Live dealer gaming has become rather popular. This form of online gambling streams action from a land-based studio to your smartphone or PC.
The obvious appeal here is that you can enjoy a brick and mortar casino atmosphere from home or anywhere else. Not surprisingly, live baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean Poker, and roulette have become quite popular.
However, one form of live gaming that has been a big failure is live dealer slots. A live dealer slot has all the makings of a successful game.
But up until now, it’s the least played form of live casino gambling in existence. Why have these slots failed so badly where table games have succeeded?
I’ll answer this question by discussing the basics of live slots, their limited availability, why they should be successful, and what’s doomed them.
What Is a Live Dealer Slot?
A live slot machine is a slots game that features a human dealer and unique studio setup.
These games call on you to choose your bet size just like any other real money online slots. However, they feature a few notable differences from regular internet slots:
- Results are determined by a spinning wheel.
- A dealer spins the wheel once you decide on your bet.
- You can communicate with the dealer via a chat box.
A standard online slot machine determines results through spinning reels. A live dealer slot, on the other hand, uses a wheel to decide wins and losses.
These wheels are marked with different credit values and bonuses. You win if the indicator points to a credit value or bonus when the wheel stops.
Whether it’s online or at land-based casinos, slot machines have always been solo affairs. You choose your bet size and spin the reels.
Only One Live Slot Machine Exists
You may have a difficult time finding live slot machines. After all, only one of these games currently exists.
Evolution Gaming’s Mermaid’s Fortune is the lone live slot available. You can find this game at some of the Evolution Gaming casinos.
Mermaid’s Fortune is set on a Caribbean beach with sand, the ocean, and a palm tree decorating the background. You’ll also see a woman dressed as a mermaid to the left of the wheel.
If you’ve played a live dealer table game before, you’re used to seeing traditional elements with both the croupier and studio. The dealer is dressed in formal wear while the studio is fashioned to look like a typical casino.
Mermaid’s Fortune, in contrast, introduces both fantasy and vacation elements. This atmosphere is more flamboyant than what the average live casino game offers.
Why Do Live Dealer Slots Seem Promising?
You certainly don’t need anybody to deal a slot machine for you. Of course, you also don’t need anybody to deal baccarat, blackjack, or any other table game.
Real money online casinos have made online gambling more convenient than ever. You can simply play a software-generated version of any slot or table game and control the action yourself.
But live dealer casinos have become popular because they offer something different. You actually get human interaction when you’re gambling online.
Live dealer slots promise this same benefit. You don’t have to mindlessly spin the reels by yourself. Instead, you can send the dealer messages while you’re playing and strike up interesting conversations.
Another advantage to live dealer slot machines is that they present a different type of game. The dealer spins a prize wheel rather than pressing the button on a reel-based machine.
Wheel-based games are typically only available as slots bonus rounds. However, the live dealer version uses a wheel for the base game.
Reasons Why Live Slots Have Failed Miserably
Mermaid’s Fortune was launched in December 2010. With just one release in a decade, it’s safe to say that live dealer slot machines are a failure. Below, you can see the main reasons why this type of gaming has never taken off.
Not Enough Development
One reason why live dealer table games have been so successful is that developers have stuck with them over the years.
Despite drawing little play with these games in the beginning, developers continued pushing live dealer casino games. They knew that this form of gambling had the potential to be a winner.
The same can’t be said of live slot machines. Evolution Gaming developed this type of slot as a daring move that never paid off from the beginning.
They seem to have abandoned any hope of creating any more live slots. Meanwhile, other live casino providers have stayed away from the matter completely.
More Expensive Than Regular Online Slots
Online slots are generally cheaper to play than their land-based counterparts. You can enjoy these games for $0.20 per spin or even less.
Slot machines in land-based casinos, on the other hand, generally cost $1 or more to play. Live dealer slots are more in line with brick and mortar casinos in terms of minimum spin costs.
Evolution Gaming has to charge more for live dealer slots to cover extra expenses. After all, they must hire dealers to run games and also pay for elaborate studio setups.
You may ultimately feel that the extra cost to play is justified. But then again, you might just opt for cheaper regular online slots.
More Like Wheel of Fortune Than Anything
Calling this live casino game a “slot machine” is a stretch. It doesn’t use traditional reels but rather a spinning reel.
Live slots have more in common with another casino game called Big Six than they do standard slot machines. Big Six also utilizes a wheel that’s marked with different credit prizes or even dollar amounts.
The wheel format makes sense when considering that it would be silly for the dealer to push the spin button on a regular slot machine. However, it can also be disappointing if you’re expecting a standard slot.
Too Far of a Departure From Live Dealer Table Games
Live table games are proven entities that have been successful for well over a decade. Gamblers enjoy playing these games from home, or elsewhere, and chatting with dealers while doing so.
A live slot machine offers some of the same elements that have made table games winners. It presents a lovely dealer along with a chat box function.
However, it’s also based on a spinning wheel and offers a generic setting. You may not be thrilled to play an expensive version of Wheel of Fortune while staring at a cheesy mermaid costume and beach setting.
Only One Option
Evolution Gaming remains the only developer to venture into the live slots space. They launched Mermaid’s Fortune in late 2010 and have yet to revisit this genre ever since.
Other providers must have felt that live slot machines are a dead end. After all, nobody has produced one of these games since Evolution did years ago.
Will Live Dealer Slot Machines Ever Catch On?
Technically, the book on live dealer slots isn’t finished. These games could still experience a rise through some miracle.
Largely speaking, though, they don’t seem likely to ever take off. They’ve been available for a decade and are still lightly played.
No one issue stands in the way of live dealer slot machines and success. Instead, a combination of downsides is holding these games back.
First off, no development is being done on live slots. They’re in limbo as Evolution Gaming nor any other developer appears interested in furthering the selection beyond Mermaid’s Fortune.
These games aren’t technically slot machines either. If you select a live slot and expect spinning reels, then you’ll be disappointed.
Live slot machines are also far off table games in terms of atmosphere and gameplay. You may ultimately not feel like they’re worth spending the extra money on.
Long story short, Mermaid’s Fortune will probably be the first and only live dealer slot to ever be created.
Not everything is cut out to be a live dealer online casino game. Live blackjack, Caribbean Poker, roulette, and certain other games make the cut because they’re close to their land-based counterparts.
A live slot, on the other hand, is far removed from its original form. A woman dressed up as a mermaid spinning a wheel isn’t anything close to traditional slots.
You might be among the small breed of gamblers who find this setup interesting. More likely, though, you’ll think that these games are weird and opt for regular online slots instead.
The truth of the matter is that live slot machines are awkward, expensive, and unnecessary. The human interaction with dealers is a nice touch. However, these games don’t offer enough else to make them worth playing.
In the end, I can see why Evolution Gaming gave up on the idea of producing more live slots. These games were an interesting experiment that just didn’t pan out.