Online Casinos vs. Land Based Casinos: 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you wondering which is better – online casinos or land based casinos? Do you have to decide which you’d rather do? Which option you’d rather spend your money on? It can be a difficult choice. Both have their pros and cons.

I have a suggestion for you that will make your decision SUPER EASY to make. I’ll share that with you in just a second.

But first, let’s dive deeper into the original question. I think the best way to find the answer is to ask yourself the following 6 questions.

1. Do you want to travel?

Let’s start with online gaming – there’s no traveling at all. Not unless you count the steps you need to take from one room to the one your computer’s in.

But you’ll need to travel to a brick and mortar casino. This comes with costs – both in terms of money AND opportunity.

For us to go to Las Vegas from Portland, Oregon, airfare ranges from $120 to $200 per round trip ticket. The trip takes 2-6 hours depending on if we can get a flight straight there or if there’s a layover and connecting flight.

We usually stay in a timeshare, but we’ve stayed in hotels on the strip too. You’ll spend $100+ per night.

If you’re on the strip you can walk everywhere if you want. There are trams, too. You can travel from one end to the other for cheap.

But say you want to get where you’re going fast. You can get a taxi. From one end of the strip to the other you should expect to spend $15 to $25 (including tip).

Or you can rent a car. You’ll probably spend $25-ish per day.

Then you have food. EVERYTHING is more expensive on the strip. I’d assume $40 for 2 people per meal. And more if you want to eat in one of the fancier restaurants (easily $150+ for two people).

So, say you want to go to Las Vegas for a week:

  • Airfare – $200 per person
  • Car/Taxi – $140/week
  • Food – $420/week per person
  • Hotel – $700/day

That comes out to right under $1,500. Then on top of that you’ll want money for gambling and any other activities (of which there are MANY).

And don’t forget the opportunity cost. That’s 7 days you’ll spend in Vegas. Which means you won’t be working. That’s more money spent.

Overall, that’s a lot of money down the drain.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But another way of looking at this is you could spend $1500+ plus your gambling money to go to Las Vegas, or simply deposit $1500 at an online casino and play whenever and wherever you have internet access.

Then pocket the rest, while avoiding the additional time, effort and resources you’ll spend traveling.

2. Do you want extracurricular activities?

When you go to Las Vegas you can gamble 24/7. But there’s SO MUCH MORE to do than that. For example, you can:

  • Go to strip clubs.
  • Try new restaurants.
  • See new casinos.
  • Shop.
  • See shows.
  • Go site seeing (the Grand Canyon is popular).
  • Do misc. things like racing cars or jumping off the Stratosphere.

Few of these options will be available to you from home.

So, you have to ask yourself:

  • Do I want to do any of these things?
  • Am I willing to spend the money on them?

This is another situation where you’ll spend money on activities that could otherwise be used for gambling.

Of course, gambling’s not everything. The wife and I have seen and enjoyed several shows in Las Vegas. I’ve also raced a Ferrari and Audi R8 at a track in Las Vegas – an incredible experience. One I won’t regret spending time or money on.

3. What games do I want to play? How much do I have to spend on gambling?

There are a number of things to think about here.

You’ll have a large selection of games, regardless if you play online or at a land based casino. However, offline you might have to travel from one casino to another to find different games because each set of properties works with different software companies.

Online, many casinos have TONS of games within one casino. But even if you want to play something different, it’s often a matter of logging into a different casino. This only takes a few seconds (versus minutes or 1+ hour offline) to do.

Something else to think about are game variations. You’ll find variations for some games offline – like you mind find a specific blackjack variation somewhere in Las Vegas. But you can sign up to just about any online casino and have 7-10+ blackjack games to choose from – almost instantly.

And online you can play table games for as little as $1. Machines will cost as little as .01. Machines are nearly the same offline, but table games will start at $3-$5 depending on where you’re playing.

Online you can also play from your mobile device. That means you can play from anywhere you have internet access. That’s not something you can do offline (I dare you to drag a slot machine from the casino floor to your car.).

You can also play for free online.

Another great thing – online games are always available. You don’t have to wait for someone to get up and leave the machine you’ve been eying forever. This is super frustrating, let me tell you.

4. Do I want promotions? What kinds of promotions do I want?

Another thing to think about are promotions.

This is where online casinos shine.

It’s not that you won’t find promos offline. They just don’t compare to online promos.

For example, the deposit bonus. You can get hundreds, even thousands of dollars from an online casino when you sign up and deposit for the first time. I’ve never seen an offline casino do this.

Then you have reload bonuses. These are just like deposit bonuses except for existing customers.

On top of that you have VIP programs where you can get cash back and sometimes neat gifts.

Offline you can earn points which you can use for buffets, shows or rooms. And you’ll see games where you can win a car or something. But the variety and scope of brick and mortar casino offers pales in comparison to online casinos.

5. Do I want to deal with people?

When you gamble online you won’t have to deal with anyone. The exception is if you play online poker, but even then you can turn off the chat.

But offline? You’ll deal with people your entire trip.

You’ll have to deal with people at the airport. The security, lines and then having to sit next to random people on the plane.

Then you have the casinos, which are full of lines, people without manners, and drunk or otherwise obnoxious people.

You can’t forget about the smut peddlers, either (at least in Las Vegas).

It’s not that you can’t deal with all this – but the question is, do you want to?

6. Do I care about legal gaming laws?

Another thing to think about. Is online gambling legal from where you’re from? This makes your choices smaller and might mean you’re not gambling legally. It might also mean that the people you’re doing business with aren’t 100% on the up and up.

But that’s not something you have to worry about gambling offline. All casinos are licensed and tightly regulated.

Conclusion: Here’s Another Suggestion

At the end of the day there’s no right or wrong answer. It just depends on what you want from your gambling experience.

But here’s another thing to think about – why not do both?

It may sound like I’m anti-land based casino. But I’m really not.

We usually take a trip every 12 or 18 months to Las Vegas. We enjoy the gaming, food and shows. It’s just that there’s so much more involved in terms of money, time and stress.

But it’s a unique experience, and one you can’t get gambling online.

So, why force yourself to choose? Why not enjoy the best of both worlds instead?