Casinos, in some form or another, are by no means new. Playing cards can be traced back over 1000 years to the Tang Dynasty era of China, and their first use in Europe occurred around 300 years later. The games that we know today, such as blackjack and poker, are not quite as old, dating back to around the 1600s. Casinos can be traced back to similar times, with the first recorded one opening in Venice in 1638. However, wagering can be traced back much further, with records showing the Ancient Greeks and Romans both partaking in such activities.
It was in the 20th century United States where the modern, large casinos began to spring up. Ever since the state of Nevada legislated to allow gaming in 1931, Las Vegas has been developing into the casino destination city that we know now. This gaming industry has been replicated in other US cities, such as Atlantic City in New Jersey, and elsewhere in the world (Macau, for example).
Traditional Online Casinos
Just as betting has permeated every documented civilisation in the history of the human race, the digital civilisation of the internet has been no different. The passing of the Free Trade & Processing Act in Antigua and Barbuda allowed online casinos to be issued licenses to begin operating, with the first one launching in 1995. In just two years, around 200 new online casinos opened, providing existing players with new choices and allowing providers to reach wider audiences.
The primary benefit provided by online casinos is that they provide greater convenience to the customer by allowing them to play when and where they want, without having to travel to a land-based casino. This is especially convenient for those who do not live close to a physical casino. This convenience has been extended thanks to the development of mobile technology; iGaming providers have adapted quickly to allow their customers to play from anywhere, provided they have a compatible mobile device and an internet connection.
Online casinos don’t always require wagering. If you just enjoy playing for fun, there are many free-to-play options available for both computer and mobile platforms. These can also be great tools for practicing your playing techniques before placing your first real-money bet.
Live Casino Games
Live casino games combine the convenience of online casinos and the human element of a land-based casino. You will play against real people and see a live broadcast of a real croupier or dealer who will be dealing cards or spinning a roulette wheel. In most cases you can interact with the dealer, which gives a more realistic feel to the game.
Live casinos are not just limited to computers. They are available on many formats, including on TV and mobile devices; for example, PokerStars has apps available for iOS and Android devices. However, there might be minor differences to the setup. For example, live casinos tend to use playing cards with larger numbers to ensure that players are able to read their cards from a distance.
Unlike non-live casino games, there generally aren’t free options available. This is because the live nature of the game creates increased overhead for the provider; therefore, there is no incentive to offer a free live version. If players want to practice with a free game first, the traditional online games provide plenty of viable options.
The online casino industry has almost come full circle, first by removing the human element, and then by offering the convenience of being able to play anywhere at any time. However, as the availability of live casino game options grows, this human element sees a limited return to the traditional land-based casino offering. Of course, there can’t be a complete replacement for the land-based casino–they will always hold a monopoly on the unique atmosphere they create. There will continue to be a place for all three options to coexist, each with their own unique features and benefits.