Hybrid Gaming: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

As the technology and regulatory framework behind the U.S. online gaming industry continue to evolve, hybrid gaming has emerged as a way to bridge the gap between traditional live-dealer games and virtual formats.

Hybrid Gaming: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Hybrid gaming is a revolutionary approach to delivering casino-style games, enabling a single dealer to host numerous players while incorporating high payouts into any game of chance. The gaming industry has evolved significantly since the days of live-dealer games like blackjack and roulette. As technology advanced, manufacturers began offering these games in a virtual format, starting with slot machines on casino floors and later expanding online as internet technology improved.

Evolution of Online Live-Dealer Games

The initial online live-dealer games were centered around blackjack, roulette and baccarat. Games such as roulette and baccarat, which require no player interaction during gameplay, are highly scalable for online play. However, games like blackjack, which involve player decisions during the game, have traditionally been less scalable. About 14 years ago, I foresaw the internet as the next frontier for gaming, predicting that U.S. regulatory technology requirements would eventually support online gaming. I also anticipated technological advancements that would lower the labor costs of offering non-scalable games like blackjack and poker online.

Innovative Processes in Hybrid Gaming

To address these challenges, I developed three processes that enable any casino-style game to scale up to any number of players and introduce high payouts to any game of chance, such as roulette and blackjack.

Three Technological Steps

These processes can be applied individually or in combination:

  1. Dealing Mechanical Values: This involves using physical game elements, such as a deck of cards or a roulette wheel as a starting point and allowing any number of players to interact with the system and make their own decisions (e.g., hit or stand in blackjack).
  2. Combining Mechanical and Virtual Values: This step involves using both physical random numbers and virtual ones to determine a game’s outcome.
  3. Recognizing and Withdrawing Mechanical Values: This involves recognizing physical game elements as they are drawn and removing them from the virtual pool of game values.

By utilizing any of these steps, or a combination thereof, it is possible to offer any game of chance to any number of players and enhance traditional casino games with higher payouts. Hybrid gaming is advantageous for operators, who can reduce labor costs, and for players, who enjoy more entertaining games with higher payouts.

Why Hybrid Gaming Matters

Hybrid gaming wasn’t previously feasible due to technological limitations or, in the case of the U.S. market, regulatory constraints. However, with the legalization of iCasinos in seven states, hybrid gaming is now the fastest-growing segment of the gaming industry. It combines elements of live-dealer and virtual games, creating a unique hybrid experience.


In summary, hybrid gaming represents the future of the gaming industry, offering scalable and engaging experiences for players and cost-effective solutions for operators. By bridging the gap between traditional live-dealer games and virtual formats, hybrid gaming is poised to redefine the casino experience both online and on the casino floor.

Articles by Author: Bruce Merati

Bruce Merati is cofounder of BC Technologies, a sportsbook system provider and CEO of Uplay1, a gaming IP company.