Online Casinos Vs. Retail Casinos: A Head-To-Head Comparison

How do online casinos stack up against brick-and-mortar casinos? Playing casino games in-person has its benefits, but so too does playing games online. Here’s how the two types of casinos stack up.

Fun Environment: Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

Few things beat the environment of a retail casino. When you’re on the casino floor, you can explore the games, interact with the dealers, and order drinks – all while socializing with fellow players. Off the casino floor, you have restaurants, hotel suites, spas, and live entertainment. Some even have golf courses, in-house breweries, and beyond.

Online casinos don’t really have any of that. Sure, you can browse the games, and Live Dealer rooms offer some interactivity with the dealer. But it’s nothing like immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the real deal.

Game Variety: Online Casinos

Depending on what state you’re in, some brick-and-mortar online casinos offer a bigger variety of slots than their online counterparts. It’s rare, but it is possible. However, in most cases, you find the best slots variety at an online casino, with hundreds of options at your fingertips.

But for some players, the more notable variety comes in the form of table games. You can find several different forms of blackjack at FanDuel Casino, WynnBET, and BetRivers

French roulette with a $1 table minimum is common at online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but it’s limited to Vegas high-roller rooms in a select few casinos. French roulette has far better odds than both European roulette and American roulette. 

Now consider the fact that you can join multiple online casinos from your mobile device, which means access to a handful of different gaming catalogs. That’s a variety that only the Las Vegas Strip can even dream of competing with.

Biggest Payouts: Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

After we did a head-to-head comparison between in-person slots and online slots, we found that your win potential is higher at brick-and-mortar casinos. The biggest online slot win of all time happened when a Finnish player won $24 million on the Mega Fortune slot. However, the biggest slot win period was on the Megabucks slot in Las Vegas, where a player landed a $39.7 million payday.

Plus, the online casino jackpots have yet to reach the level of European online casinos. While you can certainly land a million-dollar payday, there’s no US online casino offering anywhere close to a $24 million payout – much less one closer to $39.7 million.

Promotions And Bonuses: Online Casinos

All US online casinos offer potentially lucrative welcome bonuses that give players free chances to win. Whether that’s a risk-free 24 hours of betting like at FanDuel Casino or the 100% welcome bonus up to $250 at BetRivers Casino, you’re immediately granted more bang for your buck.

Most retail casinos do not offer anywhere close to that. Usually, you get a free chance at betting credits when you sign up for the loyalty program, but nothing is guaranteed. And to receive any noteworthy benefits, you have to hit the casino fairly often, accrue loyalty points, then cash them in for free food or hotel stays.

Meanwhile, online casinos don’t just offer welcome bonuses. You can find all sorts of daily, weekly, and monthly promotions at the best online casinos in Michigan and beyond.

Responsible Gaming: Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

Any form of gambling has its risk, and the only way to guarantee success is to practice Responsible Gaming. However, a lot of the Responsible Gaming strategies are a lot harder to do when you’re betting on your phone instead of in-person.

You could potentially bet for days on end via your phone without anyone noticing, whereas people are likely to take notice if you’re always at the casino. While it’s always up to the bettor to know the risks and proceed with caution, it’s helpful when loved ones can see the red flags and express their concern.

Basically, to avoid developing problem gambling habits, it’s best to be extra careful while betting at an online casino due to the inherent lack of player oversight.

Convenience: Online Casinos

We couldn’t compare online casinos vs brick-and-mortar casinos and not mention the convenience of playing online. Up until just a few years ago, online casino gaming was illegal in the US. Now, folks in Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania can legally play online casino games – and more states will follow.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction with licensed online casinos, the convenience is simply unbeatable. If you just want to play a few hands of blackjack, it’s probably not worth it to drive to a retail casino. But you can play online blackjack in less than a minute, and all without leaving the couch.

Remember, it’s not worth it to play at illegal online casinos. Those sites are notorious for stealing funds, selling personal information, and disappearing without warning.

Best Of Both Worlds: Live Dealer Games

Online casinos in Michigan and West Virginia still need to build in-state live dealer studios to offer this service. But players in New Jersey and Pennsylvania can play live dealer games at a variety of online casinos, including Golden Nugget and DraftKings Casino.

Live casino games feature real-life dealers at physical tables, who spin roulette wheels or deal cards to players live streaming from home. This is as close to the real thing as it gets without making a trip. And you can bet that Michigan online casinos will launch live dealer studios before the end of 2022 or sooner.

You can even send the dealer messages, give them a tip, and talk to other players at your table. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it usually beats getting in the car or hopping on a plane.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani is the Editor and Content Manager of Bonus.com. As a highly experienced online gambling writer, Mike specializes in online casinos and sports betting; specifically, how to bet more while spending less. Ready to keep more of your money while staying safe and having fun? You're in the right place.