Until the fabled “Poker Boom” which began in 2003, gambling real money in an online casino required players to risk much more than their bets. Between the offshore scam sites that siphoned money from player accounts, the threat of identity theft, and big jackpots that were never paid out, the online casinos of old were a crapshoot to say the least.
Thankfully, a new era of statewide legalization and regulation has led to a long lineup of reputable, safe, and secure online gambling destinations. Read on to learn about five reasons why today’s online casinos manage to put their brick and mortar alternatives to shame.
Those massive monuments to luxury that line Las Vegas Boulevard certainly have their charms, don’t get me wrong there. Buffets, swimming pools, shopping malls, and even amusement parks can be found under the same roof in most Sin City casinos.
But when all you want to do is play your favorite game in peace and quiet, nothing beats hitting your favorite online casino from the comfort of home. As long as you have a steady internet connection to power your smart phone, laptop, or desktop computer, you’re never more than a minute away from all the blackjack, craps, roulette, video poker, and slot action you’re looking for.
Even better, online casinos allow you to take your play on the go courtesy of mobile access. That means you can get a few hands in while you’re waiting for your next appointment or sitting on the bus home.
Physical casinos, on the other hand, require players to gas up the car and hit the road – often for several hours of drive time – just to reach the parking area. From there, you’ll need to tip the valet driver, walk through the lobby, and wander around until you find the table or machine you’re looking for.
Add it all up, and gambling in a land-based casino typically splits your time evenly between playing and non-playing hours.
Conversely, it only takes a few seconds to log in and load up a modern online casino. Easily searchable menus guide you directly to the game you’re interested in, and the cards are in the virtual air with just a few mouse clicks or taps of the finger.
For folks who aren’t interested in the frills of a physical facility, online casinos are the most efficient and expeditious way to play.
Speaking of those searchable game menus, online casinos today are home to literally thousands of unique games and variants.
Most online casinos nowadays count hundreds of slot game titles, spanning the spectrum from classic “fruit machine” models to more modern themed video slots. Every major slot designer – including Aristocrat, IGT, Scientific Games, and Konami just to name a few – makes sure to send their latest releases to their client sites like clockwork.
Meanwhile, in a dusty slot parlor in Downtown Las Vegas, players can expect to see the same old slots stocked for years on end without any changes to the inventory. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so why should slot players settle for just a handful of machines when they can find hundreds of new games online?
If you enjoy a basic table game like blackjack, playing in a land-based casino might offer a few minor variations on the theme. You’ll find some single- and double-deck action along with the shoe games, a few side bets like “Lucky Ladies,” and maybe something like Spanish 21 if you’re lucky.
Fire up an online casino blackjack menu, however, and that list grows exponentially to include a wide array of fun and creative variants.
Blackjack Switch lets players swap out a bad card in hopes of drawing a better replacement. Super Fun 21 lives up to its title by allowing players to split up to six times on a single hand, while any 20 total is deemed an automatic winner. And in Double Exposure Blackjack, every player’s dream comes true as the dealer’s first two cards are always dealt face up.
Because these variants aren’t as popular with the general masses, brick and mortar casinos can’t really afford to spread all of them at once. Paying a dealer to stand around and wait for curious onlookers for hours on end isn’t exactly cost effective, which is why most casinos stick to their bread and butter classic variants.
On the other hand, an online casino doesn’t need to pay more when it wants to expand its game selection. The operator simply loads another title into the system and waits for the specialists who enjoy quirky variants to show up.
When you can find 10 different versions of a staple table game like roulette online, why would anyone be content with the single standard version spread by most land-based casinos?
Ever since the 1990s, the Las Vegas landscape has been dominated by two corporate casino rivals – Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International.
Between these two behemoths of the industry, 9 out of every 10 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip are owned and operated by either Caesars or MGM. And just like in any other industry, a lack of competition has led to disastrous consequences for the consumer.
I’m talking about disturbing trends like the dreaded “resort fee,” paid parking replacing free garages, and the inexorable shift from 3 to 2 payouts in blackjack to the inferior 6 to 5 rate. Indeed, aside from the themed décor and signature attractions, actually gambling from one Las Vegas casino to another doesn’t really offer much in the way of diversity.
Monopolistic entities like MGM and Caesars have effectively cornered the market, which leaves rank and file players like yourself at their mercy.
When you take your bankroll online, however, the lack of corporate consolidation can be refreshing to say the least.
Companies like Bovada, BetOnline, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetStars, and Intertops are all owned by separate, independent operators.
And because of that fact, they must compete directly with one another to stand out from the crowd and attract interest from recreational players.
And when the casinos compete, the players win…
In light of the increased competition faced by online casinos, operators know they need a “hook” to bring new players aboard.
In most cases, that hook is presented in the form of freebies a la the “comps” doled out by physical casinos.
You can score a doubled up deposit by entering a bonus code before funding your virtual bankroll. The casino might offer you 100 free spins on its latest slot title, or $20 in “rake back” from its poker room component. And if you happen to go belly up after a few bad beats, today’s online casinos are happy to invite you back with a “no deposit bonus” that brings your account back into the black.
The best online casinos even use a “Rewards Club” system to track your play and award points, which can then be redeemed for cash, free play, and other goodies on the house.
Whereas the big boys like MGM and Caesars are constantly looking to gouge their customers, online casinos know that spending a little extra to gain a loyal player is a sound investment.
As much as I love a nice night out on the town gambling in a packed casino, the scene does present a few problematic elements.
I can’t stand cigarette smoke, for one thing, which effectively turns many areas of your average brick and mortar casino into a “no go zone.” I’m also slightly claustrophobic, so finding myself surrounded by a crowd that goes several dozen deep can be disorienting and distressing.
Speaking of those crowds, who likes to stand around waiting to grab a seat at the table or find an empty machine? I sure don’t, but inevitably, gambling in a traditional casino will involve standing in line and waiting on somebody else to finish their session.
A salty dealer who doesn’t seem to enjoy their job can quickly infect the table with their own poor attitude. Ask one wrong question, or make one mistaken play, and these dealers will flash a sullen smirk that makes your average player feel small.
But when you visit a real money online casino, the crowds, the smoke, the lines, and the dealers all disappear. You can move from game to game in an instant, nobody can tell you that you’re “playing it wrong,” and the only smell will be whatever’s emanating from the kitchen.
Online casinos have been a godsend for players who don’t particularly enjoy all the bells and whistles that define physical gambling halls. They say Las Vegas circa 2021 is akin to an adult version of Disneyland, but as anyone who has visited Sin City or the Magic Kingdom can attest, huge crowds, long lines, and corporate ownership don’t always equate to a great time.
When you’re simply looking to grind out a few hands, spins, or rolls of the dice, without worrying about anything else, joining an online casino is definitely your best bet.
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