One of Europe’s most popular online gambling formats is now available on two NJ online casinos.
Live Dealer first debuted on Golden Nugget Casino in August 2016, and was later introduced by Betfair Casino. To date, these represent the only two legal sites in the US where players can experience the benefits of gambling in a live casino environment, all without having to leave the comfort of their own home.
On this page, we’ll explain what this innovative new format is all about, and tell you how, where, and when you can get in on the action.
What is Live Dealer NJ?
Until somewhat recently, the only way to experience casino table gaming online was by playing against a computer in a simulated environment. Digital table gaming relies heavily upon what is known as a random number generator (RNG), which is essentially a piece of code that produces unbiased and random outcomes.
In short, whenever its man v. machine, all game outcomes are determined by the RNG.
Although this mechanism allowed games to move more swiftly, the social interactivity that players enjoyed in live environments was lost. That, and the RNG-driven nature of the game drew skepticism from some players.
Even today, despite regulatory safeguards instituted by legal NJ online casinos to ensure game integrity, some still only fully trust physically dealt cards.
For online players longing for these lost aspects of live casino gambling, Live Dealer provides a near perfect solution.
Live Dealer is made possible by advances in streaming technology. The games are broadcast in real-time from a dedicated Live Dealer studio (all NJ Live Dealer games are streamed from Golden Nugget AC) and feature:
- Real dealers, who deal to players in real time
- Physical playing devices, such as real playing cards and roulette wheels
- Social interaction functionality, allowing players to communicate via chat with the dealer and one another
The main differences between playing live and in Live Dealer games are that there are no physical chips to contend with, and payouts are handled automatically by computer systems. This allows for gaming rounds to move at a swifter pace compared to live, but still slower than traditional online table gaming.
Of course, the other difference is that players can play Live Dealer games from anywhere. Whether it be from their home PC, a laptop, or a mobile device, as long as players are physically located in the state of the New Jersey, they are free to take a seat at the Live Dealer tables.
What NJ online casinos feature Live Dealer games?
Currently, there are two. Both Golden Nugget Casino and Betfair Casino offer Live Dealer.
Golden Nugget Casino was first to the party, having launched its dedicated Live Dealer studio in August 2016. The format quickly blew up, forcing Golden Nugget to increase the number of tables and lengthen the hours of operation.
It wouldn’t be long before Betfair Casino, which operates under the Golden Nugget AC online gambling license, would hop onboard. Betfair launched its own Live Dealer foray in May 2017. However, instead of opening up its own studio, Betfair utilizes the same studio space, dealers and most of the same tables as Golden Nugget. Effectively, the two operations share liquidity.
|Betfair Casino||Golden Nugget Casino|
|Number of Live Dealer Tables||5||6|
|Hours of Operation||3 p.m - 3 a.m. daily||3 p.m - 3 a.m. daily|
|Game With Best Odds||Blackjack||Blackjack|
|No Deposit Bonus||$30 Free With Promo Code NJOG||None available|
Live Dealer games at Betfair Casino and Golden Nugget Casino are currently available for PC, Mac, and on Android/iOS powered smartphone devices. It is expected that the format will be available for tablet devices soon.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Live Dealer play?
- Can be played from any location within the state of New Jersey
- Real dealers and physical playing devices
- Optimized for play on Android and iOS smartphone devices
- Lower minimum wagers compared to the same games at Atlantic City casinos
- Guaranteed seating at roulette and baccarat tables
- Multiple side bets available
- Be social while retaining anonymity
- Slower pace compared to traditional online table gaming
- Rules aren’t always the most favorable to the player
- Limited hours of operation (3 p.m – 3 a.m. daily)
- Minimum bet typically higher compared to digital NJ online casino table games
Live Dealer games at NJ online casinos
At present, both Betfair Casino and Golden Nugget Casino feature three Live Dealer games: blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. A variety of baccarat and blackjack side games are also available.
Each site supports just one baccarat and roulette table, and that’s all that is necessary. One of the benefits of Live Dealer is that for most games, one table can theoretically host an infinite number of patrons.
Blackjack is an exception to the rule. Because players of this game are active participants, with each receiving a unique hand, seating is limited to just seven players per table.
As Live Dealer has grown in popularity, there has been increased demand for more blackjack tables. Luckily, Betfair and Golden Nugget have answered the call, with four blackjack tables now available at Golden Nugget, and three at Betfair.
Even more tables, and the inclusion of a special side bet (more on that later) that will help to circumvent future overpopulation problems, are in the works.
Upon taking a seat at a Live Dealer Blackjack table, players will notice a vast number of similarities to a blackjack game that might take place at a brick and mortar venue. Really, the only notable differences are:
- Wagering is done with a click of a mouse (or tap of a finger), instead of pushing forward physical chips.
- Hand actions such as hitting, standing, and doubling down are also handled electronically.
- Players have a limited amount of time to make their decisions. The timer was implemented to ensure adequate game flow.
- Payouts are calculated by a computer, instead of the dealer.
As far as the rules, they’re just about as player-friendly as those found in Atlantic City casino floors, although slightly less favorable compared to most digital games found at NJ online casinos:
- Naturals pay 3:2
- 8-deck shoe with 50% penetration (low penetration discourages card counting)
- Dealer hits on soft 17
- Double on any two cards
- Double after split
- Split up to two hands
- Split Aces receive one card per hand only
- No surrender
- Return-to-player: 99.28%
Worth noting, the minimum wagers for Live Dealer Blackjack games are significantly higher when stacked up against their digital counterparts, with a low-end wager of $10 on most tables. Still, that’s better than what AC patrons will find on all but slowest times of the week.
Maximum wagers run as high as $2,000.
There are also two side bets available: 21 + 3, and Perfect Pairs.
21+3 pays out when the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card make a flush or better. Payouts are as follows:
- Flush: 5-1
- Straight: 10-1
- Trips: 25-1
- Straight flush: 40-1
- Suited trips: 100-1
This bet sort of functions like the Three Card Poker bonus bet most players are familiar with. At a return-to-player of 93.72% it’s not the greatest play, but it’s one of the only ways to parlay a nominal sum into a titanic payout at the Live Dealer Blackjack tables. At a $1 minimum wager, it’s worth the occasional romp.
Perfect Pairs is a slightly better side bet, with a return of 95.91%. But the upside compared to 21+3 is somewhat lower.
For this game, players win when their first two cards make a pair. Payouts are as follows:
- Mixed color pair: 6-1
- Same color pair: 12-1
- Same suit pair or a perfect pair: 25-1
The minimum bet for this side wager is also $1.
The differences between playing Live Dealer Roulette and roulette at a live casino are nominal. Namely, players won’t be butting elbows with their table mates trying to place bets, as all betting is handled electronically.
But what players gain in convenience, they lose in house edge. That’s because the wheel features a zero and a double-zero. When the ball lands on these numbers, even money bets do not return any portion of the wager. As a result the house edge on all wagers is a rather unfavorable 5.26%.
Compare this to the European Roulette variants found on most NJ online casinos, where the house edge is 2.70% or even less, depending on the type of wager.
Still, players won’t find roulette games in AC where the minimum wager is just $1. So if you’re adamantly opposed to digital roulette games and want to play on the cheap, Live Dealer Roulette isn’t the worst option.
Outside of the ability to peel the cards oneself, Live Dealer Baccarat is just about identical to its b&m counterpart.
Well, there is one other big difference: there’s just about nowhere else in the country where players can legally see baccarat hands for a minimum of $1 per hand.
The version of baccarat spread at Golden Nugget Casino and Betfair Casino is the commission variant, which adheres to the following structure:
- Banker wins: 1:1 payout minus 5% commission
- Player wins: 1:1 payout
- Tie wins: 1:8 payout
The commission on Banker wins is taken because the Banker has a slightly higher probability of winning than the Player. Contrary to popular belief, baccarat outcomes are not truly a coin-flip.
Despite the commission, Banker bets are still a player’s best option, returning 98.94%. Players bets aren’t far behind, at 98.76%. And Tie bets are simply atrocious, with a house edge approaching 15%.
The popular Dragon Bonus side bet, which pays out on naturals and when one size beats the other by a hefty sum, is also spread at the Live Dealer Baccarat tables. Wagering spreads for this bet are $1-$100. Full payouts as follows:
- Win by 9: 30-1
- Win by 8: 10-1
- Win by 6-7: 4-1
- Win by 4-5: 2-1
- Win with a natural (8 or 9): 1-1
Players can bet either the Banker Dragon Bonus or the Player Dragon Bonus. Traditionally the Player Dragon Bonus bet is the better play, with a significantly lower house edge.
More Live Dealer NJ games are on the horizon
In relatively short order, both Golden Nugget Casino and Betfair Casino should be introducing the Bet Behind side bet for its Live Dealer Blackjack games.
This variant will allow both players on the rail and seated at the table to bet on other players hands. The upside to this wager is that it allows anyone with a Live Dealer Blackjack table open to get in on the action, all but eliminating the frustration associated with not finding a seat in the main game.
The one potential downside is that players will have to trust their horse to make sound playing decisions. Choose wisely.
Keep checking this page regularly for other updates, as we will detail new games and side bets as they are introduced.