Land Based vs Online Casinos - Pros and Cons
Where’s better to put down your chips? At a real-life casino - perhaps a trip to Vegas, taking in the best casino floors in the world, staying in the uber-luxury suites of the Cosmo or Wynn, attending feast-for-the-eyes shows and then a literal feast at a 5-star restaurant after - and maybe a club night? Or having a round or two of casino play on your phone while you’re waiting for the heater repairman to show up?
Each of these types of casino - land-based and online have their own pros and cons. Both are real, in that they both offer the same types of games, odds, and chances of winning real money - however they’re vastly different in the type of experience you’ll have play-wise.
Let’s take a look at how these two types of casinos stack up against each other.
Land based casinos
It’s a social occasion
Visiting land-based casinos is by far the most fun when you’re going there for an outing with your friends, partner, or family. It can be a real social experience - even if plenty of people do go there to play alone.
If you’re hitting up the casino solo, then it’s also a great place to meet other solo players. Look for an interesting or friendly face at a table and get in on the action. You might even make a friend - if just for the evening.
Stimulates all the senses
When you step inside a casino it’s a bit like entering a fairground or a kids’ arcade - but for adults. You’ll be surrounded by lights, noises, a collection of games, people, bars, and more. Casinos are designed to be like playgrounds without the hassle of children.
For parents it’s a great escape - leave the kids with their grandparents or a sitter for a night out and have some fun in an adult environment. Casinos are some of the only late-night adult-only entertainment that doesn’t necessarily have to involve alcohol.
Other entertainment on site
Housed in the same premises, you’ll often spot nightclubs, live music venues, three to five-star dining, spas, and theatre shows. For people who want to dabble a little in gambling but would prefer a full experience - land-based casinos can provide a huge range of entertainment.
This makes them a fun place for a night out (or weekend away) because when you’re bored of playing the games you can go hit the dancefloor, see what show is on, or enjoy an amazing sushi platter instead. Plenty of people skip the casino and just go straight to the club - like Omnia - instead!
Like commuting to work, you need to commute to the casino, too. You have to leave your house, get in your car (or some other transport if you are drinking), and actually physically be present to play at a land-based casino. When it’s all over you have to get yourself back home too.
While this is fun for a week or weekend in Vegas, it’s time-consuming if you just want to gamble for half an hour or a couple of hours in the afternoon. And if you don’t have a casino located near your home? It’s simply not possible without an expensive trip.
You have to get dressed up
Land-based casinos implement a dress code. Now while some people love getting dressed up or do it on the daily anyway, for other people, you might love living in your ‘home clothes’ and flip flops. If you like to be uber-comfy while gambling, then heading to the casino isn’t the best idea.
Plus, if you aren’t dressed according to standards, then you aren’t going to be let in. This is especially disappointing if you are on a night out and you’re the only one in a group who doesn’t meet the code.
It may be a disappointment
While some casinos are gorgeous, glitzy, and glam, others are drab, boring, small, and straight out of the 1970s, with only a handful of people, lousy (ancient) slots, and only a few tables open. This is especially true if you are traveling to places not known for their casinos, such as Southeast Asia or Spain.
For every MGM casino, there are 20 other sad casinos languishing in other parts of the world. While you might luck out and find a casino so kitschy that it’s almost cool, chances are that it’ll be disappointing enough that an hour’s play will have you out the door.
You can play from anywhere
Online casinos are great because you can play from anywhere you like - they’re available on your phone as well as your desktop computer. That means you don’t have to leave the couch. You can play in the toilet at a boring family occasion. You can do it on your long commute.
You literally have the opportunity to pick up your phone and have a gamble at any time you like. While we don’t recommend trying your luck at work, it’s great for those in-between times when you’re feeling like a punt.
Plus, bonus points - you don’t have to get dressed. No pants necessary - if you’re not on the bus or out and about that is!
You can easily casino-hop
Online casinos give you the ability to casino hop like you’re in Macau but with considerably less walking. If you get sick of the style or games at one casino, you can just browse on over to a different one.
This gives fickle players a lot of satisfaction. This can be whether you don’t like the graphics over at one online casino’s slots room, or whether the tables that you are playing poker at via the casino have players that are too hard to beat. Simply click on over elsewhere.
You can stop and do something else
Because you’re playing on your device, you can easily put it down and go do the laundry, head to the bar, make some dinner, watch a movie, whatever you please.
The time that you need to spend at the casino is minimal - or if you want to spend a lot of time playing the games, you can break it up over your day. It’s still possible to have a full work of day, do the household chores, and put in hours at the casino, all without breaking a sweat.
You don’t have to be social
Let’s face it - even if you go to a land-based casino solo, you’ll still have to interact with people, from the bouncer, to the cashier, the croupier, and other punters. We don’t always feel like being social and this is especially the case with gaming. It’s a nice activity to do by yourself to relax without having to be around people - kind of like some good Netflix watching but with more of a thrill.
If you’re feeling like a homebody, or just not in the mood to have a conversation, then online gambling is your best bet. No having to have a conversation with anyone - simply switch your phone to do not disturb mode and away you go.
Much better deals
Online casinos give you some pretty crazy deals. While land-based VIP clubs give you bonuses like free drinks, % off food at the restaurant, and sometimes giveaways or raffles, they all require you to be onsite, and the majority of them don’t involve free money.
At the online casinos, you can find plenty of free money type offers. A popular offer is no deposit deals, where you don’t have to put down any money to play - a good way to start our and try a casino without having to invest anything upfront. Other offers include free spins on various slots, or dollar match bonuses. These are generally given to new players only, although VIP clubs at online casinos also give you some good rewards, too.
It’s not immersive
No, playing on your phone or laptop isn’t the same as going somewhere and being immersed in the experience. The closest thing you’ll find is games like Social Club VR (apparently dead now), which allow you to play with a VR headset - and these aren’t for real money.
This means you don’t get to take in that fairground experience that we were talking about before. It’s more like playing other video games on your phone or computer - which can be just as immersive in another way...
Identity verification may take a little while the first time around
Unlike flashing your ID on your way into the casino, the online bouncer may take a little more time to verify your identity the first time that you play at a casino. You’ll need to go through the process of confirming your identity by submitting your ID usually, plus often secondary forms of identification.
After this though, all you’ll need is your login details and you’ll be good to go. Just don’t forget to enable 2FA to keep your account locked down and secure.
Your friends aren’t there
Sure, you can play with your friends online, or even while they’re next to you on the couch, but it’s not quite the same as looking across the table at the while you’re playing poker. If you’re looking for truly social play then online gambling can be fun - if you play the right games at the right casinos, but usually it’s a fairly solo affair. However if you want some social action, you can always throw a poker night at home and invite your best buds around!
So, which is better?
Which is better is like comparing apples to oranges. Land-based casino play is great for the whole experience, especially for social occasions. They’re perfect for when you want an entertaining night, day, weekend, or week out with your friends, or even to meet some new people and have a grand old time doing it - provided there is a cool casino for you to access of course. However, online casinos are perfect for if you just feel like a gamble without having to go through the whole casino rigmarole. This means either casual play, when you don’t feel like going there, or when you’re not in the mood to hang out with other people. The bonuses they give are definitely enticing, too.
If you like gambling and haven’t really explored the online world of casinos properly, then it’s certainly worth visiting a range of casinos to really get a feel for the variety. Chances are that you’ll find something you just love.