In the battle between online and land-based casinos, it seems that there is only likely to be one winner. When you can access live roulette and blackjack tables – not to mention hundreds of the latest slot games – using the smart phone in your pocket, then why bother going to all the trouble of a night at a brick and mortar casino?
Of course an evening at a traditional casino offers certain benefits that the online version cannot replicate – or at least, not yet. The social experience of going out with friends, having a couple of drinks at the bar and generally imbibing the atmosphere of a traditional casino is difficult to reproduce when you elect to play online from home. However the online casino operators are aware of these and looking to new innovations like live dealer and virtual reality casinos as a way to encourage more people to venture online for their gambling fix.
The recent experiences of land based casinos in Switzerland provide a salutary example to those championing the cause of the traditional operations. Since 2007 Swiss casinos have reported a year on year decline in profits, with a total revenue loss of a third by 2015. While not all of the decrease can be put down to online competition, there is no doubt that a very significant proportion of the losses are due to the rise in online gaming. Land based casinos are now trying to obtain licenses so as to be able to offer sports betting and other games in a bid to match the output of their online competitors, but it may be a case of too little too late.
The so-called Millennial generation has never known a world without the internet, and for them to spend a large part of the day online living a ‘virtual’ existence is perfectly natural. While older folk may still regard the internet with suspicion – especially when it comes to areas like gambling where your money is involved – to 20-somethings today there is nothing unusual in dealing with various areas of life online, including shopping, banking and (to a large degree) socialising as well. For this generation of players the online casinos offer a far more attractive alternative to the brick and mortar versions.
Online casinos can already offer a far greater range of different games than a land based casino faced which has to deal with the practicalities of physical space when it considers which games to offer. While an online casino can offer 20 varieties of roulette and multiple other table games, it is considerably more expensive for a traditional casino to follow suit, as they must also consider staffing costs with respect to the additional dealers, security staff, pit bosses and waiters needed to service such an expansion.
At last estimate the UK online gambling business was worth over £3 Billion, and with the increased interest in virtual headsets and the seemingly annual leaps in technology, it looks like traditional land based casinos have their work cut out to stave off their online rivals over the years ahead.