The online gambling industry is huge. Currently, there are over 800 online casinos serving millions of players from all over the world. In most countries, online gambling is a legit business, operating under licenses and paying hefty taxes to the state. There are others where, although not explicitly banned, it’s frowned upon, having a questionable legal status at best. Yet the need for online casinos is constant – people are finding ways to circumvent the bans to play their favorite games online. This leads to one question that couldn’t be answered during the two-decade history of online gambling: will it ever lead to the disappearance of land-based casinos, as no doubt many such operators fear?
Convenience and atmosphere
Both land-based venues and online establishments have their strong points and weaknesses.
Those who play casino games at Wild Jack Mobile are not looking for the most comfortable place to lose their money, as land-based players do, but the most convenient place to play their favorite games. The difference is subtle: most Wild Jack players are not looking for real money entertainment but entertainment, with the extra thrill of risking cash being the icing on the cake. Online gaming venues have massive libraries of games – the Wild Jack Mobile, for example, has over 100 titles for its players, with over 600 more in its desktop versions – and their patrons mostly play them casually, for fun – even with no real money involved. This is what the average frequency of play (once every two weeks) suggests.
As opposed to the convenience and casual nature of playing at the Wild Jack and its likes, land-based gambling establishments have a distinct atmosphere. One does not simply walk into a casino and play a few spins on a slot machine – at least not in most settlements. And playing free at a land-based casino is also not a possibility. Casinos were, in the past, meeting places for the rich and powerful, and they have managed to maintain at least part of this mythos to this day. Thus, when people visit a land-based casino, they feel like being part of something special, which makes gambling in a real-life casino feel more mysterious and attractive.
Look at Europe
In Europe, land-based gambling coexists with online casinos since the very beginning of the online gambling business. European players are free to visit whichever option they wish. Some cities – like Prague – have many gambling venues of different sizes for their visitors and for the locals, others – like Monaco and Venice – have traditional destinations like the Monte Carlo Casino or the Casinó Venezia for gamblers to visit. As you can see, land-based gambling was not pushed out of business in Europe – convenience, it seems, still has a long way to go before it can overcome tradition, flair, and atmosphere.
Unless the emerging virtual reality allows online gaming venues to match the immersion and magic of land-based casinos, it will most likely not push traditional casinos out of business.