The live casino roulette experience is a half way house between playing in a real life casino and playing an RNG based game on a casino website; it’s often billed as being as close to a real life casino as it is possible to get without opening your front door.
Since the idea was first floated there have been many improvements to the way in which live roulette is presented, giving players more control over how they experience the game as well as coming up with new game features and roulette variations.
This has created a much richer live casino environment with more variety than ever before, although for anyone new to the space the options might be a little overwhelming.
In essence though, live casino roulette fills a gap in the market for players who want to feel like they are playing a game that is tangible but who can’t or don’t want to go to a casino to get that experience.
How Does it Work?
Playing roulette via a live casino isn’t difficult, but anyone used to RNG based games might find the change in pace a bit of a shock, and the interface might be daunting due to all of the extra options.
If you look at the screenshot above you can see that there are buttons at the top of the interface and at the bottom, with the centre reserved for the game itself. Anything at the top of the screen is to do with the experience (so sound, video, display options, help etc.) and anything at the bottom is to do with gameplay (so making bets, statistics and history, your bank roll, etc.)
You can ignore everything except the betting table if you like, and this might actually be the best option until you get used to things, then you can explore what all of the other buttons do and see which ones you might find useful or fun to use.
The big difference in play from RNG based games is that a live casino game is controlled by the dealer and the betting software, so games happen whether you are ready or not. You can’t play at your own pace. Betting time lasts only around 15-20 seconds so anyone who places a lot of bets per game might struggle initially.
Luckily, the software allows you to save your favourite bets as well as autoplay the same bets over and over, so it is possible to get yourself organised before you start.
Making bets is a case of choosing your chip value by clicking on the one you want (check this before you bet or you might get a nasty surprise), then clicking where on the board you want to place those chips. You can use multiple chip values for different bets and it’s possible to undo any mistakes but you have to be quick; this is why it’s better to plan your bets using the software if you are placing multiple chips.
Once the ball has settled the winning number will be highlighted using graphics – although you can also see the result on the camera – bets settled, and scrolling list of winners often runs down the left hand side of the screen. This might be distracting but it has no impact on your game.
A quick note on Auto Roulette, which is a game you might find in your live casino lobby but which has no dealer and looks very similar to an RNG game.
In that case, you might be wondering why it is in the live casino in the first place, but the game is actually being played live on a physical wheel and streamed to your computer. If you click on the wheel itself you can often zoom in and it becomes more obvious.
The wheel is set to spin automatically and timed intervals, and it has built in air jets in each of the pockets to push the ball back up onto the bowl where further air jets keep it moving as the wheel spins – so in a way those air jets have replaced the dealer.
It has a very different feel to a game with a live dealer, it might seem a bit cold and bland for someone who enjoys the human interaction, but the plus side is the table limits are much lower because there is no dealer to pay. You can usually play for around 10p per bet.
The average auto roulette table can get through 60-80 games an hour but there is a version of Speed Auto Roulette which can get through double that amount in the same time.
Betting works in a similar way, but as you can see the design is different as you get a birds eye view of the table, so placing bets is arguably a little easier and feels more realistic too.
This can vary from game to game, but just like in the real world there are table minimums and maximums for live casino roulette.
These will be much lower than in a real casino but possibly a little more than some RNG games allow. Many standard versions of the game have a 50p minimum but there are many with a 20p minimum limit too.
As mentioned above, the only games lower than this are auto versions at 10p.
At the other end of the scale players can bet up to as much as £5,000 per game on most tables regardless of the minimum, and there are VIP tables for high rollers that can go a lot higher, but the table minimum for these games will be much higher too, typically at least £100.
For most players, only the table minimum will factor in their decision of what to play, and the rules or features of the game will determine how little you can bet at a time.
Roulette doesn’t really have any side bets, (inside and outside don’t count!) but there are betting patterns that some people call strategies that you can work with.
These are all about balancing table coverage with the amount you risk on the bet, and although they can be placed manually most live roulette games have the option to place at least the racetrack bets automatically if that’s what you want to do.
There will be a graphic of the racetrack, often in the bottom right of the interface, where you can adjust the number of neighbours and click on the area of the racetrack you want to bet in the same way you would use the regular betting board. This will place all chips in the correct positions for that bet type.
Other betting patterns like the snake bet will need to be placed manually though.
If you have ever heard of ‘call bets’ – bets announced to the dealer rather than by placing chips on the table – these are obviously not possible within a live casino.
Although not commonplace there are a few instances of roulette games with jackpots attached, but they are always associated with more gimmicky games.
Age of the Gods Roulette is linked with the online slot of the same name, and the progressive jackpot is pooled with other games in order for it to grow faster. It is randomly triggered so although it is possible to win a jackpot playing roulette, the gameplay does not influence this in any way.
Sometimes games with extra features present their top payout as a ‘jackpot’ too, but this isn’t really the same thing – it’s just the maximum potential win under another name.
Live Roulette Variations
As with RNG versions of roulette, there have been quite a few takes on this casino classic in the live arena too.
Aside from tables with different limits or themes and versions designed to be especially immersive using specific camera angles, the main live casino operators have actually played with the format of the game too.
This means you can find boosted payouts, extra balls, and numerous wheels.
Lightning Roulette & Quantum Roulette
Lightning Roulette is a variation where certain numbers are given boosted payouts before each spin, but only straight up bets on those numbers benefit from the higher return when they come in. It was developed by Evolution Gaming and can pay out up to 500x which is huge for roulette, but regular straight up pay outs are reduced to 29:1 as a consequence. Playtech developed something very similar called Quantum Roulette, which is basically the same game but with different branding. This extra stage means games are slower, but the extra element of excitement is the payoff.
Mega Fire Blaze Roulette
Following on from the same idea as above, this game selects up to 10 numbers per spin to be ‘fire’ numbers. All inside bets that include these numbers qualify for the Mega Blaze Bonus Round if the ball lands on one of them. During the bonus round (which is played out on a CGI screen using an RNG) multipliers drop in a rather convoluted manner to decide the multiple that will be paid out on your stake. The very best result you can hope for is a huge 10,000x, but it can be much lower. Outside bets pay out in the regular way.
Double Ball Roulette
This game features altered payouts that are almost half what they would usually be for inside bets but double what they would usually be for outside bets. This is because, as the name implies, two balls are released onto the wheel instead of one. The thing is, both balls have to land in your favour to win those outside bets but only one needs to go your way for inside bets. There are two new betting options too; the 35:1 payout for both balls landing on the same number number (any number will do to win this bet), and the ability to bet on both red and black (one ball on each). The real attraction though is the 1300x payout for straight up bets when both balls land on the same number.
Although the game itself has not been changed in this variation, the way in which you play has. There are 12 auto roulette wheels on the go at the same time, but their timings have been staggered to make sure that one is always about to start a new game. In this way, you can take your time placing your bets, and when you hit the ‘Play Now’ button, those bets will be placed on the next wheel to spin. Since there is only ever a gap of a second or two before the next wheel starts spinning, your game starts pretty much instantly. This is the only live roulette game where you can control the pace of your game.
Age of the Gods Roulette
A lot of RNG roulette variations include an extra space on the wheel that operates as a sort of bonus round trigger, and this is a live casino equivalent. If the ball lands on this extra space, anyone with a bet on the bonus, which is essentially a straight up bet, gets access to the bonus round. The bonus round is a mini slot machine (Age of the Gods is a famous video slot series), and the combinations you get from your spins determines what size your multiplied payout will be. This means the bonus round could be worth anything from between 5x to 300x, and because of the extra space on the wheel you are basically playing American roulette in terms of probability. There is a randomly triggered progressive jackpot too, to sweeten the deal.