For many people around the world today, a good gaming session involves firing up the computer, mobile phone or tablet and spinning the reels on a virtual slot machine. For others, a good session entails a trip to the local casino, pulling up a chair and soaking in the atmosphere as they play.
Casinos have undergone many changes over the years, not least because of the advent of online gaming. However, we have now reached a point where both can coexist quite happily, complementing one another. Today we are looking at how casino gaming has evolved over the years, as well as the advantages of each medium.
Historians cannot pinpoint exactly when and where organized gambling events took place. We do know that the Greeks, Romans and ancient Chinese gambled, as did the people of Elizabethan England.
The first known gambling house – though perhaps not a casino by modern standards – was established in Venice in 1638, to provide a controlled gambling location during the carnival season. It was shut two years later after the city government felt it was impoverishing the locals.
In America, gamblers could head to saloons in major cities like St Louis, Chicago and New Orleans before the trend spread to smaller locales. Saloons were the place to go for a drink, a chat with friends and perhaps some gambling too. In the early 20th century, the US banned gambling, only for it to make a return in Nevada in 1931 and in New Jersey in 1978. Both of these places now have a massive established casino industry.
The birth of the internet opened up a whole new world for all kinds of industries and sectors, not least gambling. In 1994, Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Act, which would be used to license online casinos. Software companies soon recognized a niche in the market and began to develop online casino games.
Other countries followed Antigua and Barbuda’s example and began to take steps to regulate the industry on home turf. Some, like the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and Curacao, began licensing online casinos, a nod to their international appeal and exponential growth.
Which one is better?
The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. For many players out there, getting themselves to an actual, brick and mortar casino might be difficult – the nearest casino might be on the other side of the country, making it expensive and time consuming to get to. With online casinos, distance is no object. Log in at any time of the day or night to play your favourite games.
The games available are also different between these two types of casino. Online casinos tend to lean more heavily towards games that translate well to the online medium. Slots are a good example. Land-based casinos are often a good place for players who like the sound and feel of ‘real’ games – the pull of the slot machine lever, the feel of real cards in your hands. While online casinos offer live casino games, beaming in video feeds of real dealers, they are not always a good substitute for the real thing.
In all, it really does depend on what you’re looking for from a gaming experience. Online has that convenience element while land-based means authenticity. Whichever one you prefer, you’re in for a fun time when you pick a quality casino so what are you waiting for? Get playing!