To answer this question, you first need to know a little bit about how casinos went from land-based to online.
Back in the pre-internet ‘good old days’, if you wanted to play at a casino, you had to go to an actual land-based casino. Then, in the late 1990s, everything changed with the screeching sound of a dial-up internet connection – and online casino was born. The idea of taking a successful, fun activity like casino gambling, and combining it with the easiness of having it right there in your own home (even if it was slow to load) was irresistible, and so online casino grew in popularity.
And it kept on growing. Due to the far lower running costs of web hosting compared to land rent, online workers compared to casino workers and more, online casinos soon developed a highly rewarding ‘welcome bonus’ system – which their real-life versions hadn’t.
Internet-based casino bettors also liked the convenience of staying at home and firing up an online gaming site, as compared to having to leave the house and play at a casino in person.
But, while it might sound like online gaming’s the clear winner here, it’s not actually that straightforward. And here’s why.
There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glamor of stepping into a real-life casino, is there? If you’ve ever been to the Sky City Auckland Casino, or any of New Zealand’s Sky City Casinos, you’ll know that the grandeur of the casino and attached hotel is enough to make anyone feel that they’re worth a million dollars.
It’s very clear why James Bond was often seen in and around casinos – it’s because they’re places to socialize; to see and to be seen. The live, in-person casino experience is an attack on the senses – what with all of the ringing of casino games, of happy winners (and maybe even sobbing losers), to the décor and the flashing lights – it all screams ‘fun’, ‘luxury’ and even ‘money’. And none of that can compare to sitting silently and staring at a computer screen.
And – even though those online casinos can offer big-bucks in online bonuses and promotions.
Plus, while online casinos can offer big bonuses, free spins and more, land-based casinos can offer their own benefits: depending on the casino, patrons may be able to receive free drinks, cigarettes, accommodation, show tickets and day-long buffets.
Just imagine the James Bond movies taking place in online casinos, rather than in-person – the scenes wouldn’t have the same mood or impact to them. Because, if those brick and mortar casinos are all about the show, then their online equivalents are all about the simplicity and ease of use.
Online casino players can simply log on and start playing, no travel (or dressing up!) required, and all of their casino gaming needs are taken care of in just a few clicks. Everything is about the accessibility, meaning that anyone with a WiFi-connection can simply log in and sign up. Or, should the mood take you, most casinos offer their very own apps – at our last check, Ruby Casino, Spin Palace and Jackpot City Casino had well-optimized apps for iOS and Android-based phones, and all for New Zealand-based players.
Interestingly, just as it’s changed the face of the casino industry as a whole, another strange little side effect of the casino revolution is the way it’s changed the game of poker. While in a live poker game, players can read each other’s ‘tells’, faces and body language, in online poker, that’s not an option. As a result, players of online poker have developed new tools of analysis for sussing out their fellow players.
So where are your chances of winning better? The answer is that it depends on what the player wants to get out of their casino experience.
For those who like the show-and-tell aspect, or travelling to a big city such as Auckland or Queenstown to be immersed in glamorous surroundings, then you’ll enjoy it more when you’re playing in a real-life casino, against real people.
Otherwise, if you’re a person who likes getting down to the playing and winning straight away across a variety of games, then your best option is to go with the online gaming sites.