These days, gambling has never been more accessible. The internet has allowed people to hit up slot machines, blackjack tables, or even games of poker like never before and the industry continues to expand.
Despite the proliferation of gambling opportunities today, many people still dismiss online casinos as being untrustworthy or somehow suspect. Some gamblers have a hard time believing that virtual gambling venues aren’t rigged and, therefore, they completely avoid them.
This is a great shame because thanks to robust licensing arrangements, gambling online is incredibly safe these days. However, suspicion gets in the way of these players signing up and enjoying the varied action at internet casinos.
In this article, we’ll be shining a light onto online casinos for those that might have previously overlooked them. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll discover that there really is nothing to be afraid of and that gambling online can present many more diverse opportunities for a punt too. Let’s begin.
Online Casinos vs Land-Based Casinos: The Similarities
The first important similarity to be aware of is that most online casinos these days are fully-licensed. Just like their real-world counterparts, the operators of such services must prove to third-party, often-government-affiliated services like the UK Gambling Commission that they offer fair games.
As part of licensing arrangements at online casinos, operators must use audited games, show that they have enough reverse funds to pay out any winnings, and observe whatever dispute resolution system the licensing body demands.
All this means is that licensed online casinos are just as fair as real-world ones. Random number generators are frequently audited and casinos not following rules are sanctioned financially or with the termination of their license. Players also enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that a third-party will come and fight their corner should a dispute actually arise.
If you think about it logically, it makes no good sense for an online casino to dupe players. The casino business model is nothing new and it’s consistently profitable. However, for the profits to keep rolling in, casinos need player trust. One headline about the foul play can completely destroy this trust and the profitability of the iGaming venue.
The second major similarity between online casinos and real-world ones is the games themselves. Online casinos might have prompted a dramatic expansion and evolution of the gambling industry but they didn’t reinvent the wheel.
For the most part, the games you’ll find at an online casino will be almost exactly the same as those you’ve played in brick-and-mortar casinos. You’ll find digital versions of blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, and slot machines.
In fact, online casinos often group other gambling products not usually found and real-world casinos with their more traditional casino products. It’s not at all uncommon to see the largest casinos offering bingo, scratch cards, and sports betting.
Since digital games don’t require real equipment, they don’t take up space in the physical world. This gives the online casino the opportunity to offer many more games and versions of games than is possible at brick-and-mortar casinos. As proof, sign onto PokerStars and look at how many games of the obscure form of poker called razz are being offered. Now, try to find that many live razz games anywhere on planet earth (clue: you won’t!) The same is often true with blackjack, baccarat, and other games too.
It would be unfair to say that real-world casinos don’t offer bonuses at all. However, they’re often much smaller, take different forms, and serve different purposes to the bonuses you’ll find online.
Real-world casino bonuses are used more as a hospitality touch – a kind of way to make players feel comfortable and welcome them on their first visit to a new casino. Those players becoming a member at the casino might receive a £5 chip that can only be used on casino games. The casino won’t exchange it for cash but they will allow you to cash any winnings you receive from bets made with that £5.
Online, welcome bonuses are all about marketing. This is because the online industry is much more competitive that the real-world gambling industry. Every online casino must convince new players to sign up with them over a choice of hundreds, if not thousands, of available iGaming venues. Even in Las Vegas, the spiritual home of gambling, there are only around 100 casinos. The number in most cities is much smaller than that too.
When competing against potentially hundreds of rival companies, online casinos must get creative to stand out. One of the main ways they try to do this is with the use of casino bonuses. New members are encouraged to deposit with attractive welcome bonuses and reload bonuses to tease existing players into topping up their accounts again.
Online casinos offer much better bonuses and there are tons of specialized sites that can help you in finding the best bonuses available. Flashcasino is one of the most trustworthy sites of this nature. There, you’ll find loads of great promotions from safe, secure, and reliable casinos. The site’s staff actually tests all the bonuses they recommend too!
With real-world gambling, the player goes to the casino. With online gambling, the casino comes to the player. Well, more accurately, the casino comes to a device in the player’s possession. This might be their computer or their smartphone. Either way, it’s a lot more convenient to load up a website than it is to attend a real-world casino.
This accessibility means that players do not need to plan their trips to the casino anywhere near as rigorously as they do in the real world. If they fancy a few hands of blackjack waiting for the kettle to boil, so be it. They can whip their phone out, load up a table, and be playing within a minute of having the idea.
Return to Player Ratings
Another point about online casinos versus their real-world equivalents is that virtual casinos often provide games with much higher return-to-player ratings. This is again related to the much stiffer competition online.
In the real world, if you want to play casino slots, there are probably less than five casinos within reasonable traveling distance from you. If you’re serious about playing, you’re going to go to one of them no matter the payout percentages.
Online, if a casino offered significantly lower RTP ratings on their games, it would quickly lose custom. Players would simply migrate to where the action was more lucrative – and who could blame them!
Another reason behind the lower house edges at online casinos relates to the cost of running a casino. The real-world casino has all kinds of expenses that are either significantly reduced for online operators or just aren’t relevant to them at all. To name a few examples, the online casino will pay less on staff and premises. This allows them to pass savings on to their members and the competitive nature of the industry encourages them to do some.
A real-world slot machine will likely have a return-to-player rating of around 85 to 95%. Online, you’ll find the average machine is about 94 to 97%. There are even virtual slots with massive 99% RTP ratings!
Which is Better, Online, or Real-World?
As you can see, the basic premise of online and real-world casinos is pretty similar. They both offer real-money games of chance and enjoy regulatory oversight to keep things fair. However, there are also considerable differences between the two. These mean that some players might prefer one to the other. In favor of the real-world casino, there is the social aspect and the luxury of the premises themselves. Online, players enjoy better bonuses and more competitive odds.
Truth be told, you really don’t need to decide which is better since the advantages of either lend themselves to different situations. For example, if you arrive home from work late and fancy a few hands of blackjack before bed, an online casino is going to be far more convenient. However, try telling your significant other that your weekly date night is being held at a virtual casino. It really is all personal preference and your choice will depend on other factors. Having more choice is rarely a bad thing either!