Virtual Casinos Versus Land-Based Gambling Venues: 5 Main Differences

Casinos Versus

Traditional gambling venues and online gambling sites both feature an ample selection of games for you to play and gamble on. However, there are certain differences between them.

Gambling at a traditional casino requires you to travel in order to reach it. Alternately, you can access virtual casinos wherever you are by merely signing in from your mobile device or computer. However, the differences do not end there, and you will realize that soon enough.

I have assembled a list containing five major differences between traditional gambling venues and online casinos for you to learn.

Pace of Play

Playing roulette, blackjack, or craps at a traditional gambling venue limits the speed of your play as various factors influence it — the number and pace of other players, as well as the game itself. However, when you gamble online, that depends entirely on you.

Gaming machines, whether they are land-based or virtual, operate similarly. Therefore, your choice of a slot machine will not have a significant impact on the pace of your play. However, the majority of other games are generally played faster on the Internet.

The fact that virtual casino games imply a faster pace can be considered both a benefit and a drawback, depending on your reasons for gambling. If you intend to wager as much as possible, virtual gambling may suit you better.

Nevertheless, if you aim to preserve your bankroll, and thus, play slower, traditional casinos are probably more suitable for you. Naturally, you decide whether you play fast or slow online, but the majority of players prefer to increase the speed of their play. Otherwise, they get bored.

Your pace of play in a casino game significantly influences your losses in the long run, as well as your bankroll. Every game implies a house edge. Therefore, you will almost certainly lose over the long haul. The faster your pace, the quicker you lose. There are not many exceptions to this rule.

Take a look at the following example:

Let’s analyze the differences between a traditional and a virtual game of blackjack. We shall begin by assuming that they both imply a house edge of 1%, that you wager $10, and that you manage to play 50 hands an hour at a land-based casino and 200 hands an hour at its online counterpart.


The traditional variant of the game will cost you approximately $5 an hour, whereas the virtual one implies an estimated loss of $20 an hour.

The calculations are simple — playing four times faster results in losing four times more money. However, in case you can manage to play at the same pace at a traditional venue as on an online gambling site, your estimated loss would be the same.

Taking the fact that online casinos imply a faster rate of play in comparison to traditional ones into consideration, I must emphasize that online casinos generally require lower minimum bets. That is an advantage they have over their land-based counterparts.

The minimum bet you need to place in order to participate in a land-based game of blackjack is usually $5 or $10, whereas the same game on the Internet usually requires you to make a minimum bet of as little as $1.

Therefore, if your goal is simply real-money gambling and you do not aim for high stakes, you can actually end up losing less money at an online casino than you would in a traditional gambling venue.

Consider the following example:

Let’s take into account the game of blackjack we just discussed, but so that you place approximately $5 per hand in its land-based version and $1 per hand in its online version.

Placing a bet of $5 per hand and playing 50 hands results in a loss of approximately $2.50 per hour.

Wagering $1 per hand and playing 200 hands results in an estimated loss of $2 per hour.

Furthermore, in case you are able to play slower on the Internet and place smaller bets on average at the same time, you can preserve your bankroll even more efficiently. Provided that you play 100 instead of 200 hands an hour and wager $1 per hand, your average loss would be reduced to $1 an hour.

Virtual casinos offer the possibility of placing smaller minimum bets and managing your pace of play according to your own preferences, thus, making it easier to preserve your bankroll. If you gamble on low stakes games and take your time, you will be able to gamble for hours, even though your bankroll may be limited.

After all, there aren’t many places that offer the opportunity of having fun for 10 hours and paying only $10 or $20 for it.

Moving Your Funds

Another significant difference between gambling on the Internet and the traditional way of gambling is getting your funds in and out of the gambling venue.

In case of gambling at a land-based establishment, you are able to carry your funds inside and arrange them the way you want by exchanging them for credits you can use for playing games. Essentially, converting regular money into casino chips and vice versa does not represent a challenge.

Online gambling, however, implies a different system for managing your funds. The simplest way to engage in online gambling is to make a deposit via your credit card. Moreover, certain virtual gambling sites accept Bitcoin as a method of payment and allow you to use an online wallet such as Paypal or Neteller, the latter having been developed with the gambling industry in mind.

Furthermore, some gambling websites accept bank wires as a payment option or ACH drafts. Online players commonly do not have lines of credit as an option at their disposal.

The deposit options you can choose from depend on the region from which you access the website. Certain countries have banking systems that make depositing and withdrawing funds difficult.


The point is that moving funds in and out of a gambling website is more challenging in comparison to the same action at a traditional venue. The operators of online casinos are aware of that fact, which is why they are constantly on the lookout for new ways to facilitate that process for their clients.

In case you cannot figure out a way to deposit money at an online casino, contact the customer support and inform them about your country of residence. Based on that piece of information, they will probably be able to assist you.

The majority of gambling websites convert your funds into chips, similarly to traditional venues. However, that process is virtual, which is why playing with chips and playing with real money do not differ significantly. Casino operators figured out long ago that players tend to gamble more with chips than with cash. The knowledge has been passed on to online casino operators.

Game Availability

If you are a frequent guest of land-based casinos, you have undoubtedly experienced the following scenario at least once: you enter the venue eager to play poker or blackjack, only to find out that there is no seat available. Or you wish to play video poker or a slot game, but your favorite machine happens to be occupied. Such a situation is not common, but it can occur at a land-based gambling venue, especially if you are a regular client.

Alternately, logging into a virtual casino guarantees that you will be able to play any game you want right away. The software running gambling websites has made it possible, as it is designed in a way that allows you to engage in gambling as soon as you load a website. Online casino operators are aware of the fact people wish to start gambling promptly. In case the game they want to play is not available, they will simply find another website.

Furthermore, virtual casinos are able to offer a vaster selection of games, as they are not restricted by the size of the gaming area. If you wish to play an obscure variant of poker, such as Pai Gow, or play Sic Bo, finding a table at a traditional casino may be rather challenging.

The fact is, such games do not bring much profit to a casino. Therefore, when casino operators assemble a game selection, they tend to focus on slots, blackjack, and poker, as those are the games from which they can profit the most.

Online casino operators do not face such an issue. Once their software is developed, they can feature as many games as they want, as it does not cost them any additional money to have more games available.

Bonuses and Promotional Offers

Promotional offers at online casinos comprise deposit bonuses, which is the way they try to entice more players. That is not the case with their land-based counterparts. Instead of offering such bonuses, they provide comps and coupons you can use to play a particular game. Even some gambling websites feature comp programs; however, they are less common in comparison to traditional gambling venues.

During your search for a virtual casino, you will see a vast selection of bonus offers. Although they may seem appealing, always remember that the goal of casinos is making money. Therefore, they are highly unlikely to simply give it away.

Each online casino bonus implies certain requirements you need to fulfill if you decide to claim it. At a legitimate casino, the information regarding those requirements is available in the terms and conditions section.


Generally, there are two types of bonuses — cashable and non-cashable, the latter being commonly referred to as sticky bonuses.

Cashable bonuses are those bonuses you can cash out upon meeting the wagering requirements. On the other hand, non-cashable bonuses are not available for withdrawal. Essentially, you can use them for playing particular games, but they will be deducted from your balance once you make a withdrawal request.

You can use certain bonuses exclusively for certain games. The majority of them are eligible for slot games and keno, whereas video poker and blackjack are often among the restricted games. However, the detailed information regarding those restrictions is also available in the terms and conditions section.

Every offered bonus implies certain wagering requirements. They are usually displayed in the terms and conditions section, and they indicate the number of times you need to play through your deposit plus bonus. For instance, “25 times” or “25X” indicates that you must risk an entire amount of your deposit and the bonus you have claimed before you can become eligible for a withdrawal. The wagering requirements differ from one game to another, as well as from one gambling website to the next.

Although clauses regarding bonuses may seem confusing, it is essential that you read them prior to making a deposit. The purpose of promotional offers is to attract players, but their wagering requirements are designed in a way to prevent you from profiting in the long run.

In case you are a slots aficionado, bonuses may be the way to preserve your bankroll and extend your playing time. The majority of slot players keep playing until they are out of money and seldom get an opportunity to make a withdrawal. Therefore, if you are into slots, attempt to find a generous bonus, so as to have a chance for a progressive jackpot or a large payout.

Nevertheless, if table games are what interests you, consider claiming a smaller bonus that implies less restrictive wagering requirements.

Some online casinos use a certain trick against players who play table games. Essentially, they allow you to use a bonus for them; however, they count only a small portion of your play (10 or 20 percent) against the wagering requirements.

Note that having only 10% of your play count equals to having wagering requirements ten times as big. For instance, instead of wagering $1,000, you would have to wager $10,000 in order to be able to make a withdrawal request.

That is the reason the terms and conditions section is so important.

As I have already stated, a non-cashable or a sticky bonus is deducted from your balance once you make a withdrawal request.

Take a look at the following example:

Let’s assume you deposit $500 and claim a $500 worth of a sticky bonus. Essentially, you have $1,000 to use for gambling. Imagine having fulfilled the wagering requirements and eventually having a total of $600. Once the bonus is deducted, you can cash out only $100.


Gambling at a land-based casino implies only one limitation — your age. Depending on the venue, you are eligible for gambling if you are over 18 or 21 and on the condition that you have money to gamble with.

Online gambling is restricted in certain regions. Laws endure constant modifications, so being up to date with them represents quite a challenge. You ought to consult your local laws prior to engaging in online gambling to ensure you can legally gamble.

The majority of the laws regard moving funds, which I discussed earlier in this article. Moreover, there are numerous vague ones concerning online gambling, which leads to confusion, and ultimately, you are unsure of what you are allowed to do.

You can find online casinos, even in areas where the activity is officially illegal. If that is the case in your country of residence, you are probably able to gamble. However, I advise you not to break any laws that distinctly state that you should not gamble, as well as not to gamble with money you cannot afford to lose.

After all, the latter advice is always sound.


Are online casinos better than land-based ones or vice versa? You can determine the answer based on your gambling goals, skills, and preferences regarding casino games. Now that you are aware of the five major differences between traditional venues and online gambling sites, you can choose the option that suits you better.

Naturally, many people gamble at online and land-based casinos likewise, so you do not have to restrict yourself to only one option. The purpose of this guide is to highlight both the positive and negative aspects of both of them in order to help you contrast them.

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