This wide wonderful world houses hundreds of beautiful casinos. From the dazzling neon of Vegas and all of the mystery and high rolling excitement housed in those halls to the beautiful neoclassical gaming paradises of French Monaco, no doubt anybody who has ever scratched that gambling itch or seen any blockbusters wants to throw their bet in at one of these monumental repositories of gambling goodness. However, with these pillars of high-rolling gratification at the top, it is undeniable that there are also a lot of naff, gaudy casinos that do little else but swindle holidaymakers or slowly breathe their last as they shuffle along gasping for air under the weight of the magical rise of online gaming. So the question remains, where do I gamble, and why?

For the thrill of the chase

Arguably, you don’t need a physical casino, you don’t need the suits and ties, crisp green mats and click-clack of the ball in the roulette wheel, if what really gives you joy from gaming is the excitement of the gambling, and the excitement of the risk. The age of the internet, of the app, both web and mobile, means that if you want that rush you needn’t leave your house. Hell, you needn’t leave your bed half the time. The beauty of a virtual environment means that the excitement of the RNG element of the casino can be applied to any sort of game. Traditional online casino games like blackjack, slots, roulette, poker, solitaire, craps and all sorts can be quite easily simulated online and there are a plethora of these sort of sites readily available. However, in the age of video games and the rise in graphics quality, all sorts of new games blending online casino gambling with newer more visually pleasing elements has resulted in all sorts of games and apps where real money is bet on RNG, such as in gachapon style digital trading card games, with massive payouts on selling accounts with certain cards in them, or single cards alone depending on the game. Now more than ever, gaming online can not only be rewarding for excitement, but can be visually rewarding too and offer a completely different tactile sensation. Let the new frontier begin. 

For the spectacle

If you want to play casino games for the aesthetic, for the crisp green tables, the smell of solid plastic and the suits and champagne, there is no doubt that the physical casino is for you. Physical casinos have their own culture, their codes and their fashions, and it is quite the experience to be part of. Nothing can quite beat throwing craps in Nevada or the iconic image of a poker table in Macau surrounded by people who, at least in your head, may well be stonkingly wealthy heiresses, mob bosses and undercover celebrities. Whether you wish to shatter that beautiful image and accept the reality that they are probably casino tourists such as yourself, or want to live in the illusion, it is nonetheless clear that you want to hit the big leagues and go to Vegas or such like. Perhaps it is worth stowing away a few of those deposits you were about to throw into some online game and buy yourself a trip to Vegas.

So what are the advantages of online?

Well for starters, it is a hell of a lot easier to gamble online.  A trip to a casino, especially a high quality one abroad, could take hours, days, weeks, even months of planning flights, accommodation, cars, hotels. Meanwhile online gambling can take place anywhere, anytime, expense free, leaving you more money to throw at the slots rather than down the drain. There is no doubt, however, that the overall experience of paying to visit a real casino with all the trappings and culture it entails, is hardly throwing money ‘down the drain’. It is hard to beat the tactile sensation of rolling chips in your hand, the tension of players staring each other down, and the sounds of dice hitting a mat.

Online games operate almost identically to the games being played physically. They are rarely any alteration in rules or method of play, the core tenets of the games are preserved. If you worry about the random element of the physics of dice or roulette, then don’t be, because digital RNG replicates the random element of real-world physics’ effect on a roulette ball or six-sided die perfectly fine. The overall experience might be different, but the games are no less a game digitally than they are physically.

You could however make the case for how digital gaming hinders games like poker, where player interactions are highly necessary to gauge decisions and odds. This is undeniable, and even with the use of webcams, high quality cameras and similar equipment, it is easy for a player to conceal their cues, their tics and their tells when there is a camera on them rather than a pair of physical eyes. The digital realm does provide a barrier to this kind of gameplay, and it is difficult to replicate a real poker environment in the datascape, at least until VR technology really hits the pinnacle we anticipate. In this respect you could treat it as an advantage for the less confident and defensive poker player, having their tells easily concealed, but for other more aggressive players it certainly does not help.

But what about my odds?

Many players raise the complaint and misconception that in the online casino, the odds are stacked against the player greater than in a house due to the digital element, and that players are at the game’s mercy. However, online casino games’ RTP (Return to Player) are fixed, in fact the result is that the games are weighted towards the player since there is no house edge. An RTP 95% game online will give that 95% return to all players, across the site, without argument. The use of physical RNG devices like dice and roulette, and cards, in the physical casino means that all results are left purely to chance and so payouts are less consistent than online gaming, in fact.

Conclusion?

The result of all this is that gaming has its drawbacks no matter where you gamble. A casino trip is expensive, but a digital casino is cheap. A casino trip is difficult, but a digital casino is easy. A casino trip has all the jazz and pizazz of Hollywood whereas playing blackjack with some strangers on your phone, in bed, drinking coffee doesn’t quite capture the magic of it. But maybe it captures just enough of it for you to be satisfied.