Live casino gaming has taken the web by storm over the past few years. Increasingly, newcomers and experienced gamers alike are actively choosing the live-dealer experience over the traditional approach to online gaming.
Understandable, given how much more engaging and enjoyable the live casino experience can be.
Meanwhile, various casinos have been experimenting with the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. Augmented reality is playing a role in shaping the casino experience of tomorrow, which some believe could effectively render real-life dealers redundant.
At the risk of jumping straight to the conclusion, this simply isn’t going to happen…ever.
Debate as to whether AI has the potential to replace live dealers online continues to rage. But when you think about the reasons why people choose the live casino experience in the first place, it quickly becomes clear it’s a debate of little logic.
The crux of the whole thing lies in the fact that real-life dealers aren’t hired simply to deal cards, spin wheels and throw dice. Talented and experienced dealers make a major contribution to the gambling experience.
Something that’s just as true online as it is in a traditional casino.
When you play in the presence of a dealer, interaction makes the whole thing so much more engaging. You can ask them questions, chat with them (if appropriate at the time) and generally enjoy their company.
In addition, there’s something so much more reassuring about playing against a human being. As opposed to a computer algorithm, which although highly unlikely could potentially malfunction.
You know it’s a fair game when you play against a human being – a point of importance for those who distrust machine-based gambling.
But even if you know that most online casino games are fair – which is indeed the case – playing against people is still better than playing against machines. Hence, it’s hard to envisage a time when AI will replace live dealers online.
Arguments in Favour of Robots
On the flipside of the coin, critics argue that bringing more robots into the online gaming experience makes perfect sense. Far from diluting the whole thing, AI could – at least in theory – bring about a whole world of improvements.
For example, robotic dealers can run on a 24/7 with no need for rest. They’re also free of charge to operate after being engineered and activated, keeping overheads down for online casinos.
Importantly, the most advanced AI technology can replicate the live-dealer experience with astonishing accuracy. Just in the same way that chatbots are transforming the face of customer service, it’s theorised that the same could happen for AI with online casino gaming.
Robots can ensure a smooth, seamless and consistently slick gaming experience, with no human intervention required. From the casino’s perspective at least, it’s an option with a long list of benefits.
A Social Service
While there will always be the odd exception here and there, casino gamers are generally quite social creatures. Even when playing online, they prioritise games and experiences that are social in nature.
This is one of the main reasons why live-dealer gaming has become such a huge success story worldwide. People actively choose the life casino experience over the ‘conventional’ alternative as it is fundamentally more social.
You could therefore say that by taking the dealer out of the equation, you also remove the social aspect. And in doing so, remove what it that makes live-dealer gaming popular in the first place.
Those who head online for a social experience make a beeline for their favourite live casino. Elsewhere, those who prefer quiet solitude can play as many machine-based games as they like.
In which case, is there really any need for AI casino gaming at all? If both audiences are already catered to with an abundance of options, where’s the case for AI?
Striking the Right Balance
The answer could, and indeed may, lie in something of a balance between the two. Whichever way you look at it, there’s no way AI will never replace human dealers. It’ll be employed by some casinos as an alternative, but people always prefer playing against other real people.
Hence, the benefits of AI could be largely confined to improving the more conventional online gaming experience. Rather than attempting to replicate real-life dealers, AI could simply be used to radically improve machine-based gambling.
Even today, some of the online roulette, blackjack, craps and baccarat you come across is far from inspiring. In fact, some of it looks like it hasn’t been updated in over a decade…which may be the case.
AI, combined with the latest casino gaming technology, could inject something exponentially more engaging and enjoyable into the conventional gambling experience. One that’s far more interactive and satisfying than anything on the cards today.
A Virtual Reality Renaissance?
So while AI really isn’t going to replace your favourite online dealers, there’s something waiting in the wings that could transform everything you know about live casino gaming:
Some have written off the whole VR thing as something that just isn’t going to happen. It’s been around in one form or another for decades, yet has never gained any real traction.
But when you think about the potential for VR to completely revolutionise the online gaming experience, you realise it’s only a matter of time until it does.
Think about it – the most fantastically interactive live casino experience, coupled with full 360-degree VR immersion. Everything you know and love about live-dealer gaming, only now you’re propelled right there into the heart of the action.
This is something developers have been experimenting with some time. There are already plenty of VR casino games doing the rounds, but none have yet hit the mainstream in any significant way.
Hence, it can only be a matter of time until this obvious and inevitable companionship makes its mark. The combination of VR and live-dealer gaming really could be the future of all online casino gaming.
And we, for one, can’t wait for it to happen!
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