Dr.Ho Goes Live

16 February 2001
A new Internet casino has launched, and it's like none on the Web. Featuring scantily clad dealers and a hefty 70 MB download, DrHo.com is a three-dimensional avatar casino that offers interactive media and virtual reality gaming technology for customers to play games in real-time against live dealers based in Antigua.

"This website leverages Dr. Ho's brand name and experience in 'bricks' and allows us to apply it to 'clicks' in the form of a virtual casino," explained Peter Kjaer, Dr.Ho.com's CEO. Stanley Ho is an 80-year old self-made billionaire who has built an international luxury hotel casino empire concentrated in Macau. Ho is famous throughout Asia, and is known in China as "Wong Tai Sin" -- the god who fulfills peoples' wishes.

The Dr. Ho casino site is unique in a number of ways. For example, the site is designed to be a gaming, lifestyle and entertainment site. Besides offering casino games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, Caribbean poker and big and small, DrHo.com also features numerous free games through a deal with PlayLink, ranging from popular classics like checkers and chess to break out originals for the Dr. Ho gamer.

The entertainment and lifestyle portions of the site include an "insider's view", via the StarEastNet network, reporting the latest celebrity gossip, as well as up-to-date reports on the news celebrities are making. There's also an astrology section for players' wanting a personalized astrological reading.

The biggest difference, however, between DrHo.com and competing online casinos is the virtual reality gaming technology developed by Eyeball.com. This unique technology allows players to interact with a live dealer over the Internet. The casino worker deals games in real time shown in a separate "picture in picture" video corner of the screen. (According to the company, the dealers are all from China, having been specially selected for their "skill and charisma" and after finishing training, are sent to work in the DrHo.com Antigua offices, where the site is licensed.)

At the same time, on the main screen a 3-D avatar mimics the dealer's movements and the cards she deals. Each betting decision and move of chips by the player is transmitted back to the live dealer who then determines the next move or whether to make payment. The games might be live, but the participants are all playing online, and not on location.

According to a spokesman, the Dr.Ho.com site is being "targeted globally, right now, to wherever it's legal." It does, however, have a decidedly Asian feel, mainly to "give a flavor of Dr. Ho's world," the spokesman added.

The site has had good response since launching, according to officials, who've been "very pleasantly surprised" by the large number of players checking out the casino games.