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Vivo Gaming Review

While some of the live dealer systems we’ve reviewed are very clear about every aspect of their operations, others have some mysteries that are more difficult to unravel. Sometimes, their regulatory situation can be a bit unclear, or we might not be quite sure where their studios are located. Ownership issues can also be hard to figure out from time to time – not exactly a rare problem in the gambling world.

Vivo Gaming has some of these issues, though in a more unusual way. Yes, the regulatory situation here isn’t entirely clear, but what’s even stranger is the fact that it’s not entirely clear if they offer all of the games they talk about on their website. From what we’ve found, we’ve only been able to try a far more limited selection of options, and looking around the Internet, other reviewers have run into the same issues. Combine that with other areas that show a similar lack of transparency or certainty, and you have an operator where there are more questions than answers.

Uncertain Game Selection

Before we even get into the questions about the games that Vivo has to offer, there’s a lot to discuss when it comes to the way these games are presented. There are actually multiple studios in play here, located in various parts of the world: two different ones in Asia now, as well as some games that are broadcast from Costa Rica.

The video and audio quality varies tremendously between these locations. The original Asian games broadcast from a studio at the Naka Palace Entertainment Hotel Resort in Laos had the weakest features: the technical quality was low, the dealers looked disinterested, and the interfaces were not integrated well with the live video. That has been improved significantly at a new studio in Manila, where ten VIP baccarat tables are now produced from. Similarly, the games that come out of the Costa Rica studio are pretty much up to industry standards, even if they don’t look spectacular in any way. Overall, the video feeds tend to be a bit on the small side.

The interfaces also vary depending on the game being played. In some cases, they are quite intuitive and well designed, while in others, they are extremely cluttered and feel amateurish. We also found problems with responsiveness at times, with some buttons seemingly not working: in one amusing instance, the ability to leave a table wouldn’t work, as we could click on “no” but not on “yes” when asked if we wanted to return to the lobby.

Let’s talk a bit about the games themselves. Blackjack is offered, utilizing the standard seven-seat tables we’ve seen from many other providers. Dealers stand on all 17s, but other rules are less clear, and there isn’t an easy way to access the specifics from inside the client. There’s also no ability to play behind, and no common draw version is offered, limiting the number of users who can take part at any time.

Next up is baccarat, which is available with a few different layouts. Each one features a wide range of bets, starting with the typical player, banker, and tie bets, with lots of side wagering available too: you can bet on a player or banker pair, make bonus bets, or bet on big and small results. The layouts also include a full range of graphics that allow you to see the recent results at the table, in formats like the big and small road. Not surprisingly, the best looking games in this category are the ones that come from the new Manila studio. Some tables also include the “squeeze” feature that allows players to get a peek at the face down cards, a staple of high-limit baccarat in brick-and-mortar casinos.

The game collection at Vivo also includes a number of roulette tables, all of which offer European single-zero formats. The presentation here is generally simple, but effective: the betting areas are large, there is a lot of information presented for layers who like tracking stats and trends, and the video – which sets at the top center of the screen – is of relatively high quality and zooms nicely into the wheel before each spin. A racetrack betting layout is also offered, and you can remove elements (like the recent numbers display) if you feel the layout is too crowded.

Another option is Dragon Tiger, the Asian card game that is very similar to Casino War. This game is offered out of their Laos studio, and like many of the games here, is less visually appealing and more cumbersome than some of their other tables. This is also a very basic implementation: you can bet on the dragon or tiger hand, or on a tie, with no bonus bets offered.

Vivo Gaming also offers some other games, though it is unclear where these have been implemented. We have seen video of a live dealer craps game in action, which is pretty exciting: due to the game’s complexity, there aren’t any other operators who offer the game, and the company’s solution of using one employee as the shooter and another as a croupier is a pretty innovative way of keeping the action moving. However, we haven’t seen any casinos that currently offer this game.

Similarly, old video exists of the company’s dealers running Caribbean Stud Poker games, and Sic Bo is also mentioned on the website. However, they offer no demos of these games, and we haven’t seen any evidence that they are still being offered anywhere. Combine this with the fact that recent videos on Vivo’s YouTube account emphasize baccarat, roulette, and blackjack, and that seems like a pretty clear sign that these are the three games they are focusing on at the present, which makes their game selection only about average compared to the competition.

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A Worldwide Operation with Three Studios

As we noted earlier, Vivo produces their games in three different studios located around the world. Years ago, they had both a Costa Rican studio and one from the aforementioned casino in Laos, which added some Asian flavor to their overall suite. But those games were uninspired, to say the least: the casino environment was dark and dank, and the interfaces were unreliable as well. That situation improved a bit in late 2015, with the opening of a VIP studio in Manila, which exclusively offers ten baccarat tables.

Still, there is no clear focus here, and the company advertises their products as having worldwide reach. They are clearly geared towards grey market operators who are looking for a complete, quick live dealer suite that can be implemented in other casinos. The fact that the games can be played on both desktop computers and mobile devices (aided by a recent upgrade to their HTML5 platform for their roulette tables) is also a plus that makes these games accessible to a wider variety of players.

Table limits vary, with both low and high stakes tables offered for most games in order to accommodate different types of players. While some games are available in free play mode in the demo section of their website, this is clunky and sometimes unreliable: we would sometimes try out a table only to get error messages, while other tables would give us no trouble at all playing in play money mode.

Clunky Interface and Uncertainty Plague Platform

Overall, it’s hard for us to come up with many good reasons to recommend the live dealer offerings from Vivo Gaming to our readers. It’s not that the games are unplayable by any means: for the most part, despite their quirks, we were able to place bets and follow the action with very few problems. But considering that most other clients we’ve played with are more stable, better looking, and presented us with no serious issues, it’s obvious that there are better options out there.

There’s really nowhere that this platform excels in order to make up for these shortcomings, either. The video quality is okay, the dealers are fine (though not as talkative as we’d like), and the overall presentation is average at best. While you might quibble about how much you like certain features compared to our evaluation, it’s clear that there’s nothing you can’t get at least as well from many other providers.

Finally, there are the issues with transparency and clarity in what exactly you can get from this company. The game selection seems to be different in practice than what they advertise on their website, and the regulatory situation isn’t entirely clear: they mention being licensed in Curacao, but it’s not clear what kind of oversight is given to their operations. This isn’t rare for a provider that allows their games to be used in grey markets, but we’d still like to feel a bit more comfortable about their operations.

Put that all together, and you have a company that we can’t rate terribly highly compared to most live dealer software developers. If you’re playing at a site that includes their games, we wouldn’t go so far as telling you not to enjoy them: they may be clunky and sometimes frustrating, but overall, they do give you a decent casino experience. However, there’s no reason that you have to seek these games out, and we wouldn’t even look at them as much of a plus for any site that chooses to include them.

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