It’s fair to say that online casinos have come a tremendous way in the last couple of decades. Not only can we have a flutter on our smartphones and tablets today, but it’s also possible to play at a “live dealer” casino, which attempts to recreate the look and feel of a land-based one. The rapid advancements of broadband connectivity encouraged the iGaming industry to develop live online casinos, where professionally trained croupiers could interact and manage classic casino table games such as blackjack, roulette and even more “niche” games such as baccarat and Dragon Tiger.
The croupier is the professional in charge of a card table. He or she is responsible for gathering in and paying out winnings or tokens and keeping live games moving forward. It’s not just live high-definition (HD) streaming that helps to keep live casino games flowing either. How are online casinos able to transmit real-time card data from the tables and overlay it onto the desktop, laptop and mobile screens of players worldwide? The answer is optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
OCR originated in 1974
The earliest form of OCR tech dates back to 1914. However, only in 1974, an entrepreneur named Ray Kurzweil attempted to develop a system that could recognize text printed in almost any font. At the time, Kurzweil thought this technology would be most beneficial for blind people, giving them a system that would read the text to them aloud. It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that OCR was made available as an online service.
OCR is currently the most advanced yet flexible method to operate live dealer casinos online. The technology is designed to record all details of the gaming room and overlay it onto the video link for players to use to inform future betting decisions at the tables. Specialized cameras are used to capture the raw game data, with OCR software installed to acknowledge cards and symbols through a rapid-response database that can be displayed on-screen almost instantly.
An upgrade on RFID technology for live casinos
It’s a slightly more sophisticated way of managing and operating live casino games. Initially, live casino operators would use radio frequency identification (RFID) to keep online players updated on the real-time action on the tables in the studio. Each card within an active deck was fitted with a minute computer chip that could be scanned by the dealer prior to being dealt on the table. The introduction of OCR meant that these chips were no longer necessary inside each card, allowing live casinos to return to using conventional playing cards rather than tailor-made RFID versions.
In fact, the use of OCR technology means that live casino players today no longer notice the difference between playing a live dealer game or playing at a brick-and-mortar casino. The table information, such as the value of your blackjack hand or the size of your wagers staked on the roulette table, are displayed in real-time, almost as quickly as your brain can process it. For croupiers at live dealer casinos, their studio monitors are their best friend. They display what the active players can see on their computer screens, helping them to keep track of the bets placed and which bets or hands can be closed off.
Alternative applications of OCR
OCR technology has already been used in various other industries to digitize and bring them into the 21st century. In fact, OCR is the heartbeat of the document scanning sector, which helps to give physical books, documents and all journals a digital lifespan. In fact, the British Library has been working hard with OCR tech as part of an ongoing project to digitize its entire archives; futureproofing content that’s centuries-old for generations to come.
OCR technology is also playing a fundamental role in the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) scanning, which not only assists car parks with documenting entries and exits, it also assists regional police forces that look to monitor the movements of criminals evading capture. So, while OCR is being used as an entertainment tool to add an extra dimension to the iGaming industry, it’s also being utilized as a force for good. It’s always great to see technology being used to make life better, whether it’s for entertainment or encouraging people to make themselves healthier with improved fitness monitoring and dietary planning options.