The online gambling industry has been around for over 20 years now, evolving from a niche novelty to become a multibillion-dollar business. Today, sports fans see online bookmakers with sponsored segments on ESPN, and every major casino company runs an iGaming extension in regulated markets.
However, I still meet my fair share of holdouts who simply prefer land-based casinos over the digital alternative. After speaking with a few pals who tried playing casino games over the internet, and immediately switched back to the brick and mortar tables, I’ve identified seven of the main reasons why.
1. Prefer the Personal Touch Provided by Trained Dealers and Staff
By far, the most common complaint I hear from iGaming averse gamblers centers around solitude.
Playing a game like blackjack or craps at the casino is, by definition, a social experience. You’ll make small talk with the dealer, while celebrating big wins and commiserating over bad beats with your tablemates. For many longtime casino goers, playing their favorite games is all about meeting new people and bonding over a shared passion.
All of that goes right out the window when you fire up an online casino though…
- No dealers to direct the action.
- No neighbors to chat with in between hands.
- No cocktail servers to catch your eye.
- No steady stream of strangers for people watching purposes.
Nope, it’s just you and your computer alone in an empty room. The advent of Live Dealer online games has provided some improvement on this front, but live-streamed footage of a dealer can hardly compare to a living, breathing human being behind the box.
2. More Bets Than Usual Causes Them to Bleed Money Faster
Another aspect of online casino play that many folks can’t wrap their minds around stems from the pace of play.
With dealers and fellow players suddenly removed from the equation, the time it takes to complete a hand, roll, or spin is significantly shortened. Roulette offers a perfect example of this phenomenon in action.
While sitting at a live roulette table, you’ll typically have 15 seconds or so to place your bets before the dealer waves their hand to end the action. From there, the spin itself might take 30 seconds for the ball to bounce around the wheel and find its resting place. And finally, the croupier must scan the table layout, scooping up losing bets and paying out winners. With a table packed with players, this laborious process can easily take a minute or more.
Add it all up, and you’ll average right around 35 spins per hour when playing roulette at a physical casino.
Take your bankroll to the online tables, however, and the process is streamlined on every level for maximum efficiency. A series of mouse clicks inputs your bets in just a few seconds. Clicking the “SPIN” button sends the wheel round and round, but the game’s programming spits out its random result in 10 seconds or less. Once the outcome is determined, bets are settled via brief animation before the cycle begins anew.
Just like that, the 35 spins an hour rate you’ve grown accustomed to playing with swells something closer to 120 spins.
The same holds true for any online casino game, as state-of-the-art software coupled with a lack of human interaction severely increases the pace of play. Remember, the casino wants players to put up as many bets as possible to realize the house’s inherent edge. This is why so many land-based gamblers who have grown used to breaking even or losing a little seem to suffer steeper losses when playing online.
3. All of the Bonus Hoopla Just Means Hoops to Jump Through
One of the big draws touted by these operators are the online casino bonuses they offer. Competing companies know that the prospect of free money will attract new players, so they set up seemingly juicy bonus programs to bring you aboard.
Most of the big online brands out there today require their players to make bets equal to many multiples of the bonus amount. So after making that $100 deposit and finding $200 in your account, a play-through requirement of 10x means you must make $1,000 in bets before the money is really yours.
Caught up in trying to clear their play through count, inexperienced players try high volume games while betting over their head. Invariably, most bonus hunters wind up losing their initial bankroll well before they come close to clearing the play-through requirement.
Once a gambler who is used to no strings attached casino comps gets their first taste of these bunko bonuses, they know online play just isn’t for them.
4. Customer Service Just Doesn’t Cut It Compared to a Casino Host
When you become a regular at any decent casino, one of the perks is securing the services of a casino host.
I’ve called my casino host more times than I can count, and I can count the times they weren’t able to meet my needs on one hand.
5. Online Games Often Offer Inferior Odds and Pay Tables
Further exacerbating the pace of play dilemma, many online casino offerings are pale imitations of what you’d find in a brick-and-mortar gambling hall.
- The blackjack “dealers” almost always have to hit on soft 17 hands instead of standing – which instantly adds 0.22 percent to the house edge.
- Baccarat tables don’t charge any commission fees on winning Banker hands, but reduced pay tables make those winners less valuable.
- And for the roulette fans, be sure to steer clear of those awful Triple Zero Roulette tables and their inflated 7.69 percent house edge.
6. The Slot Jackpots Are Stale Compared to Sin City
Thanks to progressive jackpot networks, both land-based and online casinos can put truly life-changing sums up for grabs on the slots.
That’s the high water mark for online slot jackpots in markets like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Every slot spinner dreams about one day beating the odds and scoring a big jackpot, but live jackpots put their online counterparts to shame.
7. Lack of Tech Knowledge Makes the User Experience Awful
Finally, for folks who didn’t come up in the digital age, technological limitations form a definite barrier to online access.
Most players gamble to relax and blow off steam, so adding a layer of tech-induced stress to the situation is a bridge too far for most.
From a personal standpoint, I have nothing but love for the online casino industry. With that said, I can see why a not so insignificant segment of the gambling population still prefers the live arena.
Fortunately for all of us, there’s plenty of action to go around no matter which venue you prefer, so everyone can stick to the tables and machines they feel most comfortable with.