Gambling is an age-old pastime that more than 1.6 billion people take part in worldwide, with global gaming value reaching over $465 billion in 2020. The very first casino first opening in Italy in 1638 and dominoes were used to gamble even before that in 10th century China. In more modern times, gambling hubs like Macau see as many as 39.4 million visitors annually and the internet has paved the way for online casinos, giving players access to their favorite games right from the palm of their hand. In fact, mobile gaming accounted for 51% of the total gaming revenue worldwide in 2018 and the global online gambling market is expected to be worth more than $92.9 billion by 2023.
It seems like the gambling industry has started to make a major shift, with brick-and-mortar casinos slowly making way for their online counterparts. But is there really that big of a difference between the two? When it comes to actual gameplay, payout, and entertainment, how do the two options add up? Let’s take a look at how real in-person casinos and online casinos compare when we break down their best qualities.
While only just coming onto the gambling scene within the past twenty years or so, online casinos have quite easily solidified their place in the industry as serious contenders. One of the major roadblocks online operators face is legality, but times are changing and many countries have started to revise their legal codes to be laxer about online gambling or more inclusive of local online operators. This was especially true over the last year when brick-and-mortar casinos took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and online casinos tried to recoup some of the lost revenue.
Location, Location, Location
When online casinos first appeared, they could be accessed at any time from within the comfort of your own home on a personal computer. Now, with the advent of smartphones, you can gamble online pretty much wherever and whenever you want to. During coronavirus lockdowns, when everything from restaurants to casinos were closed, logging on to an online casino was still feasible.
If you don’t know how to vet your options when it comes to online casinos, just signing up to play can be a gamble. But if you’re playing on a reputable site and practicing good internet hygiene, chances are your chances of winning go up. Running an online casino costs less than running a brick-and-mortar casino so operators can afford to be a little more generous, making payout rates better online.
Take Your Pick
Variety is the spice of life and at online casino sites, there’s plenty of variety to be found. From game selection to payment options to the choice in betting amount, there is usually a wide range of preferences you can take your pick from. The choice is yours even when it comes to choosing an online casino because you aren’t limited by where you live or how far you want to travel. Most online casinos have welcome promotions to encourage you to play on their site over others, which is a great bonus!
Much of the limitations of in-person casinos were made obvious in 2020 as temporary closures caused plummeting revenue. Still, as operating restrictions loosen, patrons return to their favorite casinos and plan trips to casino resort cities. Clearly, there’s something to land-based casinos that draws in players and keeps them coming back for more.
An Aura of Grandeur
There’s a reason that online casinos try to emulate the feel of big-name in-person casinos. Physically going to a casino has a certain atmosphere and players will return to a casino where they enjoy the environment even if they routinely lose money there. From the drinks to the often opulent decor, it’s all part of the design of a casino and it’s meant to encourage you to spend more time there and gamble for longer. As long as you’re having fun and playing responsibly, who cares if it works?
Just No Substitute
For players that like to socialize in-person, real casinos are leagues above online casinos. Some of the best casinos have great lounges and bars where you can catch happy hour and then sit in on a game of poker, mingling with new friends all the while. Online casinos have tried to replicate this with chat games and even live dealer games, but if you’re an extrovert at heart there’s really no replacement for face-to-face connection.
Show Me the Money
One of the best things about real casinos is that if you make it out on top you can take your winnings home with you right away. Often, online casinos have a withdrawal period that may take a few days. If you’re at the local casino and you have all your chips, you can just cash in right then and there and head home with your money. It’s not the biggest inconvenience for online players, but it’s really all about preference.