Live Dealer Casinos

You use the same type of interface on your computer to make playing decisions as you would in the non live dealer games. Once you make your playing decisions they are displayed on a monitor of some sort for the live dealer to see and act on. Here is a step by step example from a live dealer blackjack game.

You click on the chips to place a $25 bet at the live dealer blackjack table. The dealer deals two cards to you and two cards to herself. You have a jack and an eight for a total of 18. The dealer shows a seven. You hit the stand button and the dealer sees your action on her monitor. She turns up a queen for a total of 17. You win the hand and she inputs the win on her end and you are credited with a $25 win.

Live dealer roulette games work much the same way except usually you only see the person spinning the wheel and the wheel. The betting surface or table layout is usually digital, just like when you play at the online casino without a live dealer.

Live Dealer Casino Games
The only games offered by live dealer online casinos are those that are popular enough to warrant having dealers and those that are live dealer friendly. The perfect example of a live dealer friendly game is roulette, where the casino can take multiple wagers and only have to spin the wheel once.

Here is an overview of the most popular live dealer games. While these might not be the only games you can find, they cover well over 95% of all the live dealer games available online.

Blackjack
Blackjack is the most popular live dealer game played online today. It is a little more labor intensive for the casino than baccarat and roulette, but the larger player base makes it worth offering.

Each player places his or her bet and then the dealer gives each player two cards as well as taking two cards herself. Each player decides whether to hit, stand, double, split or surrender (where available) and the dealer completes the action. After all players have acted the dealer flips over her second card and completes her hand.

Live dealer blackjack plays just like it does in land based casinos but it can be a bit slower overall as the dealer has to wait for all of the players to act. Of course they have to wait for all of the players to act in land based casinos as well, but as they are insulated by the Internet some players take longer in online live dealer play than they would in land based action.

Roulette
Roulette is one of those games that are well known just about anywhere you go in the world. Even if you don’t play you are probably familiar with the spinning of an ivory ball within a roulette wheel. Players can place bets on a wide range of possible outcomes including black, red even or odd which pay even money all the way up to bets on a single number that pay 35 to 1.

Roulette wheels are available in double zero wheels, usually called American roulette, and single zero wheels called European or French roulette. The single zero wheels offer a lower house edge than the double zero wheels. Most live dealer casinos offer single zero wheels, so they are the ones you should play on if you have a choice.

When you play live dealer roulette you pick how much you want to bet and what you want to bet on. For example, if you want to wager $20 on black you click on the chips to select $20 and then click on the roulette layout to place your bet on the black area. The dealer then spins the roulette wheel and drops the ball in the wheel. As the ball lands the bets are paid out and then the bets for the next spin are placed.

Baccarat
Baccarat tends to play well as a live dealer game because the dealer performs all of the game actions after the player places their wager. This is another game like roulette where the casino can take just about any number of wagers without it changing the current hand or slowing things down.

Players place their bets on tie, banker or player and then the dealer deals out two hands of two cards each. There are set rules that must be followed and each hand either stays or receives an additional card. Then the winning wagers are paid and the bets for the next round are placed.

3 Card Poker
3 Card Poker is only available at a few live dealer casinos but it is quite popular in regular casinos and in online casinos. You play a three card poker hand against the dealer and when you win the payout based on the strength of your hand.

Sic Bo
Sic Bo is a dice game that is very popular in Asian markets. Offered by a few live dealer casinos, you place bets on what you think the outcome of the roll of the dice will be. Once all wagers are placed the dice are revealed and you are paid out based on the bets you placed. Different combinations pay different amounts based on the odds of them landing.

Casio Holdem
This version of poker is not the same as Texas holdem that you can often see on television. Though it is based on Texas holdem it is a table game designed for single person play against a dealer. There are a few different variations of this game available in live dealer casinos, and it is not available everywhere.

The player makes an ante wager and the player and dealer receive two hole cards. The dealer turns over the three community cards called the flop. The player then may fold or make an additional bet to finish the hand. If the player makes the extra wager the last two community cards, the turn and river, are turned face up and then the winner is determined.

Payouts are determined by the strength of your winning hand. In different variations the bet sizing is different.

Live Dealer Software Providers
There aren’t that many live dealer online software solutions, but the main ones offer a superior gaming experience.

The main three companies are Evolution Gaming, Playtech and Microgaming. One of the newer entries into the market is Global Gaming Labs.

See below for quick overviews of each platform that includes the games they offer to their players. Just to be clear, these are the companies that provide the backend working environment for the online casinos that offer the live dealer games. You don’t play these games at the sites owned by the companies below; you play at the online casino’s websites who lease these solutions.

Casino Gambling Laws

The biggest problem with developing a page for a web site that deals with casino gambling laws is that almost as soon as you put it up some of the information has changed. There are literally thousands of jurisdictions around the world and they each have their own rules, laws and regulations about online casinos.

Some countries have specific laws regulating the running and licensing of online gambling establishments, some countries have specific laws against online gambling and some countries don’t have any laws about online casinos at all. In addition, if you just included a few lines about each jurisdiction in the world you would end up with a page that was miles long.

There are often many different jurisdictions within each country that may have their own set of laws. The United States is a perfect example of this with laws on the federal level, state level, city level and county level. Sometimes you need a law degree just to figure out who has the authority to do what in any given situation.

Because of the ever changing legal landscape and different jurisdictions I have included many tips, tricks and methods for finding out what the casino gambling laws are where you live or where you are planning to visit.

Gambling Law Disclaimer
Before continuing you need to understand that I am not offering legal advice and you are responsible for determining if any actions you take online are legal where you live. This page is simply for educational purposes and to help you find the answers you need.

The Best Advice about Casino Gambling Laws
By far the best place to learn more about casino gambling laws is to speak with an attorney who specializes in online gambling laws. There are not many of these types of lawyers around, but they do exist.

If you want to be 100% sure you are receiving the best advice possible this is your only option. Plan to spend a fair amount of money, because these lawyers are in demand and they charge for their services.

Learn About Casino Gambling Laws Cheaply
This is the way most players and potential players approach online casino gambling laws. They may do a quick search online, but for the most part if they can make a deposit and play at an online casino they assume it is legal. Searching on the Internet for questions concerning the law and legal advice can be dangerous.

You need to realize that just about anyone with Internet access and a few dollars can launch a web site that says anything they want, whether true or not. In addition, just because you find multiple sources reporting the same things as fact you can’t be sure they are true.

Often a site will make a statement of fact and other sites will start saying the same things and presenting them as factual without verifying them. Remember the old saying that says you often get what you pay for. By reading free advice you may be setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience.

If you must research gambling and casino laws using the Internet make sure to verify any information you find with reputable sources.

Just as a word of caution, Wikipedia is not a trusted or reputable source. It often does have good information, but just about anyone can edit there so many times the details can be incorrect. You can often find solid sources referenced at the bottom of the page in Wikipedia, so if you must use it at least follow the links to find credible resources.

Is Anyone in Jail for Gambling?
This is the test I often use to help me determine if it is legal in a certain jurisdiction to gamble online. I try to find out if anyone has ever been sentenced to jail for doing what I want to do. For example, if I want to play at an online casino I see if anyone where I live has ever went to jail for doing so.

While this is far from a solid defense if you ever get charged, it does make me feel better if no one has done jail time. In other words, you can’t say “Well no one else got in trouble for doing it so I should be allowed to do it” as a defense in a court of law. (I guess you can say it, but if you broke the law it will not help you get the charges dropped.)

You can even take this a small step further to see if anyone has even been charged with a crime for playing at an online casino.

Can You Trust Advice on Online Forums?
While it’s dangerous to say anything is 100% certain one way or another when it comes to sharing information online, I can say that most advice that you find on online forums is suspect at best, and much of it is just plain wrong.

Do not ever base your safety and protection from possibly breaking the law based on anything you read on an online forum or message board. Anyone with Internet access can post on most forums and act like they are an expert.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just because someone has a bunch of posts they know what they are talking about either. I have seen people with thousands of posts tossing around completely inaccurate information. I don’t know if all of these people are bad or intentionally trying to spread bad information, but some of it is close to criminal and can cost people money and / or get them hurt. Just like anything else you find online, make sure you verify the important details.

Is Any Place Safe to Gamble?
I realize that so far I have painted a discouraging picture about online gambling and the law. The good news is there are plenty of jurisdictions that have specific laws in place to make online gambling and casino play legal for companies that operate with the correct licenses and for players.

This information can often be found on the government owned web sites in your country. Local attorneys are also likely to have this information if you live in one of the countries that have specific laws allowing online casino play.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking online gambling is legal just because you have land based casinos in your country. Often the biggest opponents of online gaming are the land based casinos. There should either be specific laws allowing online gambling in your jurisdiction or at the very least no laws that prohibit it.

There are often different laws concerning owning an online casino and playing at an online casino. In many jurisdictions you can play legally but you can’t own an online gambling establishment. There are even a few places where you can own one but citizens are not allowed to play in one.

How Do Banks Factor Into Gambling Laws?
The online casino and gambling industry is fueled by the movement of money into and out of the online casinos and other gambling businesses. Without a safe and secure way to move the money around the online gambling business would quickly go away. So in some jurisdictions the law makers try to either control online gambling through banking laws or try to do away with online gambling by making banking with online casinos illegal.

The UIGEA passed in the United States is an example of this. It doesn’t make gambling online illegal, but it tries to target the banking industry to get them to stop dealing with online casinos. But it hasn’t been very successful at driving the online casinos out of the market. There are still plenty of places for United States citizens to play at online casinos, poker rooms and sports books.

Getting money into and out of these establishments may be a little more challenging than it used to be but it is still fairly easily accomplished. There were many e-wallets, casinos, sports books and poker rooms that left the US market, but just as many stayed or entered the market after the UIGEA.

I Want to Start an Online Casino
If you want to start an online casino then the only advice you need from this entire page is to seek the help of a qualified attorney. There are jurisdictions where you can do this in a legal and safe manner, but there are also places where you will go to jail for running one.

In addition, once you find a legal jurisdiction you will need to find reliable banking solutions, a solid software provider and possibly a local person who you can trust to help you set everything up without being taken advantage of. You may also need to move to whatever country you plan to run your online casino from so you can watch over the day to day operations.

Conclusion
With all of the different laws around the world governing gambling and with the possibility of many of them changing at any time, it can be quite a challenge to know what is right and wrong. In addition, the existing laws in many places are not well worded or thought out and create more questions than answers.

Other places have laws that were put into place well before the Internet even existed and people are trying to determine how these laws fit with the online world. The only thing you can do is find a group of trusted sources to keep up to date and / or use the services of an attorney.

Understanding Online Casino Bonuses

When you start looking at all of the different options online casinos offer, you are bound to get overrun with all of the different bonus offers. Every online casino seems to have at least two or three different bonuses and when you consider how many thousands of casinos there are in existence, it can quickly become an overwhelming barrage of information. Just in case you don’t already know, there are also different types of bonuses. Almost all of them fall into one of four bonus categories. Keep reading to learn more about each of the four bonus categories, why you always have to read the small print and when you may be better off not taking a bonus.

Types of Online Casino Bonuses
The four main types of online casino bonuses include cashable, non-cashable, no deposit and free spins. Each of these four types is explained in detail below. You may on a very rare occasion run across a bonus that does not fall into one of these categories. If you do, make sure to read the entire conditions and terms before accepting it. You can learn more about terms, conditions and small print in the section following the bonus types.

#1Cashable Casino Bonuses
Cashable casino bonuses are those that you can cash out once you meet all of the requirements. These are usually the best type of bonus for players, but more and more online casinos are switching to the non-cashable type. An example of a cashable bonus is if you receive 100% up to $200 on your deposit. If you make a deposit of $200 you will receive another $200, making your total beginning bankroll $400. After you meet all of the requirements you can take out any money that you have left. So if you have $300 left you can cash out the entire $300.

#2Non cashable Bonuses
Non-cashable bonuses are also called play only bonuses. The way they work is you receive a bonus amount and can play with it until you lose it or you get ready to cash out. When you cash out the casino deducts the bonus amount from your balance before processing your pay out. For example, you deposit $1,000 and get a $2,000 non-cashable bonus.

After meeting the play through requirements you have $2,100 left in your account. When you request a cash out the casino will deduct the $2,000 bonus amount from your balance, leaving $100 for you to withdraw. Understand that unless you read the fine print there is usually no way to tell if a bonus is cashable or non-cashable. They usually look the same with the common look of a certain percentage bonus up to a certain dollar amount. 100% up to $500 or 200% up to $1,000 are just two of the many possible combinations.

#3No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are free chips or bankrolls given to players to get them to try an online casino. I have seen them as small as $5 and as large as $100. You don’t usually have to do anything to claim one of these bonuses except sign up for an account. They usually have a play through requirement and a cash out limit, but if you want to try a few games for real money without risking any of your own cash, a no deposit bonus is a great way to start.

#4Free Spins Promotions
Free spins promotions can be offered by themselves or in combination with any of the other bonus types. Technically a free spins bonus can be offered on games other than slot machines, but they are almost always for slots play and are often specific to a certain slot machine. Land based casinos run promotions involving a free hand of blackjack or spin of the roulette wheel, and things like that from time to time. The same type of promotion can be offered by an online casino, so I am lumping these types of promotions in with the free spins section as they are basically the same thing.

An example of a free spins promotion would be 25 free spins on slot machine “XYZ” where each spin is taken at a value of $2. This means that you can only play on the slot machine with the name “XYZ” and you receive 25 free spins and each spin is for $2. You may be restricted to only cashing out a certain amount of a free spins promotion and/or you may need to reach certain play through requirements after you take your free spins. Learn more about play through requirements in the next section.

Why You Always Have to Read the Small Print
You have already seen a few of the terms and restrictions that can be attached to a casino bonus in the descriptions listed above, but there are many more possibilities. Online casinos are in business to make money. They know that in order to make money they have to get players to deposit real money.

In order to get as many players to make real money deposits as possible they offer bonuses to get you to sign up and bonuses to get you to deposit again and again after they get you the first time. However, they are not in the business of letting you keep any of these bonuses if they can help it. So they design their casino bonus terms and conditions to give them the best chance to not only get their bonuses back but to get all of your deposit also. And they want to keep you just happy enough that you will make another deposit after losing your first one.

If you keep this information in mind, you will see why it is so important to always read the fine print. Here are some of the things to watch out for.

The first thing to find out after determining the type of bonus you are receiving (listed above) is how many times you have to wager the bonus and deposit to clear it.
This is usually called a play through requirement. These requirements range from 20 to 40 times generally and are listed as 20x or 20X for a 20 times requirement, 30x or 30X for a 30 times play through, etc.

Here is an example of how a play-through requirement works.

Imagine you make a deposit of $500 and receive a 100% match of $500 with a play through of 30X you will have to make bets totaling at least $30,000 to clear the bonus. The way to figure this is add the deposit and bonus together and then multiply that total times the play through requirement. $500 + $500 = $1,000. $1,000 times 30 = $30,000. You don’t have to make any particular size wagers, but the total of your wagers must reach this amount. For example, if you play slots at $2 per spin you will need to play 15,000 spins. If you play a game at $10 a spin or hand you will have to play 3,000 spins or hands.

This table shows how small differences in bonus requirements makes a big difference in the value of the bonus. In this example, the bonus amount is $20 on a $40 deposit:

Play-through Multiplier Cost to Clear Bonus
20x Bonus $400
20x Bonus plus Deposit $1,200
25x Bonus $500
25x Bonus plus Deposit $1,500
30x Bonus $600
30x Bonus plus Deposit $,1800
35x Bonus $700
35x Bonus plus Deposit $2,100
40x Bonus $800
40x Bonus plus Deposit $2,400
The thing that stands out the most is the vast difference between a multiplier based on the bonus amount and one based on the amount of the bonus plus deposit. Playthrough requirements based on bonus plus deposit are way more common these days.

Some bonus promotions include a maximum amount you can cash out.
Free chip and free spin bonuses are usually where you will find these, but always check for one of these provisions no matter what type of bonus you’re accepting. For example, you may only be able to cash out 10 times the free chip value. So a free chip of $7 can only lead to a maximum cash out of $70.

Restricted games are a big issue for any player who enjoys playing anything except slot machines. Almost all casino bonuses let you play slots to clear. But most of them either don’t allow you to play table games like blackjack and roulette or only count a small percentage of your play at these games against your bonus clearing requirements.

There are quite a few online casinos that will forfeit your entire bonus if you play games on their restricted list. A common restriction is only counting 10% or 20% (or some other low percentage) of each wager made at blackjack, roulette or video poker (or any other number of games) toward clearing your bonus.

If we continue with the example above requiring you to wager $30,000 to clear your bonus and assume blackjack only counts 10% toward clearing, you would have to wager $300,000 while playing only blackjack to clear your bonus. Even at $25 a hand you would have to play 12,000 hands.

There are specific bonuses for table games available at many online casinos, but just because a casino has a bonus for table games does not mean it has favorable clearing conditions.
The restrictions are usually just as bad, if not worse, on these special game specific bonus offers.

The bottom line is if you don’t take the time to read and make sure you understand all of the bonus terms and conditions, as well as exactly what kind of bonus you are receiving and how to clear it, you shouldn’t play. There is no excuse for getting surprised by any bonus terms. Many players falsely assume that all bonuses are cashable until they sign up for a non-cashable one, meet all the play through requirements and then try to cash out. They are usually angry and disappointed, but it is their responsibility to find out what they are signing up for in the first place.

Should You Always Accept a Bonus?
While it may seem strange to consider not accepting a bonus from an online casino, there are a few situations where you may want to pass. As you learned above, the small print, or terms and conditions, can be quite restrictive on what you can do with your winnings and when you can do it. Here are a few specific examples where you might be better off not accepting a bonus.

If you are depositing for the sole purpose of playing for a progressive jackpot and the bonus terms limit the total amount you can cash out, you may want to decline the bonus.

Here’s why:

While most bonuses only require you to play through a certain number multiple of the bonus and deposit, some of them also restrict the total amount you can cash out. Some do have rules carving out big progressive slots, allowing you to cash them out as they are often controlled by the software provider and not the individual casino, but many do not. For example, if you are playing a version of jacks or better video poker that has a progressive jackpot it is probably not covered by a carve-out provision. I admit this situation is rare, but it is a possibility.

A more common reason to pass on an offered bonus is when the bonus is only for specific games, like slot machines, and you only play table games. Some online casinos offer special table games bonuses, but many just have general bonuses which may or may not let you play table games.

Believe it or not, there are online casino games that can be played at an advantage against the house. They are not common, but they are not so rare that smart and dedicated players can’t discover them and try to exploit them at times.

One of these situations has been touched on above. When you find video poker variations with attached progressive jackpots, the jackpot can reach a level where with correct play you can actually play with an overall advantage against the house. Large progressive slot machines can work the same way, but it is often much harder to find out exactly what their base payback percentage is and the exact odds of hitting the progressive so they can make it more difficult to figure out when to start playing.

When you find advantage play opportunities like these, you want to carefully consider any bonuses you may be offered. Make sure you aren’t going to have difficulty cashing out your winnings and that they aren’t capped like I mentioned above. You also need to consider that online casinos do not plan to lose money and if they figure out that you are just playing when you have an advantage they may deny your play.

While this doesn’t seem fair, they do have the right to not let you play. You may be asking how accepting a bonus plays into this. If you accept a bonus they may decide to stop your play faster than if you don’t. I realize this may seem like splitting hairs, but if you are an advantage player you will understand that even the smallest additional edge is important.