The burning question on the lips of almost every online casino gambler at the moment, can online casino live dealers actually cheat? The question is trending globally after a video was released on YouTube which apparently shows a live blackjack dealer using sleight of hand dealing to cheat a player out of a potential live blackjack win.
Ever since online casinos were first introduced to the fledgling internet back in the mid to late nineteen nineties, they have grown in leaps and bounds. Today online casinos outstrip their land based brick and mortar cousins in popularity.
The reasons for this are really quite easy to understand. For one thing, online casinos are able to reach far more people than any brick and mortar online casino ever could. Most brick and mortar casinos rely on their location in order to attract visitors through their doors. As long as brick and mortar casinos can portray a sense of romance and excitement or, an exotic getaway, they will manage to attract their share of feet through the door.
This is one of the reasons why places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are still popular with gamblers, you get to play great casino games but you also get comps to shows, free meals and drinks and much more. The downside? Not everyone can actually get to places like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. In fact, for many it remains a lifelong dream that is never realised.
Enter the internet and the advent of the online casino and suddenly millions of people who, up until that point, could only dream of gambling in a real casino, can suddenly access the same sort of casino games from their own homes.
Of course it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the potential and appeal of online casinos. Within a few months of the launch of the first online casino, the industry experienced its first boom. This boom lasted for a decade before slowing down as most online casinos could offer the exact same service and range of products.
However, in case you don’t already know, the online casinos is currently in a boom period again and is currently estimated to be the third largest online industry in the world. There are two main reasons for the current online casino boom, one is the advent of the mobile casino sector and the other, the live dealer casino option.
Mobile casinos make perfect sense and are a natural extension and direction for the online casino industry to move into. Virtually everyone in the world now uses some form or other of mobile communication technology. A fair number of these users are advanced and utilise the latest in mobile technology which includes smartphones and tablet devices.
Being able to play a range of cutting edge online casino games on the go has massive appeal to most online gamblers. In the early days of the mobile casino era, the range of gaming options was quite limited. Most online casinos that made an app available for Android and iOS users only included a handful of slots and one or two table games.
Today the picture is much different and the best online casinos make their entire online platform available to mobile device users thanks to HTML 5 technology. This allows players to use their smartphones or tablet devices to access every aspect of an online casino, including the entire look and feel, gaming selection, bonus offers and the latest live dealer options. Online casino industry experts estimate that the mobile casino will become the standard way that most online casino gamblers access their online casino within the next year or two.
The other component of the latest online casino boom is the development of the live dealer online casino platform. The platform uses advanced technology to bring real live casino gaming action to online casino users. In a similar way to the mobile casino, live dealer casino options are reshaping how and why gamblers choose to gamble online.
The live dealer casino is the closest that most gamblers will ever get to a real casino which is mostly down to location and financial situations. However, with the introduction of the live dealer online casino option, this issue has become more or less redundant. Live dealer casinos allow gamblers to enjoy the action of a real casino which means, real dealers, real tables, real chips and real cards. The majority of live dealer casino platforms also allow the gamblers to interact with the dealers and, in most cases, with each other as well.
The way that the live dealer casino option works is simple and highly effective. Top online casino software providers like NetEnt, Playtech, Evolution, Microgaming and others, own and operate elaborate studios where a range of real casino games are streamed from in real time.
In most cases the quality is exceptional, streamed in full HD quality with good looking dealers and high quality tables and various accoutrements. It is important however, to understand that the online casinos themselves don’t run the live dealer casino platforms. Much like all other casino games, they are designed and created by these software brands and streamed to online casinos that they partner with.
In other words, you can get five different online casinos all streaming the same live dealer casino games, all at the same time. The system works brilliantly and, up until this week, seemed to be absolutely fool proof.
In what seems to be a damming video, a live blackjack dealer appears to be ‘fudging the shoe’ in order to gain an upper hand against the player. The video was recorded and subsequently uploaded to YouTube by Michael Morgenstern who happened to be playing at BetOnline’s US facing online casino at the time.
BetOnline uses the live dealer feed provided by the Global Gaming Labs or GGL brand which broadcasts out of the jurisdiction of Costa Rica. The GGL brand is well-respected and is used by several top online casinos for their live dealer gaming options. Morgenstern, a self-confessed professional online blackjack player, seems to have kicked over the hornets’ nest and the video has been watched and shared across a number of industry related internet sites.
The video shows the live blackjack dealer reaching for the blackjack shoe in the normal way but then, something peculiar happens. The dealer seems to push the top card up slightly with his finger while actually pulling the second card underneath the top card out. This card goes to the player while the dealer then deal the top card to himself, the result? The player ends up with a six card while the dealer gets an eight card. The result of the hand is that the player loses and the house wins.
Most speculation and comments seem to lean towards the online casino openly cheating players out of winning hands. Naturally the furor has also brought out its fair share of conspiracy theorists claiming all sorts of online casino wrong doing.
Some of the current conspiracy theories include online casinos and software providers who supply the live dealer casino feeds actually colluding to cheat players. Some of these theories include so-called RFID chips being used to let the dealer know what card is going to be next in the blackjack shoe.
Other comments that have ensued form the video include speculations that live dealers conceal earpieces and are in constant communication with, unseen third parties. These third parties tell the dealer what the next card is going to be in the shoe. Yet others believe that every shoe in every live dealer blackjack game has already been scanned by the casino and the dealers already know what the next card will be.
However, if that really was the case, why would the live blackjack dealer actually be so blatant and openly cheat on a live camera feed? If the live dealer already know what card would be next, he surely would not have to resort to such a clumsy move.
Of course it could be as simple as just a clumsy mistake by the live blackjack dealer and not anything with actual malicious intent towards the player. Perhaps it is a good idea to watch the video yourself and then draw your own conclusions from it. In any case, there has been no comment from BetOnline yet. The online casinos software provider responsible for supplying the live dealer and the live dealer feed, GGL, has also chosen not to make any comments over the video just yet.
Another point that is worth considering, calls for other videos that show any sort of live dealer misconduct or suspicious behaviour seems to have come up empty so far. This is a very good sign since it shows that this could be one of two things. Either it is an isolated incident [if it is in fact a proven case of online casino cheating or collusion], or it is a simple misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the video footage.