The two main ways to play slot machines include land-based casinos and gaming sites. At a brick-and-mortar casino, you physically sit down to slots and spin the reels. You use a smartphone, tablet, or computer to play at online casinos.
These two options for playing slot machines are seemingly enough. You can opt for convenience with online slots or go for the experience and atmosphere of land-based casinos.
However, a third option has arisen in recent years. Live dealer slots combine elements of brick-and-mortar and online slots.
This form of gaming sees a dealer play the slot machine for you at a remote location. Confused about why this is even necessary?
If so, you can keep reading to find out more about live dealer slots and if they even need to exist.
What Is a Live Dealer Slot Machine?
When you envision live dealer slots, you may think of the “dealer” sitting in a typical casino and playing games for you. But they’re actually more involved.
The dealer in this situation is for entertainment purposes only. The slot machine is a spinning wheel that contains various prizes.
You select your betting options to begin each round. Once you’re satisfied, the dealer will spin the wheel to determine what, if any, prize you win.
The only current live dealer slot is Evolution Gaming’s Mermaid’s Fortune. This game sees the dealer wear a mermaid costume and the screen decorated like a Caribbean beach.
You can chat with the dealer (via a chat box). Meanwhile, the background features sand, ocean waters, palm trees, and a treasure chest.
What’s Special about Live Dealer Slots?
At first glance, live slot machines serve no purpose in the gaming world. Slots have never featured dealers and are self-explanatory.
Adding a croupier into the mix seems highly unnecessary. The detailed background — although nice — doesn’t offer anything that a land-based or online slot can’t.
However, this type of gaming does boast a couple of unique features:
- Human interaction
- A spinning wheel
Online casinos have long offered live dealer table games. This form of gambling is popular, because it allows you to chat with dealers without leaving the house.
Until Evolution Gaming’s invention, you couldn’t enjoy human interaction through an online slot. Now, you can communicate with the dealer while playing through your mobile device or PC.
The wheel also offers an interesting touch. Rather than spinning reels like in traditional slots, you play a Wheel-of-Fortune style game.
You may have spun wheels in slots bonus rounds. NetEnt’s Mega Fortune, for example, uses a spinning wheel to award progressive jackpots.
However, Mermaid’s Fortune is one of the few “slots” to use a wheel all of the time. You may appreciate this aspect if you’re looking for something totally different from standard slot machines.
Is It Really Worth Playing Live Dealer Slot Machines?
If you’re adventurous, I suggest trying a live dealer slot at least once. This type of gambling is quite different from what either land-based or online slots offer.
You’re not just mindlessly spinning the reels and awaiting the outcome with these games. Instead, you’re making bets, letting the dealer spin the wheel, and possibly carrying on a conversation.
Assuming you do try a live dealer slot machine, then you don’t have to commit your entire bankroll to the matter. You can simply perform a few spins to see if you like the experience.
If you do, then you can mix live dealer slots with your normal favorites. Furthermore, you’ll be able to enjoy these games at any point through your smartphone or PC/Mac.
Live Dealer Table Games Have Proven Much More Popular
I’ve described how live slot machines are different from games found in both online and brick-and-mortar casinos. However, these differences have yet to attract gamblers.
Sure, some people currently play or have tried live slots. But this form of gambling is lightly played compared to other live dealer options.
You get to play a classic table game, make bets, and chat with the dealer. The main difference, though, is that this format makes more sense with table games.
After all, croupiers have dealt baccarat, blackjack, and roulette for years. Live dealer table games simply let you experience the same style of gambling through a phone, tablet, or PC.
Table gaming is extremely popular at live casinos. Meanwhile, slot machines are a mere novelty that’s still relegated to one game.
Will Live Slots Ever Take Off?
I must give Evolution Gaming credit for the idea of live slot machines. These games put a truly unique spin on an old classic.
They offer interesting aspects in the form of a croupier and spinning wheel. Live slots aren’t a solo affair — they allow you to share the experience with a dealer.
It feels like there could be a niche for these games. But will there ever be a real need for them?
Right now, the answer is no. Mermaid’s Fortune has been available for several years and still fails to capture the general gambling world’s attention.
Evolution Gaming must not be experiencing many financial benefits from this venture either. They haven’t produced a live dealer slot since debuting Mermaid’s Fortune.
Other developers aren’t following in Evolution’s footsteps either. Fellow live dealer gaming suppliers are holding steady with their table-game offerings.
Perhaps live online slot machines could still somehow take off in the coming years. However, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Slots play appears relegated to either land-based or online casinos for now. Live dealer slot machines, on the other hand, don’t have a real place in the gaming world.
They initially seem to boast merits in the form a wheel and dealer. However, the combination of an attractive mermaid combined with a spinning wheel isn’t driving gamblers to casinos.
No one problem jumps to the forefront regarding these games. However, I assume that the biggest dilemma involves how unnecessary this format is for slot machines.
Slots have never required a dealer to operate. Instead, you as a player can easily use these games with no assistance at all.
Of course, gaming sites dress these slot machines up with elaborate backgrounds. But you can look forward to better graphics and setups with any modern slot machine.
The concept behind live slots seems valid. They blend human interaction and a different format (the wheel) to create a unique type of slot machine.
However, these games aren’t truly necessary in the grand scheme of online gambling. Furthermore, studios like Evolution Gaming must require bigger bets and offer lower RTP to make up for dealer’s salaries and studio setups.
One more problem is that live dealer slots aren’t available to most of the gambling population. Evolution Gaming mainly concentrates on the European market.
Just don’t expect a revolutionary form of gaming that’s going to blow you away. Instead, live dealer slots are just fun novelties worth playing every now and then.