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Live Slots are Now a Thing

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Playtech made a rather interesting announcement last week. The software developer released a version of their popular Buffalo Blitz slot, set in a live casino environment. Buffalo Blitz can now be played at any of Playtech’s live casino partners, where punters can share the fun of playing community spins in a more social setting.

The mechanics of this live game seem to be identical to the normal Buffalo Blitz slot. The game has 6 reels and 4096 ways to win. Symbols include bears, moose, raccoons, lynx and of course the buffalo, which pays out the highest amount – 300x if you get six of them on one payline.

300 times your line bet is a decent potential win for any base game, but Buffalo Blitz also has a bonus feature awarding up to 100 free spins and wild multipliers of up to 5x. This free spins round is probably what made the slot the most popular of Playtech’s games, and the good news is that this feature is carried over to the live version, so the potential for big wins in Buffalo Blitz Live is definitely present.

Buffalo Blitz is a medium-to-high variance slot, so expect long sequences of dead spins, occasionally broken up by big wins and free spins features. Is this a good idea for a live casino game? I have my doubts and think lowering the variance a little would make a more attractive game for recreational slot fans.

Since this is a live game where you are playing alongside other customers, you must play it in the autospin mode. You select the number of autospins (10, 20, 30, 50, 70 or 99) and pick your wager per spin. The minimum stake is 40 pence per spin – which looks a little on the high side for recreational slot fans. However, you can set loss limits and can stop your autospins after the bonus feature is finished. All in all, it’s pretty standard Playtech slot functionality.

Fans of Twitch and YouTube streaming channels will be pleased to learn that there is a chat feature, and that does help (a little) with the social feeling of the game. At the moment, comments are few and far between, but hopefully, this will change over time as customers who are used to social gaming (e.g. bingo) give live slots a spin.

You can request manual spins through the chat, and the dealer will then hit a big red button and spin the reels for you. Is there any difference between these manual spins and the standard auto spins? Not that I could see. But it’s quite an entertaining feature anyway, although a little gimmicky.

The presenters are typical live casino dealers who do a great job of geeing up the crowd. However, I think Playtech could improve on things by hiring presenters who understand slots a little better. They don’t have to hire Darren from Stop and Step, but if every presenter knew how the bonus round works it would help a lot. I guess that this will improve over time.

All in all, this is an entertaining twist on the slot niche, and hopefully will make hardcore slot fans think about giving live casino games a try. That said, finding a casino to play Buffalo Blitz Live is going to be the biggest challenge, and it’s a real shame that so few casinos offer Playtech live casino games.

To be fair, this situation is more the fault of Playtech rather than the online casinos. For some unknown reason, Playtech tries to be the only live dealer provider at any casino, which seems a rather arrogant stance to take. Smaller casinos (who tend to offer more attractive welcome bonuses) naturally can’t be bothered with Playtech’s rules, and opt for live casino products from Evolution Gaming, and NetEnt instead. If you are a dedicated bonus hunter, you might not get a chance to play Buffalo Blitz Live – which is a pity.

Live slot games are certainly an interesting concept and one that we might be seeing a lot more of in 2020. I hope that NetEnt take some inspiration from Playtech. Like Playtech, NetEnt has fallen behind Evolution Gaming in the live casino vertical but has some of the most exciting and most popular slots around. I would love to see Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest or Narcos in a live dealer environment, and plenty of other live casino fans would feel the same way.

Which slot games would you like to see given the live casino treatment? Let us know in the forum.


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