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NetEnt Live Dealer Review

NetEnt has long been one of the biggest names in online gambling software development, but they were a much later entrant into the world of live dealer games. Launched in 2013, the NetEnt live casino platform is an important competitor in this segment of the industry, as their name carries a lot of weight: many of the top general developers only create traditional games, making this company one of the few that dabbles in both areas.

The NetEnt live offerings are not as varied or numerous as those from some other providers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. As you’d expect from any of their games, the interfaces are sharp and attractive, regardless of which gambling site you connect to them through. There’s also at least some innovation here, in the form of a blackjack game that allows a virtually unlimited number of players to take part in the game at one time.

Common Draw Offers Unique Spin on Popular Game

Compared to some live casino providers such as Evolution Gaming, NetEnt doesn’t feature the widest selection of games in this format. In fact, there are only two available: roulette and blackjack.

The live roulette game is a pretty standard European roulette game, though some casinos may offer tables with French rules, which include the favorable la partage rule on even money bets. The interface is fairly straightforward: the bottom half of the screen is covered by a full roulette layout, which is where you’ll make your bets, while the top half features the croupier and the wheel itself. Behind there is a customizable background that – through the magic of green screen technology – can vary between casino sites. There’s also the typical graphics that display the most recent winners, as well as numbers that have been hot or cold in the recent past.

Next up is the live blackjack game. As in the roulette game, the part of the interface used by players is mostly located at the bottom of the screen, overlaid on the actual table being used by the dealer. Each table features seven spots, allowing seven players to play at once. In order to place a bet, players can click on the appropriate chips, which will then appear in their spot. When it is time to make a decision in the hand, you’ll see a visual menu pop up at the bottom of the screen, with only the appropriate options available. Players can confirm their choices by clicking on the icon associated with the action they wish to take. Additional graphical touches include a recent history of dealer totals, the frequency of recent blackjacks and busts, and the percentage of players who won or pushed on the last hand.

That last feature might seem a little strange, as it’s not too hard to remember how just a handful of players did on a hand that ended just seconds ago. But it’s an entirely different story in NetEnt’s Common Draw Blackjack game, which allows an unlimited number of people to take part at a single table. The interface is exactly the same here (with one exception that we’ll note in a moment), but there is only one betting spot at the table: one that all players will use.

Before each hand, there is time for each and every player to make a bet. Once they do, the player’s hand will be dealt face up, as will the dealer’s up card (this version uses the European “no peak” rule). At this point, all players will have the option of making decisions for the hand. If all players stand, then the dealer will simply play out their own hand and determine the results of the hand.

Where things get interesting is when some players choose to take one course, and others choose something different. In these cases, the dealer will deal out additional cards for those who wanted them – but these cards will not impact those who decided to stand (or otherwise wouldn’t normally receive those cards). That means that each player is determining their own fate, even as only one hand is being dealt out on the table. As a helpful tool, you can see a bar graph that shows the relative popularity of each action. That means you can see how the room is varying in their decision to hit or stand with a 16 against a ten, for instance, or just how many players aren’t splitting their pair of eights. But remember, the other decisions won’t impact you: in the end, the way you chose to play is recorded, and your bets will be paid out accordingly.

A few other features should be noted about the interfaces in these games. For one, there is a fully functional chat feature that allows you to talk to the other players and (potentially) the dealer. For sites that offer multiple tables, a mini-lobby slider will show you all of the games currently running, along with their minimum and maximum stakes: a useful tool if you feel like your luck might change in a different environment.

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Targets Shift to Regulated Markets

As a company, NetEnt isn’t particularly confined to a single region of the world. In fact, until recently, the developer’s games could be seen all over the place, as they were one of the most popular developers that were active in so-called “grey markets” – those places where there is no regulation – and many sites using their software even took customers from some regulated jurisdictions without having licenses to operate in those areas.

But the focus has changed over the years. In late 2015 and 2016, the firm stopped allowing casinos to use its games (including live dealer content) in some major markets, including Canada and France. The goal was to clean up the company’s regulatory profile as it moved to gain licensing in more regulated jurisdictions, including New Jersey (and potentially other American states in the future).

For the moment, though, most live casino games from NetEnt can be found at European-facing casino sites. From their studio in Malta, they broadcast games to a variety of jurisdictions. In order to give the best possible experience to players in these various areas, a number of different languages are supported at their tables, depending on where you play. Right now, NetEnt offers dealers that speak English, Swedish, and Italian, with other languages certainly possible in the future.

As for the stakes at these tables, that may largely depend on where you are playing from and the site you are on. NetEnt allows operators to customize their offerings to a great deal, including when it comes to the minimum and maximum bets at various tables. We have seen roulette games with bet spreads from a single euro to as much as €75,000, for instance. In Sweden, the Common Draw Blackjack game offers a minimum bet of 10 krona and a maximum of 50,000 krona. These spreads should ensure that virtually every player can find a stakes level that works for them. As with most live dealer games, however, no “free play” version is offered in the NetEnt software.

A Solid Offering from an Excellent Provider

While there may not be anything about the NetEnt live dealer suite that stands out as spectacular, there’s one thing that we can say for certain: everything seems to work, and just about everything is easy to use and understand. The dealers appear to be generally well-versed in their games and friendly to players, the rules are pretty standard, and the bet limits are generous enough to fit most bankrolls.

That said, there are a couple negatives we’d like to point out. First, the game selection is pretty limited. Yes, blackjack and roulette are among the most popular games when it comes to live dealer play, but we’re surprised not to see baccarat (at a minimum) along with them, especially from such a well-established developer. In addition, while we enjoyed the innovative Common Draw format, there are times when you might get a bit confused by the action – if not enough to cause you to make mistakes, at least enough to ruin the illusion of being in a real casino setting. It can get pretty weird when some players make drastically different actions: while the graphical interface will keep your hands straight for you when you make decisions, it’s still weird to just see five cards laid out on a table when some players have doubled down, others hit, and still others have split.

Despite these minor grievances, though, the NetEnt live games represent a solid effort. They’re not a game-changing revelation for a site by any means, but they still add plenty of value, and players would be well advised to consider these games if they enjoy playing the more traditional, RNG-powered versions of the same titles at their online casino.

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