Casinos on the Internet
The first online gambling website went live ten years ago, paving the way for the hundreds of others that have appeared on the internet since then. In 2001, the Australian government estimated that there were just under five million online gamblers worldwide, with over $11 billion being spent in online casinos. [ref].
Are there any differences between online gambling and traditional casino gambling, and what exactly is the appeal of playing at home rather than in a casino? Our aim in this article is to give you an overview of what it’s like to gamble online, as well as information about how to pay to play and the legality of gambling over the internet.
Gambling on the internet
At first glance, online gambling differs from traditional casino gambling in a number of important ways. The players and the dealer have little to no interaction with each other during the game. In reality, there is no dealer because all games are controlled by computer programs rather than humans. Participants in both types of gaming agree that online games such as poker or blackjack tend to move faster than their live counterparts because there is no conversation between players to slow down the pace of play.
Online casinos can offer players a plethora of options. There are licensed slot machine games based on cartoon characters on one website, while other websites on others offer automated versions of more traditional casino games. Just like real slot machines are dressed up with nice graphics and sound effects, most games are dressed up too. With the push of a button, players can view the rules of each game, as well as a graph showing the payouts.
More than 60 games are visible in a quick glance at one of the best casino websites, including blackjack, baccarat and craps, as well as different variants of roulette. There are also at least two dozen slot games, keno and a variety of video poker games. The specific rules of the games are modeled after their real-life counterparts in many ways. When playing video poker or blackjack, players make decisions about the cards they are dealt that can affect the overall outcome of the game.
Sites that offer online sports betting, which is yet another form of gambling, can be found on the internet. This type of website allows users to place bets on a wide variety of sporting events, as well as on other events such as political elections or the results of reality TV shows. Sites like this offer their own odds, which in some cases are sometimes better than the odds offered by traditional Las Vegas bookmakers (in part because of the lower overhead it takes to run an online betting site). “Instant play” versions of their games are available at many online casinos and they are usually played in a web browser that supports Java. The casino software can also be downloaded by players, who can then access the games through a separate application. Only a download-to-play option is available on some websites. Players can try the games for free if they have a game account with a few thousand dollars in credit. Of course, none of these games are meant to be played for real money.
Online games with “play for fun” options and those with real money options have different winning odds than those with “play for money”. Although impossible to confirm, trying the “play for fun” versions of various online casinos often results in large fictitious bank accounts being created. If the real money games also paid out that much money, the casinos would have to close their doors in no time. Achieving success in ‘for fun’ games does not necessarily mean success when real money is at stake.