Pros & Cons of Gambling Online
There are several different reasons why there are so many online gambling sites to choose from, with the most obvious one being that there are a wide variety of potential customers. It's not known exactly how many people around the world use these sites collectively, but it's guaranteed to be a large number. One of the biggest sites, Bet365, claims to have over 15 million users, and they don't even accept customers from the United States.
So it's safe to assume that online gambling is a very popular activity. This isn't really surprising, as gambling has been popular throughout history. People enjoyed betting and playing gambling games long before the internet existed, it's just that the internet has made it even easier to do so.
There are, however, many people who believe that online gambling should be banned. Some of these people may have questionable motives for believing this (such as the owners of brick and mortar casinos for example), but there are some that have legitimate and well-reasoned concerns about whether it's beneficial.
We are obviously supporters of online gambling. One our biggest motivations for producing and maintaining this website is that we love to gamble. It's a passion of ours. We believe that it can be a very positive experience, and we're grateful for the fact that we can do it over the internet. It's important to be responsible, of course, but we certainly don't feel it's a pastime that should have any kind of social stigma attached to it.
With that being said, we wouldn't encourage anyone to start gambling online if they didn't feel it was right for them. That's not what we're about. What we can do, though, is provide the information needed to make a personal judgement. That's the purpose of this page. We discuss the main pros and cons of online gambling, so that you can make your own mind up about whether or not it's something you want to try.
The Pros of Online Gambling
In our opinion, the following are the biggest advantages of gambling online.
The fact that online gambling is ultimately a form of entertainment is often forgotten. Many people gamble purely for the chance of winning money, which is fine, but for a lot of people it's more about the fun they can have. Gambling can be a lot of fun even when you're losing money. If you're sensible about how much money you risk, then the losses should just be thought of as the price to pay for entertainment. It's not really any different from spending money on any other form of entertainment.
Of course, this point applies to gambling in general rather than just online. It's one that we feel is worth mentioning though, as many of those people who are against online gambling don't seem able to accept the fact that it's not ALL about the money that can be won or lost. It can simply be about having fun.
Using the internet is an incredibly convenient way to indulge in gambling. You don't have to leave the house, and gambling sites never close. You can enjoy your betting and gaming at any time you choose: all from the comfort of your own home. You don't even have to get dressed if you don't want to!
With an online gambling account, you'll never have to worry about not getting to the bookmakers in time to place a wager before a big game. You'll never have to worry about not being able to get any action at the poker table, and you'll never have to worry about not getting a seat at your favorite casino game.
Most gambling sites cater for all budgets. You can typically deposit as little as $10 or as much as several thousand. There's usually a wide range of stakes too. You don't have to spend much money at all if you don't want to, yet high rollers can bet as much money as they like.
This a particularly significant advantage for casino players. The range of stakes you can play for in many land-based casinos is much smaller. This means some players have to play for stakes a little higher than they would like, and some players have to play stakes that are lower than what they would prefer. The same is true for poker players. Very few poker rooms have anything near the same range of stakes as online poker sites do. You certainly won't find the micro-stakes available at live tables, and this is where a lot of poker players like to start out.
There are all kinds of different gambling activities you can enjoy online. Most sites offer several different forms of gambling these days, although there are still some that specialize in just a single form. The following are the most popular types of gambling done online, and they are all widely available.
You simply don't find this same variety offered offline, with the exception of some of the larger Vegas casinos that have poker rooms and sportsbooks as well as their casino tables. Generally speaking, though, you'll need to go to different venues for the different activities. When it comes to daily fantasy sports, please know that these are only available online.
The vast majority of gambling sites give their customers a range of incentives for doing their betting and gambling with them. Pretty much all of them offer new customers welcome bonuses, which are basically extra funds added to your account when you sign up and make your first deposit. Most of them offer additional bonuses and rewards too, usually via some kind of loyalty scheme.
These bonuses and rewards are a huge advantage of gambling online, particularly for those that bet and play regularly. They essentially help your money go that much further, and in some circumstances they can even be the difference between losing money overall and winning.
Always read the terms and conditions before accepting a bonus. They are usually quite fair, especially at reputable sites, but it's still very important to fully understand them.
Your privacy is assured when betting and gaming online. This point will be important to people who prefer to keep their gambling activities to themselves. There are also people who don't particularly enjoy others watching them in the casino, which is obviously something they don't have to worry about when playing online.
Security isn't an issue either. It's not really a major issue offline, but there have been cases of people being robbed of their winnings when leaving the casino or bookmakers. This is not a concern online. Providing you use only reputable and trustworthy sites, your funds (and personal data) are all fully protected.
The Cons of Online Gambling
This is not an error; we're aware that we've already listed convenience and comfort as one of the pros of gambling online. The very same point can also be one of the downsides though, as there's an argument that the internet has made it TOO EASY for people to gamble.
For most people this isn't really an issue, as they are perfectly capable of monitoring and controlling the amount of time and money they spend on their betting and gaming activities. Some people, however, can find themselves getting carried away. Gambling can be addictive, and having round the clock access to gambling sites can make a problem even worse for some people.
Studies have actually shown that the advent of online gambling has NOT led to an increase in addiction (despite what many people say to the contrary), but that doesn't mean it hasn't caused difficulties for some people. It's important to make sure that you aren't one of those people, and that you stay in full control of your gambling.
Gambling is only ever fun when done responsibly. It's important to set yourself limits for how much you are prepared to spend, and you must stick to those limits.
The vast majority of online gambling sites are operated ethically and fairly, by reputable companies. However, as with pretty much any industry, there are some operators who are nothing short of crooks. Thankfully such operators are few and far between; they tend to get discovered very quickly, but they do exist.
This is almost certainly one of the cons that deter people away from the idea of depositing money online for the purposes of gambling. They get worried that they are going to get ripped off, treated unfairly, or simply have their funds stolen. Sadly, there have been cases where this has happened.
There's an easy solution to this potential problem though, and that's just to stick to the trustworthy sites. There are plenty of them, including all the of the sites that we recommend here at GamblingSites.org.
One of the advantages we mentioned earlier was the privacy of online gambling. There's a flipside to this, in that there's also a lack of personal interaction. This may not be important for everyone, but there are certainly a lot of people that enjoy the social aspect of visiting a casino or playing a live game of poker.
It's worth pointing out that gambling online doesn't mean you have to stop going to land-based casinos or poker rooms. You can still enjoy both, as the two experiences both have their own merits.
If and when you're lucky enough (or skilled enough) to win some money online, you won't necessarily be able to cash in your winnings immediately. How long it takes to get your funds will depend on the withdrawal method you use and, to some extent, where you live. For example, it generally takes a little longer for cash outs to be paid if you live in America.
You won't typically have to wait too long though, especially if you're using any of the top sites. They tend to be good at getting your money to you as fast as they can.
The laws relating to gambling online vary around the world. In some regions they are very complicated, which makes it hard to know exactly what's legal and what's not. This puts a lot of people off. Most legislation is targeted at those that operate gambling sites rather than the people who use them, but it can still be a little unsettling when the laws aren't completely clear.
Regulation also varies in different parts of the world, and it's not always as strict as it might be. Again, this can put people off. With that being said, if you stick to the reputable sites as we've already recommended, then this is unlikely to become an issue.
It's a good idea to be aware of the relevant laws that apply where you live, and also any regulation that's in place. All of this information can be found in our section on gambling laws.
Gambling sites don't typically charge any transaction fees when you make deposits, but your bank or credit card might. Although these are generally quite small, they can add up over time when depositing regularly. Some sites do charge for withdrawals too.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we wouldn't encourage anyone to gamble online unless they were sure it was right for them. Gambling of any kind involves risk, and it's no different online. You should only start if you're comfortable with the risk and have the money to spare.
There are also downsides to gambling online that we've outlined in this article, and these shouldn't be ignored. Overall, though, our view is that the pros outweigh the cons by quite some margin. If you like to gamble, or think you would like to try it, then it makes sense to do your betting and gaming online.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: November 2015