When you start comparing online casinos and land based casinos you find that many things are the same or similar.
You gamble using both and can find the same popular games like blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, video poker, and slot machines in each.
But you’ll also find many differences between the two.
In this post I list 13 ways online casinos are better than land based casinos. Whenever a list like this is developed it’s often not all inclusive, meaning that your list might include other differences, and not everyone will feel like each item is better.
You might enjoy interacting with other players in a land based casino and all of the sounds you hear playing live. But others enjoy playing in the peace and quiet of their home.
Whether or not you feel the same way I do about everything on the list isn’t important. But if you’re looking for reasons online casinos are better than live casinos this gives you a good start.
1 – No Travel
The best reason online casinos are better than land based casinos is you don’t need to travel to play.
The world is filled with land based casinos but many people still have to drive over an hour or get on a plane if they want to play. Even if the closest casino is only a few miles from where you live you still need to get ready and travel to it.
In addition to the hassle of getting ready and travelling, there’s a cost involved in both time and money.
Your time should be worth something, even if the time you invest is set aside for entertainment purposes. The hour or more you spend getting ready and traveling could be spent playing your favorite casino games.
And if you have to get on a plane it adds more time and hassle. It used to be fairly easy to fly, but now they treat everyone like a criminal, and heaven forbid if you’re a high roller and travel with a bunch of cash.
If the airport security finds out you’re carrying thousands of dollars in cash it can lead to all sorts of uncomfortable and downright rude treatment. If you’re a high roller you should consider wiring your money to the casino or carrying a tax return showing you’re a gambler as an excuse for why you’re carrying so much cash.
When you travel by car or plane it also costs money. Keeping up a car and the fuel used to get to the casino is a hard cost, and flying is expensive.
And when you fly to a casino you have to have somewhere to stay, so this is an extra expense.
It’s simply cheaper and easier to log on to your favorite online casino or mobile device and start playing.
2 – Bonuses
If you’ve spent any time at all looking at online casinos you’re aware of some of the bonus offers available.
Almost every online casino offers a sign up bonus of some sort to try to get you to play their games. Most of them are a percentage of your deposit, but a few offer a small amount totally free to sign up.
It’s not uncommon to get a 100% match on your deposit up to $200 or $300 or more.
I’ve seen bonuses of $10,000 and more available a few times at online casinos.
You don’t see these kinds of offers at land based casinos.
Like many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is and bonuses come with a few strings attached.
The number one rule when discussing online casino bonuses is that you need to read all of the terms and conditions for ever one before you make a deposit. I know that most of the terms and conditions are boring and written in legal jargon format, but you have to read them.
Most online casino bonuses have something called play through requirements. A play through requirement is an amount of money you must wager before you can request a cash out.
These requirements are tied to your deposit and bonus amount and are a multiple of one or both of them. Common play through requirements are 20 times, 25 times, 30 times, 35 times, and 40 times, but these aren’t the only ones you’ll see.
Some of them require a play through of a multiple of just the bonus or just your deposit, but many require a multiple of both the deposit and bonus combined.
Here’s an example:
You sign up and make a deposit of $300 at an online casino that has a 100% match up to $500 and a 30 times, often written as 30X, play through on both the deposit and bonus.
This means you start with $600, consisting of your $300 and the $300 bonus.
Before you can request a payout you need to place bets totaling at least $18,000. You get this number by multiplying the $600 time 30.
You can place these bets in any amount, but the total must equal $18,000 before cashing out.
You can place:
- 18,000 $1 bets
- 9,000 $2 bets
- 3,600 $5 bets
- 1,800 $10 bets
- 900 $20 bets
- 360 $50 bets
- 180 $100 bets
Or you can place a combination of different sized wagers that add up to $18,000 or more.
The next thing you need to be aware of when it comes to online casino bonuses is that they often come with restrictions to which games you can play. You can learn about these restrictions when you read the terms and conditions.
Common restrictions include only being able to play slot machines and keno, or only counting a percentage of your play on certain games.
Here’s an example:
If the bonus used in the first example had the following restrictions:
- Slots and keno play count 100% toward the play through requirements.
- Blackjack and video poker counts 10% toward the requirements.
- All other games count 25% toward the requirements.
This means that is you play slots or keno you need to wager $18,000. But if you play blackjack or video poker you have to wager $180,000, and if you play any other game you have to bet a total of $72,000.
Some bonuses won’t let you play blackjack or video poker at all.
This is why you need to understand all of the terms before you make a deposit. If you’re a slot machine player you shouldn’t have trouble finding a bonus, but if you play other games it can be challenging to find one that can be cleared.
Another trick that online casinos use is that some of the bonuses can be cashed out once you clear them but others are deducted from your balance before you cash out. These are called sticky bonuses, and they’re designed only for play.
If the $300 bonus in the examples was a sticky or non-cashable bonus, when you get ready to cash out the casino deducts $300 from your account before processing the payment.
Even with all of the strings attached, an online casino bonus is a great way to increase your bankroll. This lets you play longer and have extra money if you want to try new games.
3 – More Variety
Online casinos offer more variety in many ways than land based casinos.
The first way they offer more variety is you can access thousands of casinos from your computer. No place on earth with land based casinos has anywhere close to this number in one place.
Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world, only has somewhere around 100 casinos and that number includes some small gambling dens that many wouldn’t really count as casinos.
The next way that online casinos offer more variety than most land based casinos is in the games. Many online casinos have hundreds of different slot machine games, dozens of different video poker variations, two different types of roulette, multiple blackjack rules variations, and dozens of other table games.
While land based casinos often have hundreds of slot machines, many of them are the same. Your video poker options are even smaller and good luck finding more than one or two different blackjack games.
This may not be a big deal to you if you only play one game, like baccarat or craps. The baccarat and craps game is basically the same whether you play online or in a land based casino. But most gamblers enjoy a variety of games and the online casinos simply offer more.
4 – No Smoke
More and more land based casinos are restricting smoking, with some completely outlawing it and others setting up designated areas for smokers. But many casinos still allow smoking, which is irritating to many non-smokers.
When you play at an online casino you have the option of smoking or not. And it doesn’t matter which is your preference. You don’t have to worry about second hand smoke from others, and you don’t have to worry about being told if and where you can smoke.
5 – No Noise
Land based casinos are filled with the noises of people talking, slot machine reels spinning, excitement from the craps pit, and coins dropping into hoppers. Of course most slot machines don’t use real coins now, but many of them still make the sounds of coins dropping when you win.
Some people enjoy these sounds, but many enjoy a quieter atmosphere.
Most online casino games have game sounds so you can listen if you want, but you can either turn the sounds off in the game or turn the sound off on your computer.
6 – Faster Game Play
One way that online casinos dominate land based casinos is in the speed of play.
Slot machines and video poker games can be played at about the same speeds in both types of casinos, but almost every other game in the casino can be played much faster online.
Here are some rough estimates of hands or actions per hour compared between live play and online play.
Of course you don’t have to play faster online, but you have the option. Plus if you want to play slow you don’t have anyone trying to pressure you to play faster.
This is the opposite of faster game play, but the ability to play as slow as you want has benefits also. Casino games are designed with a house edge so the faster you play the quicker the casino takes your money.
If you can enjoy the games the same while playing slower it means you can play longer on the same bankroll online.
7 – Better Payback Percentages and Lower House Edge
Each casino game, based on the rules, has a set payback percentage and / or house edge. Some of these percentages vary based on the strategy you use, like when you play blackjack, but the mathematical way the rules and games are designed lock in a certain amount of profit for the casino.
Video poker is a good example. The payback percentage and house edge is based on the pay table the machine offers and your ability to play the game using a good strategy.
The best paying table for Jacks or Better that you can find pays 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush. These machines are called 9 / 6 Jacks or Better machines.
Many land based casinos offer 9 / 6 machines, but often only a few and they’re usually occupied by other players. But most online casinos offer the 9 / 6 Jacks or Better game and you don’ need to wait for a seat.
Blackjack games have a house edge ranging from around a half percent to over 2%. The edge is based on the rules and how you play. You can find games with goo rules in many land based casinos, but online casinos often have multiple games with different rules so you can quickly find the one offering the lowest house edge.
Roulette is available with European and American wheels at almost every online casino, but many land based ones only offer American wheels. And if they do offer a European wheel in a land based casino the minimum bet is usually higher. The American wheel has a house edge of 5.26% and the European wheel only has a house edge of 2.7%.
Slot machines have a payback percentage ranging from 98% all the way down to 85% or less. It’s difficult to find the payback percentage for land based machines, but many online slot machines have published payback percentages available.
If you’re able to find and play slot machines that offer higher payback percentages you can play longer and have a better chance to win every time you play.
Another great thing about playing at an online casino is they offer lower minimum bets than most land based casinos. You can bet as low as $1 on most table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps, and as low as a penny or nickel on most machines.
Land based casinos usually have minimum bets of $5 or more on their table games, and many games with good rules have higher minimums.
Finding a video poker game in a land based casino offering bets as low as 5 cents per hand is rare, so you end up betting at least $1.25 per hand instead of 25 cents per hand online
8 – No Rude Dealers
Have you ever played in a land based casino and had to put up with a rude or incompetent dealer?
I think most people who play live casino table games have had this experience.
When you play online you don’t have to worry about putting up with a dealer you don’t lie. The software that runs the casino games takes care of everything so you never see a dealer.
The only exception is some online casinos offer live dealer games. But you don’t have to play these games. You can play the regular games dealt by the computer and avoid all human interaction.
9 – Play on the Go
Most online casinos have mobile gaming options in addition to the games available on your computer.
This means you can use your smart phone or other mobile device to play your favorite games. You can play popular games like blackjack and slot machines without being stuck at your computer.
This means you can move around the house while playing, enjoy your games while riding the bus or waiting for an appointment, or anywhere else you have your phone or tablet.
10 – Less Chance of Getting Robbed
Thieves know that people travelling to the casino often have cash. They also often spend time in the casino watching for big winners who might be leaving with a chunk of cash.
Most land based casinos are fairly secure, but when you go to the parking lot or leave the casino property you can be a target.
Of course you can get robbed in your house or apartment also, but the odds are smaller than when you travel. In addition, the money you gamble with at the online casino is in an account and if you win you can have it transferred to a bank account.
This reduces the amount of cash you have on hand so it reduces your risk of being robbed.
11 – Always an Open Seat
When you walk into a land based casino to play your favorite table game, poker, or slots you often have to wait for a seat to open up.
But when you play online you never have to wait. You simply pick the game you want to play and start playing.
Online casino software programs are designed to handle thousands and thousands of players at the same time. Even if 1,000 people want to play blackjack at the same time you can still start playing right away.
When you’re looking for a certain pay table when you play video poker in a land based casino the game is often being used if you’re lucky enough to find it. This problem is solved online.
12 – Play in Your Underwear
If you’ve travelled to the market or convenience store recently you’ve probably started seeing people wandering around in the pajamas. I don’t know why, but this just seems wrong to me.
But if you play at an online casino you can wear whatever you want. If you want to play in your underwear no one’s stopping you. You can even play in the nude if that kind of thing turns you on.
This is just one of the many freedoms and choices that playing casino games online offers.
13 – The Refrigerator is in the Next Room
Most land based casinos have places to eat, with many housing nice buffet options and high end dining.
But if you play online you can simply head over to your kitchen and grab a bite to eat and the food is already paid for and you only need a minute or two away from your game to grab something.
Not everything about an online casino is better than playing in a land based one. But as you can see from this list, online casinos offer many advantages that you can’t find when playing live.
This is especially good for those of us who aren’t really people persons. You don’t have to travel or worry about being bothered by others.
Online casinos also offer many financial advantages over playing in a land based casino. You save money on travel and food, can find games offering a lower house edge or higher payback percentage, and you can find bonuses that make your bankroll last longer.