Live Dealer vs. Regular Online Casino Games: The Differences

min read
A person sits in front of their laptop and raises a fist in victory after winning an online live dealer roulette game.
BetMGM Sep 09, 2023, 11:28 AM

New and experienced online casino players may have heard about live dealer games, like live poker, that are becoming more popular. But what do these games have to offer, and how are they different from regular games? In this article, we explore what these games are and how they differ from each other.

Live Dealer Games Are Casino Games You Play Online

The first thing to understand is that live dealer games are a type of online casino game. That’s right, they’re a group of games that you can play at your favorite virtual casino. But what makes them different enough from regular virtual casino games to have people looking for an answer to this question? Learn the distinction between these two groups of games.

Live Dealer vs. Online Casino Games

In most online casino games, you’re basically playing a video game version of a game you would find in a casino, except you’re playing it on the internet. At least, that’s how it is at a glance. When you look a bit more closely, there are a few more subtle differences, which primarily have to do with how someone plays the game and how this experience has been translated to a digital screen.

Some casino games, such as slot machines, have required less work to move them onto virtual platforms, as a computer was already running them. Others, for example, table games like roulette and blackjack, were traditionally played in brick-and-mortar casinos using physical objects, which meant additional work was necessary to adapt and translate these games into a form that could work in the digital world. 

While there’s no doubt that parts of the experience are “lost in translation” across all casino games, it’s clear much more was lost for games that were played using real-world objects, such as cards, lottery wheels, or casino tables, compared to games that were computerized already. It’s this change that people notice, even if they do enjoy regular digital casino games.

But this is where live dealer games come in.

Two live dealer casino game hosts are ready to start their games.

What Are Live Dealer Games?

A live dealer game is an online game that a human dealer hosts. You get to watch the game hosted by a dealer in a private or open studio, or even in an actual casino itself, via an online video stream. You can interact with the game and the dealer via an online interface, but when it comes down to the game itself — be it roulette, poker, blackjack, or any other live game — everything else plays out the old-fashioned way. This is done to bring the experience of playing a live dealer game online as close to the traditional, land-based casino experience as possible.

While some people may argue that one experience is better than the other, the reality is live dealer and regular casino games both have their place. You can understand the differences in more detail by exploring their pros and cons.

Read on for a summary of the key differences between these live dealer and other virtual casino games.

Live Dealer Casino Games

Here are the key features of casino live dealer games.

Live Dealer Games Are Not Run Using RNG (Random Number Generator) Software

That’s right, there are no digital RNG algorithms to decide the outcome. The result of a game is decided by real luck, while a flesh-and-blood live dealer from the online casino, who hosts the casino game, is there to bear witness to your victory or defeat.

Live Dealer Games Are More Expensive

While live dealer games may come closer to offering a brick-and-mortar casino experience, it’s at a higher cost compared to other virtual casino games, which means the minimum wager is higher compared to RNG-based casino games. The reality is that it simply costs more to run casino table games with a real dealer. Whether you’re looking at costs to set up a studio with the games, lighting, camera equipment, and set, not to mention the dealer themselves or what you need to pay to keep the game going, live dealer casino games will always cost more than their RNG-operated counterparts.

Live Dealer Games Offer More Social Value and Can More Entertaining

The future where computer AI can banter with you is still far away — never mind one where AI can run a casino game and engage in fun conversation. Until this AI breakthrough becomes a reality, live dealer games will remain the only way to enjoy the more social and entertaining aspect of casino games online.

The Dealer Runs the Game

In many software-run casino games, you can take a break, head off to do something else, and come back to continue playing after a few minutes (or even longer, depending on the game.) In a live dealer game, most actions have time limits to help the dealer keep the game going.

Some Live Dealer Games Give You the Option to Tip

Just like their real-world counterparts, some live dealer games give you the option to leave a tip for your host when you’re done playing. 

Regular Digital Casino Games

Below are the key features of regular digital casino games.

The Results of Games Are Decided by Software Algorithms

Most digital casino games, from online slots to online roulette and even online poker, use RNG to decide their outcome. While these algorithms are accurate and fair, not everyone likes this style of gambling.

Regular Games Are More Affordable

One of the major benefits of regular, software-managed casino games is that they’re cheaper to run, making them more affordable. Depending on the game, players can gamble with as little as a few cents.

Software-Run Games Can Be Much More Solitary Affairs

When you play a normal online casino game, you’ll immediately notice the atmosphere is completely different due to the lack of social interaction with real people. Even games that have many players and some form of online chat will have less vibrant energy and atmosphere than a full live dealer experience.

Your Favorite Game Is Available 24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week

Software-run casino games don’t need to rest, so you can play them whenever you want. While a live dealer game may also run 24/7, your favorite dealer will — of course — not always be running it, simply because they don’t work the whole time.

You Control the Game

When you’re playing online roulette or another regular digital casino table game without other players, it’s you who sets the pace. You can take your time deciding your bets, stop to enjoy a much-needed break, or check out something else on your computer or offline, all without worrying about anyone else. By contrast, if you’re playing at a live dealer table, even if alone, the dealer still manages the game’s flow.

Many Digital Casino Games Are Very Quick

If you’re looking to play a certain number of hands/spins of blackjack, roulette, or another table game, and you’re short on time, you’re probably better off playing a regular digital casino game. These games are designed to allow you to get in more rounds than you would playing at a live dealer equivalent.

Types of Live Dealer Casino Games

When it comes to live dealer online casinos, there are a variety of classic games you can play for an authentic, engaging online casino experience. Some of the most popular include the following.

Live Caller Bingo

A dynamic rendition of traditional bingo, live dealer bingo introduces a real-time caller who declares the drawn numbers to players trying to complete their cards, enhancing the communal spirit of bingo in the digital realm.

Live Dealer Craps

With live dealer dice games like craps, instead of you clicking a button to roll the dice (as you would with regular online dice games) the dealer becomes the shooter and will roll the dice for you, creating a more in-person gambling experience.

Live Dealer Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino card games played today, in large part because it has one of the lowest house edges. With the live variant of online baccarat, you play the game just like you would if you were sitting at a table in a physical casino. You compete against the live dealer to determine whose hand will have the higher value, betting on which hand will win or whether it will be a tie. If you enjoy the game and have a solid understanding of how it’s played, you could try your luck at Live Speed Baccarat, which is played the same way but a lot faster, so you can play more hands in a shorter period of time. 

Another version of live baccarat is Baccarat Squeeze, which, while similar to the traditional variant, includes a small twist. The word “squeeze” references how cards are bent in order to tease players with what the value of the card might be. Because you can’t bend cards when playing online, different camera angles are used to achieve this aspect of the game with Live Baccarat Squeeze. 

Live Dealer Blackjack

Engage in Live Dealer Blackjack and interact with a real dealer, mirroring the experience of playing at a physical casino. These games allow players to speak to the dealer and other players as they strive to beat the dealer’s hand in this classic card game. 

Live Dealer Poker

The social aspects of poker — sitting at a table, reading tells, and communicating with other players and the dealer — always elevate the gameplay. Players may worry that these aspects will be lost with online poker, or that live dealer games won’t stack up to the experience. However, with live dealer poker, the very essence of interactive engagement comes alive through an array of camera feeds and vibrant chat rooms that replicate the lively exchanges of a physical table. And, just like physical casinos offer various types of poker, live dealer poker casinos offer an assortment of variants that cater to the diverse preferences of avid players.

Live Dealer Roulette

This is one of the most common live dealer games offered at online casinos. With Live Dealer Roulette, a real dealer spins the wheel, recreating the suspense of the casino. You can watch as the ball navigates the pockets and feel the excitement of the game’s outcomes with this timeless casino classic.

Live Dealer or Online Casinos: Which Is Better?

A young woman sits on her couch playing games on her tablet.

Live dealer casino games are rising in popularity, but whether live casino games will ever completely take over online and offline gambling is up for debate. Both live dealer and regular casino games come with their advantages and disadvantages and have a lot to offer players, depending on their particular needs. And the good news is that the best online casinos usually have both on offer, so you don’t have to worry about choosing between these two great casino experiences — you can try both and make up your own mind.

Enjoy Live Dealer and Other Online Casino Games at BetMGM

No matter what sort of gameplay experience you’re looking for, with BetMGM, you can choose whether you’d like to play live dealer games, regular online casino games — or both. At BetMGM’s online casino, you can enjoy some of the best live dealer casino games available, such as Live Blackjack, American Roulette, and even live lottery-style games, including Dream Catcher, as well as online games like slots, table, and variety games. Register at BetMGM to start playing your favorite games, and maybe discover some new ones too.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.