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Global Gaming Labs Review

As in so many aspects of online gambling these days, Americans often get the short end of the stick when it comes to live dealer games. Most of the biggest providers are licensed to operate in regulated markets, and as such, stay out of most grey markets. Many other reputable software developers are willing to offer their games around the world, but still avoid the USA in order to negate any potential risk of incurring the wrath of the American government.

That doesn’t mean that US players are entirely out of luck, however. There are some firms that still provide all manner of Internet gambling options to Americans, including live dealer games. One such company is Global Gaming Labs, a Costa Rican group that allows their games to be played just about everywhere, including in the United States. As you might suspect, they’re not a well-regulated entity, but they have developed a reputation for fair and dependable service that makes them one of the top choices for live casino play in the USA.

Standard Suite of Games, With A Few Extras

Global Gaming Labs does a pretty good job of presenting their games, at least in terms of making them playable. The video quality is good, though not quite top-of-the-line, and it’s easy to follow the action thanks to cards that use oversized rank and suit indicators. The overall presentation is relatively bland; there isn’t much in the way of decoration of atmosphere here (though the backdrops vary by table, and some are more garish than others). But the interface is clean and easy to use, including windows for chat and table limits that seem designed to take up as little room as possible. The major issue we had here was responsiveness; it sometimes takes a little effort to get the software to accept your inputs, which can be annoying and even potentially lead to misclicks.

When it comes to game selection, the core of the platform are the big three: blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. But there’s enough variety to make this collection solidly above average, and an additional game thrown in the mix adds just a little extra replay value.

There are two versions of blackjack that can be seen on this site. First, there’s a relatively standard seven-seat blackjack table that plays a lot like the games seen at a live resort. Dealt out of an eight-deck shoe, most of the rules here would be familiar to anyone who has played in an American casino before: surrender is allowed, doubling is allowed on any two cards, and the dealer will stand on all 17s.

Alternately, you can also try GGL’s Unlimited Blackjack option. This is another implementation of the common draw concept, in which everyone plays with the same exact cards on every hand. Each player can still decide how best to play their hand, and enough cards will be dealt out to account for every decision players may have made. The one exception is the common way that many of these variants account for splitting: the option to split is only offered when basic strategy says the player should do so, and players then have the option to either accept the split, or to surrender their hand, receiving 80% of their bet back.

Baccarat is presented in standard fashion, with the normal 5% commission on banker bets, ties paying 8-1, and pairs side bets also available. The interface also includes a complete game history, with the software doing all the hard work of tracking what numbers have come out and which hands have been winning in a variety of different formats.

A roulette game is also offered, with a surprisingly large part of the screen devoted to video (both the wide shot of the entire table and a close-up of the wheel itself. That leaves a smaller-than-usual betting area, which can be a little tricky at times, though not to the point of being game breaking. The most important feature is the fact that the game here is European Roulette – something that wasn’t a given, considering the company is based in Costa Rica – meaning a single-zero wheel and much better odds for players when compared to the American version of the game.

Finally, there’s a Texas Hold’em game that is similar to other versions of Casino Hold’em you’ll encounter at brick-and-mortar casinos and online sites. You’ll be playing one on one against a dealer in a game that superficially follows the structure of hold’em, but in which there is a fixed betting structure and payouts. This version includes an ante bet and the option to call or fold on the flop; there is also a side bet that pays out if you make a pair of aces or better.

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A Grey Market Player

Global Gaming Labs is, as the name would suggest, an operation that is willing to offer their games throughout most of the world. But the main focus is probably the American market, as the company is one of the few that will operate there, and it remains a lucrative nation to target even if licensing is not currently available.

The studios for this platform are located in Costa Rica, and while GGL doesn’t have any licenses in particular, it’s telling that they offer their games in both English and Spanish – something that is perfect not only for the US, but for the Americas as a whole. The dealers aren’t very talkative in general, so it’s possible for players who use other languages to get just as much enjoyment out of these games, but the target customer base is still pretty clear.

There are a few limiting factors for playing on this platform. There is no mobile support, meaning you’ll have to log in through your computer, and there is no free play option, which means you’ll have to put real money on the line if you want to play. Thankfully, the table limits tend to be rather low: we’ve seen bets from $5 to $100 allowed on most tables, which should be perfect for most mass market players, even if the VIP-style players will likely feel they can’t bet quite as much as they want.

One of the Best Options for Americans

There’s no doubt that Global Gaming Labs is one of the top live dealer options available for gamblers in the USA. With online gaming regulation only in its infancy in a handful of states, it is unlikely that most Americans will have licensed options with local oversight anytime soon, and it is hard to argue with the track record they have built up over the past few years. The game selection is solid, and while it may not be the most advanced client in the world, everything about it works well-enough to make playing here an enjoyable experience.

That said, it’s hard to recommend GGL’s games over those from a licensed and regulated provider if you have both options available to you. Since that’s not a situation that Americans find themselves in, then by all means, this is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy live casino games from the comfort of your home. But if you like in an area where there is strong regulation, there are probably other major providers that are licensed to operate in your jurisdiction, and that level of oversight is generally a big positive – one that you won’t get when playing with Global Gaming.

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