Ever since the very first casinos opened their doors in the mid-17th century they have been famous as being places steeped in glamour and excitement. Somewhere that can make millionaires overnight or even on the turn of a card or the spin of the wheel at 666 casino. But despite this exclusive and prestigious image, the shine does seem to have been leaving casinos of late. Attendances are reported to be down and revenue has been falling, even in the world’s most famous gambling capitals like Macau and Las Vegas.

One of the causes most often cited for this decline is the inexorable rise of the online casino. It’s thought that more and more people have been switching to these as a more informal and much more convenient way to play from the comfort of their own homes. Plus, with the ever-increasing sophistication of mobile technology, it doesn’t even have to be from home any more.

However the one element that many online casinos have been unable to replicate up until now is the excitement and ambience of a real casino replacing it, instead, with fairly functional video game-style recreations of roulette, poker and blackjack.

In response to this the best online casinos have been hard at work developing what’s become known as the “live” casino experience. This goes a great deal of the way to recreate the real thing and, to help it achieve this, it features attractive dealers running games in real time and aided by a clever device called a Game Control Unit that converts the action on the tables into digital information allowing the game to be played online. To make the experience of playing in a live casino even more real online casinos also include a chat function allowing the player to communicate with the dealer which is something you should definitely try on some of the best online live casino services such as 888casino as it does prove to be a really fresh gambling experience.

There are also some important financial advantages that bring the best of both worlds to the online casino. That’s because it allows players to combine qualifying for the bonuses that online operators use to reward and encourage loyalty with much of the thrill of the physical casino experience.

Of course, it’s never going to be possible to make the live casino exactly like the real thing due to a number of inevitable limitations. For example games will be played out at a slower place than in real life as the players themselves may not be quite as engaged as they would be if everyone was in the same room. At busy times of the day it can also be a little tricky and involve a bit of a wait before you can get on to the game you want to play – although this isn’t an issue with a game like roulette where any number of people can take part simultaneously.

With the rapid emergence of virtual reality this is the next step forward that promises to create an even more real casino experience, maybe even letting players go to virtual versions of iconic destinations the Bellagio or Caesars Palace. And when that does happen it will mean only one thing – some more very bad news for the traditional bricks and mortar casinos.