The pros and cons of playing online...


Even ardent critics of online casinos would concede that the internet has provided gambling companies with the ideal mechanism for offering their product to customers.  As a means of playing casino games for real money, it offers a convenience and flexibility that is unparalleled.  But it also raises a lot of real and potential negatives.

Here are some pros and cons of online gambling that we have experienced.  It is worth noting that a number of the cons are avoidable with a little bit of knowledge about the industry.

The Pros...  

This is the obvious one.  I mean, Vegas is great, but its not like you can bring it to your living room or office.  Online casinos allow you to play for real money from the comfort of your home or office, with no need to incur the cost (both $ and time) of getting to and from a casino, or the costs of staying at a casino (food, accommodation etc).  Many people around the world are not able to access terrestrial casinos at all, so online casinos provide them with their only practical access to safe real money gaming.

Online casinos allow you to play your chosen game in private, without the distractions of a busy gaming room.  And you never face the annoyance of not being able to play because the tables offering a minimum bet acceptable to you are full.  Of course should you want to interact with others, you can do this provided you play at a multi-play casino, but otherwise it is just you and the dealer.

Transaction record...
When you play online, your account balance, and therefore your net win or loss at any given point of time is clearly displayed to you.  You know exactly how much you have won or lost, and (at a good casino) how you have won or lost it, since play history reports are readily available.  By comparison, the typical terrestrial casino experience is less controlled and transparent.  

You control speed of play...
Ever felt rushed or flustered while playing at a full blackjack table...especially if you're no expert?  When playing any game at an online casino, you control the game speed.  You can play a hand every 10 seconds, or every 5 minutes.  This gives you the flexibility to take your time and make the right decisions and not be rushed into any bets.  Online casinos are actually a great place to learn a particular casino game.

Practice for free...
Almost all online casinos offer unlimited free play of their games.  This gives you an excellent chance to either learn how to play a particular game, or to familiarise yourself with the casinos game software.  Very few terrestrial casinos offer a free play option.

Great graphics...
If you haven't played at an online casino you will be amazed at the realistic 3D graphics and smooth simulated games that are offered.  This applies especially to casinos which license software from the industries leading casino software developers such as Cryptologic, Microgaming, and Boss Media.

One of the most powerful attributes of the internet is its ability to present users with many easily accessible options in a given area of enquiry.  This promotes strong competition between web businesses competing for new customers, and as a consequence, great deals for those customers.  The online casino industry is no exception, with a 1000 or so casinos competing fiercely for their share of the online gambling market by offering great sign up bonuses.  It is not unusual for internet casinos to offer 100% sign up deposit $100 and you get given $100 free.

Casinos offering over $1000 in initial deposit bonuses, include:

Millionaire Casino    Casino Tropez    Titan Casino     

Audited returns...
Many online casinos now have their return to player rates audited by big 4 accounting firms (most notably PriceWaterhouseCoopers) or other organisatins like eCOGRA.  You can therefore see how much players were returned in prior months at these casinos.  Returns are generally verified in the range 96% to 99% at these casinos, proving that the returns offered by these casinos are every bit as good, if not better, than those offered at any terrestrial casino.

Game range...
The better online casinos offer enormous game ranges.  There is one casino (7 Sultans Casino) with over 400 games to choose from.  So if you thought your options would be restricted playing online then think again.

The Cons...

Can you trust the operator...
Because the online casino industry is largely self regulated, and there are so many operators out there, many people are justifiably concerned with the trustworthiness of the various casino operators.  And the alarming consideration is that you have no realistic and practical avenue of recourse in the event that an internet casino does cheat you some how.  If, for example, a casino based in the Dominican Republic was to refuse to pay out your $500 account, then even if there was some way that you could legally enforce your rights ( which is unlikely), it would not be worth the cost and effort to do so.  And its not like you can damage the reputation of some of these casinos by bringing their unscrupulous operating practices to public attention because quite simply they do not have a reputation that can be damaged.  

The moral of the story here is yes, some online casinos should not be touched.  It should also be said though, that this con does not apply to all online casinos.  The majority of online casinos do have reputations that they are proud of and that they are very careful to keep in tact.  Casinos that I have played at for over a year now, without complaint, are listed here

Payout speed...
The great thing about a gambling windfall at a terrestrial casino is that you walk away with real cash.  One of the things I dislike most about online casinos is the time taken to receive your winning check.  As I don't live in North America, I have to wait between 1 and 2 weeks before receiving my winnings in the mail.  Presumably payout time for US residents would be 2 to 4 days, which isn't bad, but certainly doesn't compare with cash in your pocket straight away.  

It should be said that a number of casinos offer instant payment to your credit card account but only to the value of your initial deposit.  You'll still have to wait for your winnings I'm afraid.  A handful of casinos also offer payment by wire transfer directly into your bank account...but this generally costs you a small fee.

If you love the excitement of the casino gaming room and interaction with other players, then online casinos might fail to win you over.  As much as they try to replicate the online gambling experience with casino sounds, multi-play tables and flashy graphics, they will never truly replicate the real life casino gaming room.

Technical problems...
This is one that I haven't experienced a great deal, but I'm sure it could give rise to some frustration.  Delays in getting set up for those of you with slow connections could also be frustrating.  All quality operators have 24/7 customer support who are very quick to respond to problems.  On the odd occasion that I do experience delays, (eg long download) I cheer myself up by imagining having to drive to the casino and find a parking spot!


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