Guide To Online vs. Offline Gambling

Nothing quite beats the thrill of visiting a bricks n’ mortar casino or sportsbook: mingling with other gamblers, placing bets with a human croupier or operator, and collecting a bundle of banknotes in winnings.

But land-based casinos and gambling outfits often have limited games and stingier promotions than an online site. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of land-based gambling versus its online counterpart.

Availability and Legality

It’s important to realise that online gambling isn’t totally legal in some countries. In some it’s outright banned, in others it’s perfectly legal, while in many it sits in a weird ‘grey area’ (neither legal nor prohibited).

Even in countries where land-based casinos are banned, players can still log on to the internet and enjoy roulette, slots and blackjack. That’s where online gaming has a massive advantage over its land-based cousin. Indeed, if you live in a huge country where driving to casino is out of the question, online casinos can prove a good alternative.

If you’re unsure about gambling on the web, check the ‘Restricted Countries’ list on an online casino you want to sign up to. You’ll usually find a list of nationalities that will be prohibited from opening accounts.

Range Of Games And Bets

Even the biggest Las Vegas casinos usually spread roulette, blackjack, and slots, and sometimes Keno, sportsbetting poker.

But land-based casinos are restricted by physical floorspace. They simply don’t have the room to offer a variety of games on the same level as an online casino. That’s why you’ll find 4-5x the number of games online as you will in a substantial offline casino.

Want to play classic 3-reel slots, branded bonus games, or massive progressive jackpots? You’ll find a good range at most online casinos. Want to enjoy European or American roulette, or try a unique version like Key Bet Roulette? Online is the place for you.

And if you are after small-stakes betting, you’ll find them online. A typical online roulette game (and you can pick from American, European, and French, all in one online site) will often have bets starting at just 25c. Now compare that to the 50c/$1 bets you will find in land-based games.

Many land-based casinos have electronic gaming terminals which feature roulette games similar to those you’ll find online. These tend to have lower minimum bets (there’s no need to hire a croupier) so are good to hunt out.

Promotions and Bonuses

Every casino has some kind of ‘comp’ system where players can get rewards the more they play. In a land-based casino it usually involves some kind of player card which gets scanned and points redeemed.

But if you only visit the casino once a month you’ll struggle to claim any sort of bonus cash. Online, there are more generous schemes. All you need to do is play eligible games and amass enough player points. With a few long sessions you’ll be able to work through a bonus in no time.

Most online casinos also offer welcome bonuses that reward new players with ‘matched’ money. All you need to do is make a first deposit. You can also claim free slots spins, a bonus you’ll struggle to find offline.

Jackpots, Jackpots, Jackpots

Progressives are special slots and games that have pooled jackpots made up of portions of each bet. Jackpots can be restricted to a single casino or linked across multiple casinos, but the idea is the same: trigger a special bonus round and a life-changing sum can be yours.

Tales of multi-million dollar slots progressives are well-known in the US. With Sin City getting millions of visitors each year, progressive jackpots can be enormous. But arguably, online casinos get more regular jackpots, and there is a bigger range too.

Progressive jackpots are offered by most slots manufacturers, but it’s also possible to find jackpots in roulette, blackjack, and even video poker.

Gamble On The Go, Anytime

The revolution in mobile gaming means you can play slots and roulette, or bet on sports, anywhere. Even a basic smartphone can handle video slots and animated roulette games as long as you have a good internet connection.

Lower Overheads Means Bigger Returns

While many land-based casinos have their own online casinos, often the online client will have better games and payouts. But it’s not just the range of games that is better online; the RTPs can be better too.

RTPs (Return to Player percentages) are the rates of return to players for each game. They are average and long-term figures, and are theoretical based on millions of games. But because of the way land-based and online games differ, the RTPs can vary hugely. A land-based slot may have an RTP of 86% but can rise to 93% for the same version online.

By law, land-based slots have to have a minimum RTP (it varies depending on the country) but with lower overheads, online slots are much more generous. Online casinos may also be taxed differently to offline casinos which can alter the returns of games.