Online Casino vs Live Casino – 5 Main Differences

Here at PlayRight, we love to point you in the direction of the very best casinos that are packed with the best games. However, with so many out there on the internet, it can be difficult to track down the right type for you.

While many will differ in the styles of game they might offer or the promotions available for you to pick up, there is something that can define them quite well. Are they an online casino, or a live one?

Sharon McFarlane
Sep 29 2021

Of course, a live casino still exists in the online digital space, but we will be referring to them as these two terms to create a distinction between them. When you head to a casino online, you need to know whether you are playing at a live casino or just an ordinary one.

Want to know more about these two types of casinos, and which one could be right for you? Here are five main differences you will find when playing at online and live casinos!

A stack of poker chips and a card hand of A,K

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Using Random Mathematics and Using Dealers

We should maybe start by looking a little closer at the setup of the games themselves. What is a live casino? After all, aren’t all casino games technically “live” in their own way? The fundamental difference here actually comes into the presentation of the game and the tech behind it.

A game presented by a top online casino UK players love to visit will be a closed game with just the one player. Any other “players” in the game might just be dummy hands played by an artificial intelligence, and this AI will also act as the dealer for the game. Many of the best online casinos such as bgo will offer plenty of these games for players to enjoy.

How do you verify that the AIs for these games are actually fair, and that you are playing a good game? This comes in through the random number generator, or RNG, a piece of complicated mathematics that ensures that these games are, in fact, random.

This is very different from those games used in a live casino. Here, a real person will be in charge of the game. When you decide to play a live casino game, you will be joining a live stream of a dealer in a casino studio somewhere in the world. They will deal you into the game, and will shuffle cards, spin the roulette wheel, and make any other moves that the game requires – just as if you were in a casino in Las Vegas or Monte Carlo!

a hand throws a pair of Kings onto a felt gaming table

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Types of Games You Could Try

When you initially look at the selection of games on offer at the best online casino and its live counterpart, you will often find a lot of crossover between the types of game on offer. These types of casinos will offer the classic table games that you will often find in their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Blackjack, roulette, and baccarat are some of the games that you will find here, for both online and live casinos. It is not uncommon for brands like bgo or some of our other favourites like 777 Casino to offer a bit of both.

What you will tend to find is a difference in the variations of game on offer. For online casino games, it is not uncommon to see the same game offered time and time again but with each iteration having slightly different rules. This is very common at online casinos that offer poker. It is really easy to add different handicaps and rules to poker variations like Texas Hold’em and Omaha. This then allows players to select precisely the game that they want to play.

Live casino games were not nearly so varied, but as this style of game has grown in popularity so has the types of game on offer. In addition to the classic table games, you might be able to find Wheel of Fortune or Monopoly-based games that very much offer a different style of play compared to traditional table games.

What the Games are Like to Play

If you decide that you want to play at a live casino online, you will quickly find that it is an experience not too dissimilar to that of being in a land-based casino. It is you and the dealer, and a game board just like the one you would see if you were playing with them on the casino floor.

If you were playing roulette, the wheel and the table would be there in front of the dealer. Games like blackjack and baccarat would have the rules written on the felt as they do in land-based casinos. It is all designed to be an immersive experience that makes you feel like you have stepped onto the casino floor to play.

This is all in stark contrast to games in an online casino. While they might be designed to look like a game table, there will be some glaring differences there. It is likely that the programmers will have sped up gameplay in some way by cutting a few moves that a real dealer cannot get around, so playing one of these online casino games will always feel a little bit faster.

On top of this, an online casino game will have a very obvious user interface where you will be able to select your bet and access other options. If you have a good win, this will most likely be celebrated by an animation overlay. All of these break your immersion in some way, and it is something that you don’t see in a live casino game where the aim is to make you feel like you are actually in the same room as the dealer.

A roulette wheel spinning

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What You Will Need to Play

The technical requirements for both online and live casino games are fairly similar, but they tend to be a little more demanding for live games. For an online game, you just need to have a good internet connection. Some sites have software that you can download and install on your device, but many do allow you to play through a browser. Regardless of what the graphics of the game might be, you should be able to play with little issues provided you have a good connection.

Choosing to play at a live casino UK players always head to is a bit of a different story. You are not just loading up a game here, you are actually tuning into a livestream. Your internet connection needs to be good enough to view the stream and answer the dealer in good time. Too much time spent buffering can be incredibly frustrating for a player, and could even result in you being booted from the table by the game masters if you are too absent.

Using Live Chat Politely

Finally, a difference in online and live casino games can be found when you consider the etiquette that goes on at these different virtual tables.

With an online game, it is just you. There is no one else there, and there is no way to talk to another player even if there is someone somewhere who has loaded the same game as you. You are each in your own little space, unable to see and interact with each other. You can technically act however you please so long as you do not disrupt the rules of the game or the terms and conditions of the wider casino you are playing at.

A live casino is very different. There are other players to contend with and a dealer. A few casinos do allow voice chat if you have a microphone, but the vast majority instead use a typed live chat. You can communicate with the dealer and with your fellow players using this chat.

One nice part of this feature is that it allows you to build up a little banter with the dealer directly. They can see what you are writing in the chat, and if you send something funny then they might decide to respond to it. This again adds to the immersion, as we mentioned above, and breaks down some of the walls between you and them.

What you do need to watch, however, is the manner in which you speak to both the dealer and the other players in your session. Casino etiquette is a must here. This guide is for blackjack etiquette, but it is pretty much the same across every game you could play.

Shouting, aggressive language, and other forms of abuse will get you kicked from the table and might even see a warning or ban placed on your account. Always be polite and gracious, even if you have had a poor play session, and make sure you report any abusive language you see to help keep the live casino a good space for other players too.

Which Style of Casino is Right for You?

So, do you play at an online casino or a live casino? This often comes down to the style of play that you feel like. Many of the best online casinos will have a live lobby so you do not have to be a member of multiple sites – you just have to decide what you want.

If you want a quiet game on your own to test out a new strategy or a new variation, an online casino might be best. It will be just you and the RNG, so no one will be there to berate you if something doesn’t go in your favour.

However, if you want to be a little more social and are looking for banter alongside your gameplay, a live casino might be the better option! These are immersive experiences that can make you feel like you are in a Vegas casino even if you are sat on the sofa in your own living room.

You should now know some of the differences between online and live casinos. Both are fantastic ways to enjoy your favourite table games. Here at PlayRight, we are big fans of both styles, and we have reviewed countless casinos that offer either or both experiences. Find somewhere new to play and give both online and live casino games a whirl now.

Reviewer Photo
Written by: Sharon McFarlane
Sep 29 2021
creating content within the iGaming sector for over 11 years. Throughout that time she has worked with blue-chip operators and affiliates to create objective and unbiased copy that would add value to the user