If you were born and have lived in the past century, you most probably know what a casino is. You may have been into one or played in one once or twice in your life. You've seen it up close or in a movie. You know what kind of place it is - a place for gambling. With everything now going digital, even casinos have gone online.
What, then, makes a traditional casino different from an online casino? In a battle of online casinos vs traditional casinos, here are the things you should know.
Defining Online Casinos and Traditional Casinos
What exactly is a "traditional" casino and what makes an online playing platform an online casino? Here are the distinctions between the two.
In a nutshell, an online casino is a platform - usually a website or a mobile app - that offers you traditional casino games that you can play online. Just like in a casino that you can walk into, online casinos are played with real money and you can win real money from these games, too.
When it comes to games, online casinos offer mostly the same form of games that you can find in a land-based casino: there are online slots, online card games like blackjack and poker, and table games like roulette and dice.
Note that real money online slots, table games, and other gambling activities have a method to accept and dispense actual cash. This function is possible by utilizing various payment processes such as credit cards.
A traditional casino is a casino that most people know - some call it land-based casinos, the brick-and-mortar place. Those flashy and bright places in Las vegas you often see in the movies? That is a traditional casino. Basically, any physical establishment where you can gamble and play games using your real money and potentially win real money, too, can be considered as a traditional casino.
Advantages of Online Casinos
With the growing numbers of online casinos popping up every day, what are the pros of playing in one or a few of them? Here are some ideas.
Play Anywhere and Anytime
Since an online casino is based on a website or a mobile app, you are not limited to playing in one physical location only. As long as you have your device - it could be your computer, laptop, or a smartphone - and you have a working internet connection, you are good to go.
If you are stuck in traffic, you make a quick bet in one round of roulette. No need to physically travel anywhere as you virtually carry the casino with you, and it can be literally in the palm of your hands.
Not only that, online casinos are not limited to any operating hours. You can virtually play any game all you want, and at any time that you want. Feeling like pulling some online slots on a late-night chill? You can do that in an online casino. On a lunch break, and looking to kill some time? Simply open your smartphone app and you can play a game of two of whatever you fancy.
Access Thousands of Online Slots and Casino Games
One thing about online casinos is that they are MASSIVE. In a traditional casino, seeing hundreds of slot machines in operation is already a huge feat. In online casinos, you have tens of thousands of choices across all of the legal sites and apps. A casino's game library is important since this will be one of the limited means an operator makes money. Traditional or land-based casinos have other revenue streams for their establishments such as restaurants or tourist accommodations.
Are slots your thing? You can have online slots with different skins, different amounts of jackpots and different special mechanics added as per the game design. How about a game of online poker? You can play all variants of poker anytime you want, and some online casinos also offer some added-in twists on the mechanics and gameplay.
There are thousands of options in just one site or app alone. Multiply that by a thousandfold (or ten thousand), and that is how many options for games you have, and you can access all of that straight from your device.
One of the common concerns gamblers is their privacy, what with the stigma still surrounding problem gamblers and also the idea of their security (especially where there is a huge amount of money involved). Other the other hand, simply don't want anyone bothering them - people bothering them with annoying small talk, or strangers who sometimes get strangely too close or too friendly for whatever reason.
In an online casino, no one knows what you are playing, when you are playing, and how much you are winning. Everything is between you and your chosen online platform alone. Not only that, with the use of a VPN, but you can also even mask your IP address and real location so that even the online casino would not know where you really are.
Add to that the use of cryptocurrency to make your deposits, your gambling can be completely untraceable back to you.
Advantages of Land-Based Casinos
Although playing in an online casino brings a lot of convenience and innovation, that is not to say that traditional casinos are becoming a dead industry. In fact, here are some of the top advantages of playing in a physical casino that you ought not to miss out on, too.
Authentic Casino Immersion
You know what they say: nothing beats the real thing. While an online casino can let you virtually play the games you know and love, and can win you some money, too, the "authentic" atmosphere of a casino is sometimes what people love to experience - the noise, the smell of cigarettes from other players, the sound of the dice rolling or the ball landing on the wheel, getting to pull and watch actual slot machines, and getting to play with real cards.
Not only that, playing in a land-based casino often comes with a bottomless supply of your favorite drinks from champagne to beer to whatever you may fancy as a little bonus from the casino. Sometimes, they even have a bar where you can take a break and have a drink. An online casino can give you the playing and the earning experience in an app, but you can only get the "real" casino experience from a land-based establishment.
Escape from Daily Grind
What makes this advantage for land-based casinos is that you can actually "escape" from the stress and pressure of the daily grind of life for several hours or even a day or maybe several days. Although an online casino can also give you a "break", you aren't immersed in it as you would be in a regular casino.
You can also make the visit to the casino a part of a vacation to a place like Las Vegas, a visit to your hometown, or a simple time off your work routine. This can give you the opportunity to relax, have fun, or maybe even get some good drinks in between games.
A planned casino vacation can also be a good way to refresh your mental state with a break from all the stress and pressure from work or business. Combined perhaps with beaches or anything else, a casino vacation can be your much-needed breather.
Chance to Visit Tourist Spots
Going to a land-based casino can also mean getting to see some famous tourists sports all over the world. You probably already know the flashing lights and the high skyscrapers of Las Vegas, Nevada. Did you know that there are other cities known all over the world for their best casinos?
Macau is often considered a top contender against Vegas when it comes to grand casinos. Often dubbed as the "Monte Carlo of the East," this Chinese city boasts of over 30 casino establishments. Of course, there is Monte Carlo from Monaco, Singapore's Marnia Bay (a growing economic superpower in Asia), London in the United Kingdom, and Sanjose in Costa Rica.
Aside from getting sight of tourist destinations, playing in a land-based casino also helps boost that place's local revenue. It supports their business, supports the giving of jobs to more people, and overall gives benefits to its local economy.
Disadvantages of Online Casinos
Now that you had an overview of the pros of playing in an online casino, what, then, are the cons of playing in one? Here are some of them.
Cyber Crime Risks
Playing in a real and legitimate online casino is generally safe, as they need to be safe in order to continue their operation. However, if you are unlucky enough to register or at least visit a fake online casino, chances are your device and your information may be compromised.
Some cybersecurity threats with getting involved with a fake online casino include theft of your personal information, theft of financial information, and compromisation of your device through malware or worse, ransomware. The most common form of cyber attack customers experience is their credit card information getting compromised. If not addressed right away, these attackers can use your credit card to make unauthorized purchases over the internet. Always check if an online casino that accepts credit cards have the proper security protocols to prevent any hacking attempt from stealing your banking information.
Another common worry about online casinos is that the game is not fair and is rigged in favor of the casino. If the casino is regulated by a respected gambling commission this will not be the case. However, if the casino is unregulated there's always the possibility that it's running a rigged game.
Phishing through spam emails is also a common strategy, especially if you have been lured to "sign up for bonuses," and you were careless enough to provide your email address to an unverified site. If you fall for a phishing attempt, your data and information are most likely already compromised.
Prolong Withdrawal for Fiat Options
This is a common issue with a lot of online casinos: withdrawal takes a long time and it has a set of confusing processes. Don't get it wrong - they do pay you for whatever winnings you accumulated, but some online casinos just have to make it hard for you to get your money.
Some do it by limiting the withdrawal for only specific days of the week and having a really long processing time (from seven business days to up to 30 business days for some). Some have a minimum withdrawal requirement that is surprisingly high in value (some have a minimum of $1,000 or even more). Others, meanwhile, make it hard by charging a huge chunk of your winnings with a "processing fee" - a few dollars is okay for some, but fees of around $35 or even more is a ridiculous amount to "process" something.
In case you didn't know yet, online casinos maintain a fair play environment in every online game they do through what is called a random number generator. This is an algorithm to give the game's randomness to its result, in the same way, that legitimate land-based casino games have random results. These results are not based on any pattern or any mathematical operation that can be studied and predicted.
However, some online casinos use a PRNG instead, or a pseudorandom number generator. This algorithm still provides a "random" number but the problem is that it is not really random. In simple terms, PRNG uses mathematics to calculate a string of numbers to be provided. For someone with the right know-how, this factor is exploitable and thus can give a fair advantage to some people.
Disadvantages of Land-Based Casinos
Here are some of the disadvantages of playing in a land-based casino.
Say you felt like paying some slots while you are on your time off. If you want to do it in a land-based casino, you would either have to drive a good distance or take public transport to the casino - both of which are an undeniable inconvenience that makes a visit to a land-based casino not worth it, if your only intention is to pull some slots or throw in some cash on a roulette table.
Some people live more than a 3-hour drive from their nearest casino - very inconvenient if you don't want to gamble very much money!
When you visit a land-based casino, you are only limited to whatever games they have to offer. It's not only about the number of games per se - with limited units and limited seats that they can accommodate in a game. You may sometimes have to wait your turn for someone to stand (which can take hours, especially if they are a high roller) before you can get a chance to play.
The games are also a lot slower in traditional casinos vs online casinos. You have to wait for dealers to physically deal cards or spin a roulette wheel rather than have it happen instantly. You also have to wait as dealers change shifts - taking more time away from your game.
Dealing with Crowds
Not everyone can deal with crowds. In peak season, casinos tend to be jam-packed that you can sometimes literally exchange drops of sweat with a stranger as you go past by them - something that's not very polite to do. With so many patrons, some may not even have the chance to play games anymore, as there are too many people waiting in line to either sit in front of a machine or have a spot on the table.
As time changes, so do the way people gamble. Online casinos are undeniably the future of gambling, but in the battle of online casinos vs traditional casinos, there is still room for both to thrive..
This article was published on February 8, 2022, and last updated on October 25, 2022.