When online casinos first started to appear in the 1990s, there’s no doubt that it was a revolution in how people viewed gambling. You no longer had to travel for hours or plan a special vacation just to find real money gaming; instead, the same slots and table games were now available right in peoples’ homes. But while this concept was fascinating, for many players, it wasn’t quite the same. There’s a certain aura and environment that comes with being in the casino, and it’s hard to replicate that through a computer screen.
While brick-and-mortar resorts still have the advantage in terms of visceral experience, the Internet has closed the gap thanks to companies like Visionary iGaming. This firm is one of the many that provide a live dealer experience, one in which players can interact with human dealers and real world, physical cards and tables through the magic of streaming video. Visionary’s products make it possible to get an authentic casino look and feel while still retaining the convenience of an online gaming site.
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An Early Innovator
Visionary iGaming first jumped into the live dealer game in 2008, as it was founded by a former executive from Vuetec (another developer in this sector). At the time it was launched, the software was more or less state of the art, which quickly helped the company develop a strong reputation. While they haven’t made much in the way of updates in recent years, the company’s name has helped keep it a major player in live gaming even while more technologically-advanced operations have emerged.
Live From Costa Rica
Visionary iGaming is solely a live dealer firm, so you won’t see any slots or other traditional offerings here. Instead, the developer focuses on providing a live experience for a limited selection of popular table games, each of which is designed to feel as much like the “real thing” as possible. All of the games here are streamed from a studio in Costa Rica. In total, there are six games available: three that we’d describe as pretty standard for the industry, and three others that are variants on these classics.
Let’s start with the games you already know and love. There’s a baccarat table that offers standard payouts, including the 5% commission on banker bets and 8-1 on ties, along with several side bets. European roulette plays just as you’d expect, with all of the standard betting options available. Finally, you can play blackjack at a table the features enough seats for seven players.
Each of these games is presented to you in a similar interface. The bottom half the screen features the same sort of virtual play area that you’d see in a traditional online title. This is where you’ll place your bets in between rounds. Above that is a live-streaming video display that takes up a little more than half of the width of the screen. Here, you’ll get to see a variety of views, usually with both wide shots and close ups on some of the key locations (like the cards in blackjack, or where the ball stops on the roulette wheel.
Other information is also available at the top of the screen. On the left, you’ll see bet limits, a short bio on the dealer, and instructions on how to play each game. On the upper right, you’ll see a chat function that allows you to speak with the dealer, and potentially with your fellow players at the table. The alternate versions of these games are pretty interesting. The most standard of these is Super 6 Baccarat, a variant available at many casinos. In this version of “no commission” baccarat, the banker bet is never subjected to a 5% commission. However, if the banker wins on exactly a total of 6, the payout is cut in half (0.5-1 instead of 1-1).
A little more unusual is blackjack early payout. This game uses all of the same rules as the normal blackjack version from Visionary, but has an additional option: you can surrender your hand at any time, in any situation. The payouts are dynamically generated based on the current situation you’re in; that means that if you’re a favorite, you might even be able to “surrender” and come out ahead for the hand.
Finally, we were particularly intrigued by the Enhanced Payout version of American roulette. This game isn’t offered at every casino, but where it is found, it changes one of the best known rules in all of casino gambling: for perhaps the first time ever, American roulette becomes a better bet than the European single-zero table! This is because all of the payouts are boosted slightly: for instance, a single number bet pays out at 36.08-1 rather than 35-1. That’s just enough to drive the house edge a bit lower than at the European tables.
A Favorite for Players and Operators Alike
Visionary iGaming may not be a household name among players, but it has gained a fair bit of popularity. For one, it is used at enough casino sites that plenty of users will run into these games eventually: reportedly, about 20 different sites currently use their dealers, and many of these operations allow American players to participate.
One of the biggest pluses for players here has nothing to do with the games themselves, though the variety is solid. Instead, it’s the human dealers, a set of lively and fun women who really do help build an atmosphere of excitement at every table. This might not sound like a big deal if you haven’t tried many of these games, but if you look at some of the competition, you’ll find quite a few very robotic dealers out there, ones who rarely if ever interact with their guests or break from a very rigid script they’ve obviously been given.
Another plus is the bilingual nature of the offerings here. At most sites that partner with Visionary, you’ll be able to find both English and Spanish games, making this a developer that can accommodate most players in the Americas.
Aging, But Still Formidable
We’d be lying if we didn’t point out that Visionary’s platform is a bit behind the times at this point. Most developers now offer expanded features, visually interesting studios, and high quality video. There have been a lot of technological advances in the past few years, and it’s clear that this company hasn’t taken advantage of them in the way many of their competitors have.
But if the audio and visual presentation isn’t that critical to you – and to be fair, it’s certainly not horrible here – then this is still one of the better options when it comes to live dealer gaming. With fantastic and social dealers, a great selection of interesting games, and an interface that just plain works (something that can’t always be said for these live offerings), Visionary iGaming is one of the top developers in the live sphere, and a name that’s well worth checking out if you enjoy an authentic brick-and-mortar atmosphere.