live feed.
On this page, we detail what games are available in the format, where you can get in on the action, and much more!
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In Which States Can I Play Live Dealer ?
Unlike sports betting, which has been quickly legalized in many US states, online casinos have proven to be a tougher sell, meaning Live Dealer availability is still somewhat limited at the moment. Many states are currently looking at the possibility of legalizing online casinos, meaning more states could come into the fold in the near future.
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|West Virginia||June 2022|
Whether or not Live Dealer can be offered in a state which has legal online casino gaming is determined by how the regulations are written. But seeing how popular the games have become, it’s unlikely that any state would not want to allow sites to offer the format to patrons. Notably, Delaware, Connecticut, and West Virginia all have legal online casino gaming available but have not yet launched Live Dealer tables. Live Dealer games are approved in those states however, and we expect them to eventually hit the market.
US Sites Offering Live Dealer
With the surge in popularity of Live Dealer games, many gaming providers have started to add this game type to their platform. Spreading Live Dealer has become the rule, and no longer the exception. Live Dealer gives you that immersive feel that you normally only get in a live casino setting, but without the need to get in your car and drive to a retail location. Nearly every online casino based in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan offers the service, so here is a list of some of our personal favorites.
Top 10 US Live Dealer Casinos
Why Play Live Dealer?
Live Dealer games combine the best of playing online and gambling in a live setting. You’ll get the comfort and privacy of playing from your own home combined with the heart pumping experience of taking the casino floor. There is a reason why these games are called LIVE. Everything happens in real-time, a real human being is dealing the cards to you, and other players get to participate at the same time as well.
What is it Like to Play Live Dealer Games
So let’s take a look at the complete Live Dealer experience.
First, you’ll enter a site offering Live Dealer games and click on the Live Dealer option, then browse through the games displayed in the live lobby, exactly as you would scope out a game on the casino floor. Once you find your game of choice, click on it and you will be whisked away to a table that has an open seat. Some games are played with other casino customers and some are not, while some games provide chat features similar to talking to your table mates in a retail casino.
Bets are all made digitally, so the game moves quickly with no actual chips involved. Thanks to this, there are never going to be any missed or erroneous payouts. You can walk away whenever you want and that long ride from the casino is now just a short walk from your couch to the kitchen.
Throughout the session, feel free to talk to the dealer or other players at the table, who should be happy to respond while you gamble.
Playing Live Dealer on your computer or mobile device offers much of the fun and excitement of the retail casino experience. It’s all the same bets and same rush of excitement after a big win but without the crammed seating and smoky environment of a live venue.
Live Dealer Game Selection
When you launch a Live Dealer lobby, you’ll find many, if not most of the table games you would see at a retail casino. That means you’ll have a wide range of options to choose from, whether it be on the go on your mobile device or sitting comfortably at home on your laptop or desktop computer.
Here’s a rundown of the most popular Live Dealer games on offer at most sites.
Blackjack players will feel right at home at a live dealer blackjack table. Almost everything is exactly the same except all bets are taken digitally. A few things to note about live dealer blackjack are:
- As mentioned above, all bets are taken digitally, which saves time and takes out the element of dealer errors.
- Players are given plenty of time to make all decisions, and easily hit, stay or double down by clicking on the options on the screen.
- Payouts and balances are clearly displayed on the screen.
- Blackjack pays 3:2, same as in any retail US casino.
- Most games are played with an 8 deck shoe, unless otherwise noted.
- Dealers hit on soft 17.
- Double down on any two cards is allowed.
- You can split pairs.
Depending on what casino and game you choose to play on, there can be side bet variations such as lucky ladies, crazy 7s, and more.
What happens when the table is full?
Blackjack is an extremely popular game, and the seats are limited at Live Dealer studios, so what happens when the table is full?
Casinos have solved this issue by offering special features which allow players to participate even when all the seats have been taken. The Bet Behind feature, for example, allows an unlimited number of gamblers to place bets based on the play of specific players at the table.
So, you might bet $10 on a hand of blackjack, but it would be at the mercy of whatever your chosen player decides to do during that hand. That said, make sure you choose a reasonable player to put your money behind, or you might become victim to them making some pretty bad decisions.
Once a free seat opens up, you’ll be asked if you’d like to join the main table. Even when you are sitting at the table, though, you can still choose to bet behind other players if you’d like.
Live Dealer roulette is the same game that you would find in any retail casino, but just as with blackjack, all bets and payouts are made digitally, so the action moves much faster. Bet minimums are typically lower in Live Dealer roulette than they would be in a retail casino, sometimes starting as low as $1.
There are often a few different kinds of Live Dealer roulette. Casino Floor Roulette essentially lets you join a table that’s actually located on the casino floor. There’s a real dealer, right in the middle of the casino gaming space, running a pretty standard roulette game that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. This is the more interactive choice. Players will also see Live Auto Roulette offered in some instances, which actually forgoes the live dealer. You still get the video stream and a real, tangible wheel to sweat, but it’s all automated. The wheel will automatically reset itself and spin around once per minute, making it one of the quicker “live” gaming options.
Once bets are placed, the white ball is released inside the roulette wheel and players will watch where it falls. Winning players will receive their payouts directly inside their online casino account, almost instantly.
The games mentioned above are typically the most popular Live Casino games offered by online gambling providers. But the action doesn’t stop there, as many operators offer a wide range of games to choose from such as:
- Three Card Poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Casino Hold’em
- Wheel Games
- Let it Ride
Not every online gaming provider has the same offerings. You can browse through their site first to see if they have the games that you want to play before signing up.
Live Dealer Studios
There are a number of Live Dealer studios located around the world, but the two main players which have been regulated for the US market are Ezugi and Evolution Gaming. In fact, Evolution acquired Ezugi in a deal that was finalized in 2019, giving Evolution a firm grip on the US market.
While Live Dealer studios may be located in one casino, such as Golden Nugget for example, other competing casinos have struck partnership deals so that they can offer the same studio space.
Once Evolution Gaming acquired Ezugi, they essentially became the top dog in the US market. So far, Evolution has been able to dominate the US with their safe, secure, and attractive studio set ups, where they can stream to anyone looking to get in on the action.
They are now viewed as one of the top providers in the US in terms of gaming software. Besides that, Evolution also specializes in creating studio environments that include custom cards, uniforms, and gaming hardware that are then branded to fit any casino.
Ezugi may now be a part of Evolution Gaming, but they were the original studio that broke into the US market. With a stellar platform, they became one of the first studios to legally provide live dealer games to US players.
Their games became an instant hit immediately upon release. Two casinos started using their services from the first day and others joined in rather quickly. In fact, casinos needed to add additional tables due to the huge popularity that Ezugi games initially had.
Using Live Dealer to Clear Bonuses
Depending on the welcome bonus and online casino provider, some will allow you to use live dealer, some will not, and some bonuses may be exclusively for live dealer games. As a general note, clearing a bonus with regular games like slots is much easier than doing it through Live Dealer games. All bonuses have wagering requirements, which essentially means that users looking to secure the bonus will have to wager a certain amount on specific games in order to cash out the bonus funds.
Percentages are given on these types of games that are counted towards clearing the bonus, meaning that 100% of your play may not go toward the requirement. For example, if you had a $100 1x bonus, and played slots that count 100% towards wagering requirements, you would only need to wager $100 on slots to convert that $100 bonus money to cold hard cash. If the site specifies that Live Dealer blackjack only counts 20%, you would need to wager 5x that amount, meaning $500 in Live Dealer blackjack wagering would be required.
Finding the best way to clear bonuses involves taking all things into account, like qualifying bets, caps, and exclusions. Be sure to read all the terms and conditions before getting started, or read our online casino reviews where we break down all the best bonus offers and terms for each casino.