Offline Vs Online Casinos – What’s The Difference?
Written by: BrianL
Published: 11 January 2020
Visiting Las Vegas and immersing yourself in all that it has to offer has been a dream of yours for a very long time. Besides going through all the administrative tasks and booking your air tickets and hotel accommodation, you did some in-depth research on the casinos that you plan to visit and the machines you look forward to playing. The images of all the hypnotising sights and sounds of Sin City are running excitably through your head, and you can’t wait for the moment to board your flight and commence with your adventure.
As much as this sounds exciting and entails a great deal of forethought, the truth is that you can indulge in the same type of entertainment from the comfort of your very own armchair in Canada. Ever since 1994 and the advent of the online casino industry, the growth of home gambling has been astonishing. By 2018, the online gambling market reached a staggering value of US$56 billion and is seen by many as the logical next step in the evolution of the casino industry in general.
So, what are the differences and similarities between these two halves of the gambling industry, and how do you know which one is best for you? Here’s our take on the two scenarios.
Land-based casinos in Canada
Ever since Casino di Venezia in Venice fist opened its doors back in 1638 as an intermezzo hotspot for the theatre building in which it was located, gambling as a form of pursuit took off like wildfire across Europe and the new world. As its popularity grew, the casino craze shifted from a pastime of devout thespians to a side-line of the European upper classes, leading to the establishment of such legendary palaces of fortune as the world-renowned Casino de Monte Carlo.
Today, Las Vegas best encapsulates the thrill and excitement of all that a brick-and-mortar casino has to offer. A simple walk down the Strip will leave you spellbound for hours on end with things to see and do. The casinos themselves teem with people, and it sometimes might be a mission to find an available machine. For an agoraphobe, all of this might be a bit too much, but if you find the buzz of the crowds drawing, then you are at the right place.
Furthermore, due to stringent smoking regulations, most casinos are divided into smoking and non-smoking sections, albeit the smoking areas tend to be somewhat smaller and are often notoriously hotboxed with tobacco fumes. Likewise, the other common division is between the slot machines which take up the forefront and surrounding areas of a casino floor and the tables, which are often clustered at the centre.
Almost all older, cash slot machines have been steadily phased out, and you will need a card with a preloaded amount of money inserted into a machine to activate it. A simple stroll across the casino floor is sure to reveal a machine that catches your eye. However, be warned that the most popular slots are usually taken, and you might have to wait or even give up on that machine, due to the massive queues gathered around these. Once you find your match, all you need to do is sit down, relax and start spinning towards your next winning.
Some slot games tend to be quite captivating and subdued lighting in a casino might lead you to lose track of time, so always check your watch, especially if you have any other obligations on the day. Another issue is the need to go to a toilet or get some refreshments. Although basic staples such as sweets and cooldrinks are often found on the floor, more comprehensive meals are usually located in food courts or restaurants. As a result, going to the closet or to get food will require you to leave your spot, which subsequently might lead to you losing your place at your favourite machine.
Also, be on the lookout for peripheral costs such as the parking fees that you might have to pay if you came with your vehicle. Additionally, petrol costs associated with the journey to and from the casino need to be accounted for. Gambling your net worth away in a single day might leave you with an empty pocket for other associated expenses.
Online casinos in Canada
It was Antigua and Barbuda that took the first bold step back in 1994 by passing the Free Trade and Processing Act, which allowed licenses to be granted to organisations applying to open online casinos. Soon after this, Microgaming developed their first fully functional and secured gambling software, a pioneering position that they have maintained to this day. The online gambling industry got some much-needed regulation when the Kahnawake Gaming Commission started regulating all the online gaming activities in 1996.
Looking at the option of gambling from home, the first concern that many would raise is that of missing out on the real casino atmosphere. And, rightfully so it will be just you versus the machine, although the question begs are you in a casino because of the crowds or are you lured there by the promise of big wins.
For one when you use an online casino in Canada, there is a noticeable saving on the time and money of getting to and from the casino. You might need to hire a cab or drive to your local gambling haven, and trips to more plush casino destinations like Las Vegas could set you back a few hundred dollars. Instead of investing all that money in travel and accommodation, you can now direct it towards your favourite online casino game.
For those that despise the solitude of online gambling and prefer the thrill of a live casino, there’s the live dealer option via a video stream. Here, live table games are available around the clock with friendly dealers affording you that real casino experience. And, although you might not see your competitors face to face, you can spar with them directly from the comfort of your home.
Additionally, when it comes to online casinos, you can shelve some of the personal etiquette away. Eating, drinking and smoking are at your discretion wherever and whenever you want. Also, you won’t need to wait in a queue to sit behind your favourite slot machine due to its popularity and stepping away from your machine for any reason won’t carry the risk of losing your place to someone else.
Playing from home is also not playing in isolation. Just like land-based casinos, online casinos have support staff structures that can be accessed immediately, whether this is via live chat, telephone or email. There is also the benefit of having to withdraw or handle real cash at any time since all the transactions are online and done electronically via bank cards or e-wallets.
It’s hard to say which gambling option is better than the other. They both have their pros and cons and, for the most part, a true gambling enthusiast would have tried their luck at the very best online casinos in Canada just as they would have at land-based casinos. For us, a visit to a brick-and-mortar casino is great fun and something that ought to be reserved for special occasions, like visiting a casino restaurant and spending time with the family. In contrast, online casino gambling from home is more accessible and can be practised more frequently, especially on those bad hair days when you wish that your bed was already made. Above all, pick your preferred option and break a leg!