Pennsylvania recorded another strong output in online casino revenue in April. While slot play is the state’s bread and butter, live dealer games have grown in popularity for PA online casinos.
Online table games recorded $38.9 million in revenue in April and $155.5 million so far in 2023. After April’s total, online table games crossed the $1 billion threshold in lifetime revenue within the state.
PlayPennsylvania has chronicled live dealer games from a variety of angles over a three-part series:
An impromptu Part IV had us actually play PA live dealer games to see what it’s like.
Observing Pennsylvania live dealer games
I played a Free Bet Blackjack game on DraftKings Casino PA for roughly 30 minutes. The first several minutes before playing, I tried to take everything in. I observed the behavior of the dealer and also clicked around to see what kind of information was available.
An option to send a chat is displayed in the left-hand corner of the screen and the rest of the buttons are displayed on the right-hand corner. Those buttons include:
- Chat dropdown
- Option to tip dealer
- Change camera angle
- Settings (general, video, sound)
- How to play
The buttons I most commonly used were the chat, to see what people had to say during a game and the how to play button, just to go over the rules.
There’s not that much going on in the chat. In about a 20-minute span, only 18 messages showed up in the discussion. You can tell people aren’t in the lobby to chat, they’re mainly there to play.
The rules of the game are incredibly detailed with several tabs explaining the game objective, rules, payouts, decisions to make and more.
The human experience of PA casino live dealer games
One thing players have to remember when playing live dealer games is that an actual human is on the other end of the camera.
In the 30 minutes I observed and played, I saw three different dealers. Two dealers were extremely talkative, while the other was not. Jacob Claesson, CEO of Evolution Gaming in North America, spoke earlier this month to the necessity of dealers having varying personalities.
“People are the core of what we do and who we are, and having a range of different dealers means that we can appeal to a varied and unique player audience.”
The first two dealers would shout out the usernames of players in the lobby. At the time I was observing, casino players won seven straight hands (of course). The dealers expressed sincere happiness that casino players kept winning hands.
The less talkative dealer just dealt and spoke when absolutely necessary.
Since live dealer games are a human experience, there was another Evolution Gaming employee tasked with switching out a deck of cards as a hand was played. There was also a brief delay (20 seconds or so) when there was a miscommunication between the dealers swapping shifts. It did not impact my experience, but just noticing the human aspect of live dealer games is interesting and much different than other online casino options.
How did I fare playing Free Bet Blackjack?
Without even noticing, I had a very different mindset while I was playing. I actually preferred the least talkative dealer because in a way, I was able to think more clearly. When I was playing with the talkative dealers, I didn’t really listen to what they were saying because I was intent on my next move.
I lost $3 while playing 16 $1 hands of Free Bet Blackjack. I went 5-8-3 overall, which is often considered a typical day at the casino.
One of the dealers made a responsible gambling comment while I was playing. At one point, the dealer won three straight hands, and afterwards, mentioned what bad luck we had and to exit the game if it made us upset.
When making a decision to double, hit, stand or split, a countdown is displayed on the screen. Players have about 12 seconds to make a choice. The player is able to see what other players choose by watching the percentage change under each decision. If the player is new, they can follow what others are doing. It creates an environment of low pressure.
“There’s less pressure and there’s no one sitting at your shoulder upset about your decisions,” Claesson told PlayPennsylvania.
Claesson is right, also because you can’t hold anyone else up because of the countdown to make a choice.
If people don’t like going to casinos, live dealer games make for a terrific alternative for fun or a learning experience. He added:
“If players then want to experience a table game, something which can be an intimidating experience if that’s where you first start, they have a solid foundation.”