Most of us have had a fantasy of rolling up to a glitzy casino like the Bellagio in a fine luxury car, strutting through the golden gates in a tux, and walking out with wads of cash. Either that, or we imagine robbing the joint in an elaborately-conceived heist straight out of Ocean’s 11. Cue grins and dancing water fountain music.
For the materialistically-challenged among us, it’s nice to know that we can skip the Audi and the Armani, and just gamble in our bathrobes from the comfort of our own couch. Online casinos, while not nearly as glamorous as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, certainly have their own unique attractions—the least of which is the possibility to gamble online for real money.
A Big Difference in Comps
Everyone knows about the legendary perks and comps given out by land-based casinos. They’re the stuff of legends, a fairytale of freebies which includes everything from booze, rooms, and all-you-can-eat buffets catered by world class chefs. It’s important to note that in the past decade, most of these perks have been slowly eliminated for the ‘common folk’ in favor of high rollers and VIP players.
Expect to spend 10 grand or more at the tables of a megaresort before you ask them for any major comps. But they’ll always be happy to pour your free drinks while you’re seated at a gaming table. But there’s one thing to keep in mind: endless booze is bound to impair your judgement and make you throw down more money than you really want to. Which is the whole point of endless free booze.
Gambling at home allows you to skip the free booze and concentrate on more productive freebies like online casino bonuses. In fact, you won’t get any bonuses or free spins at a land-based casino. But any punter with the desire to gamble can register with an online casino (or many), and reap some exceptional rewards.
Hundreds of online casinos are competing for your gaming dollar, which is great news for you. This means you can expect online casinos to shower you with welcome bonuses, match bonuses, no deposit bonuses, and more. And you don’t have to be a high roller to get into the VIP programs of most online casinos. Just become a regular gamer, and you’ll ladder up to VIP status in no time. And with the continuous stream of daily, weekly, and monthly bonuses, it’s very easy to become a regular player at an online casino. And did we forget to mention that you can win real money playing poker, slots, craps, or roulette online?
The Huge Difference in Cost
Land-based casinos only exist where they are legal, which makes traveling to online casinos difficult and expensive for most of us. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in an area with tons of tribal gaming casinos nearby, you’ll probably have to pony up for a ride through the desert to Vegas or catch a plane to Macau. And when you get to your gambling mecca, the costs can be astronomical when you add in travel, parking, room rates, entertainment, and that celebrity chef’s joint your partner is just dying to try. Then there’s the possibility of gambling losses. Ouch.
While the resort casino experience is designed for a fantasy experience, most of us aren’t funded well enough to make that dream a reality very often. Which is why online casinos are a great alternative. No driving, no hotels, no expensive dinners. And while you can’t sit in the front row for a Lady Gaga concert, she’ll be happy to teach you all about the Poker Face from your Bluetooth speakers at home. And online casinos aren’t restricted to a certain territory; they exist in the virtual world of cyberspace. You may not be able to gamble in your town or state, but your online casino exists in jurisdictions amenable to gambling. Just check the rules for online gambling in your region.
The Casino Effect
Researchers spin out reams of papers addressing what they call ‘the casino effect.’ They mostly center the arguments around land-based casinos, as they have a major impact in their regions. Proponents of casinos state the obvious: casinos are good for a local and state economy. Every time a megaresort casino breaks ground in some backwater village in America, it spells thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax and licensing revenue for the state.
Even when the casino is on tribal land, the positive effects on the native and non-native casino employees is positive. And the states usually create a pact with the tribal governments to ensure the state receives a piece of the pie through taxes and casino licenses.
Opponents of casinos use the NIMBY argument (not in my back yard). Many people are not against casinos, they just don’t want one in their neighborhood. These people associate casinos with traffic, crime, and increased cases of gambling addiction in their communities. They are often happy to travel to the desert to gamble, because any negative effects of gambling are far away from where they sleep.
Economic research on the impact of casinos on a community cites a serious success story. Not only do both commercial and tribal casinos help the poorest regions out of a slump, they provide individual success for the thousands of casino employees who earn wages and consume goods. Naysayers claim that tribal casinos take Native Americans from one form of dependence (the federal government) to another (tribal governments). But the fact remains: billions of dollars flowing through casinos to tribes adds the aspect of independence and pride to the community. Wages instead of handouts.
The Online Casino Advantage
In addition to all those juicy casino bonuses you can squeeze out of your favorite online casinos, there are some other benefits to gambling online. In a land-based casino, you are far from anonymous. Tons of security cameras and CCTV video watches your every move, at every moment. You’re just there to have some fun at the card table, but that ominous black bubble, the ‘eye in the sky’ is always on you. While ostensibly for security purposes, the eye in the sky is really about catching people trying to count cards—and watching card dealers.
This is not the case at an online casino. Nobody knows who you are, or how you play your game. There is another level of security and safety, which is provided by a safe and secure registration process. Registering at an online casino is necessary to prevent underage gamblers from accessing the casino, as well as to verify your identity, and to prevent fraudulent activity. It also confirms that you are a new player so you can claim your online casino welcome bonus.
But none of your information is shared with third parties, and you can even use cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to fund your wagering. This is the ultimate in anonymity for anyone with privacy concerns.
As for the casino effect, this applies to the offshore jurisdictions which house the headquarters of online casinos. These communities use the same economic drivers to allow online casino operators to conduct business in their jurisdictions. Often, the locals of these communities aren’t even allowed to gamble online. So online casinos basically bring gambling to everyone via the internet. You may live in a region which forbids brick-and-mortar casinos, but you can still get online and win real money gambling in an online casino.
Casino resorts will still stand the test of time, and new ones are being built as you read this. Even though gambling online is much cheaper, faster, and, more convenient, there will always be a need for the palatial casino estates and their decadent opulence. After all, they give you a chance to be king or queen for a day (or more), while pampering you with spa treatments, all-star entertainment, and world class cuisine.
At the end of the day, land-based casinos are an experience unto themselves, a multi-billion-dollar fantasy where you are invited to sit in the lap of luxury. And there will always be room for the fantasy.