Live Dealer vs Regular Online Casino Games: The Differences

min read
BetMGM May 06, 2021, 5:00 AM
A group of golden dice and black casino chips fly away from a bright light.

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

Live dealer games are a casino game that 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 us looking for an answer to this question? Let’s more clearly define 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.

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.

The key differences between live dealer and other online casino games

While some people may argue that one experience is better than the other, the reality is live dealer games and regular casino games both have their place. Let’s unpack their pros and cons to understand this in more detail.

Let’s summarize the key differences between these live dealer and other virtual casino games:

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 dealer 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 games will always cost more than their RNG-operated counterparts.
  • Live dealer games offer much more social value and can be far more entertaining – We are very far from a world where computer AI can banter with you, let alone 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 play 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

  • 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 owing 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, 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 limited for 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.

Match the casino game type to your needs

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

There you have it. Both of these categories of 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 your own mind up!

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 our online casino, you can enjoy a variety of live dealer games such as Live Blackjack, American Roulette, and even live lottery-style games, including Dream Catcher, as well as online casino 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"
About the Author


Read More

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.