Are Online Casinos Better Than Brick-and-Mortar Casinos?

The title of this blog is a bit misleading. The truth is that online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos are different, and the one that you think is better will depend on what you’re looking for. Below, I’m going to explore the good and the bad of both types of casino. This will help you work out which one’s the best choice for you.

Can You Control Your Impulses?

Both online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos use tricks to keep you gambling for longer, so some people find it difficult to control their urges to spend money. But, there are things that you can do to control these urges, and they differ between each type of casino, so you’ll need to think about the following and decide which feature is more likely to help you stop gambling when you need to.

If you read our article about the tricks that brick-and-mortar casinos use to keep you gambling for longer, you’ll have the knowledge to reduce the risks of falling for those tricks. However, knowing the tricks isn’t enough. Most of us need some real barriers (and not mental barriers) to stop us from acting impulsively.

Here are some of the things that you can do to put barriers in place to protect yourself from impulsive gambling:

  • Set gambling limits on your debit and credit cards. Some banks have tools to help problem gamblers, including the ability to set gambling limits. This works for both types of casino.
  • When visiting a brick-and-mortar casino, leave your credit and debit cards at home and take cash. This way, once the cash is gone, you’ve got no option but to leave.
  • Only play with online casinos that offer self-exclusion options and gambling limits. UK casinos have to offer this by law, but other casinos don’t necessarily offer this level of protection. I recommend sticking to online casinos based in the UK and other gambling-safe countries.
  • Use a website blocker to block casinos that don’t offer proper protection. Make sure you choose a website blocker that you can’t override!

Because it’s easy to access unscrupulous casinos online, the brick-and-mortar casinos are better for impulsive gamblers as it’s easier to control your spending (leave your wallet at home!). Therefore, if you’re a person who struggles to control your impulses, the brick-and-mortar casinos come out better on this metric.

Do You Like to Try a Bit of Everything?

Are you the sort of person who prefers Japenese food (lots of courses) or English food (three dollops of beige)? Personally, I love them both depending on my mood – English for comfort, Japenese for livening things up a bit.

But what does this have to do with casinos?

Well, online casinos are like a Japanese meal – there’s a huge variety of flavours (i.e., games) to choose from. It’s much harder to get bored online from the perspective of game choice.

Brick-and-mortar casinos, on the other hand, usually have a smaller selection of games. Some of them won’t have enough space or enough customers to offer a big range of games. You’ll miss out on the variety of tournaments, live dealer games, and choice of table games compared to online casinos.

If you like to stick to the same games, and your local brick-and-mortar offers them, that’s great, but if you’re feeling a need for variety, the online casinos are your best bet.

Do You Like Goofing on Atmosphere?

Today I learned that the REM song, Man on the Moon, say’s “Goofing on Elvis” and not “Goofing on atmosphere” – I quite like my version though, and I think it fits here.

Basically, is part of the reason you like gambling because you like the atmosphere around it?  If yes, then the brick-and-mortar casinos are fantastic. There’s no place like them. Being in one on a busy night feels like a mix of competitiveness, fun, and slight danger. It’s a great feeling.

The atmosphere is something that you just don’t get online. There’s a bit of atmosphere with the live games, and some of the chat facilities are entertaining, but it’s nowhere near the level of atmosphere that you find in a real-life casino.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s great not to be around people all the time and it’s nice to be able to control your own environment. At home, you decide everything, from how loud the music is to how many drinks you’re allowed to consume. No one’s getting cut off from the home bar, but if you get a bit sloshy at the casino, they don’t like it. You might be putting off the other gamblers, and the casino might kick you out.

So, which one’s better for atmosphere?

It really depends on your mood. If you want to be social and feel the excitement of other people, the only place to go is a brick-and-mortar casino, but if you want a nice chilled-out session, choose an online casino.

Are People Part of Your Game?

That might sound like a weird title, but some strategy games are much easier to play when you’re with other people. Poker is the big one. Reading other people’s body language is an essential part of the game – especially when you get to the pro levels. It’s part of what makes the game fun. Yeah, you can still find tells when playing online poker, but it’s not as easy to do as it is when the person’s in front of you.

Obviously, with most other games, your opponent’s body language doesn’t make any difference to the way you play. There is an argument that other people make you more distracted, so you’re more likely to make mistakes (e.g., you spin the reel on the slot machine when you should have held it) when they’re around (i.e., in a brick-and-mortar casino), but this depends on your personality. Some people say they make fewer mistakes when they’re in a noisy atmosphere – I’m not sure if this is true or if it just feels true to them.

Here, deciding which of the two casino types is better depends on the games you like to play and on how easily other people distract your attention.

Are You Paranoid of Random Number Generators (RNGs)?

RNGs are bits of software that make games of chance truly random. They’re meant to ensure that casinos aren’t rigging their games and, consequently, ripping off their customers. But as with most things in life, some people are paranoid about them. They believe the casinos are rigging the RNGs. And some of the unscrupulous ones probably are, but the UK’s casinos are safe in this regard because the law requires them to have their games audited regularly to ensure things like the RNG are accurate.

Still, no amount of reassurance can help the true hater of RNGs. If RNGs are something that you worry about, then the brick-and-mortar casinos are a better choice than the online casinos. At the brick-and-mortar casinos, none of the table games (e.g., roulette, blackjack, and poker) uses RNGs. It’s all done by a croupier. You might have to worry about the croupier cheating, but in a reputable casino, that’s highly unlikely. With the online casinos, the table games DO use RNGs.

The slot machines, and other computer-based gambling games, use RNGs in both types of casino though, so if they’re your games of choice, there’s no real difference between real-life and online casinos.


Online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos have different strengths and weaknesses. Which one is better for you depends on lots of things, including your mood on the day. I hope that this blog has helped you work out which one you’re more likely to enjoy at any given moment.

bricks to represent brick-and-mortar casinos

Joslyn Ferguson

Casino Reviewer and Chief Editor

Joslyn Ferguson is our casino reviewer and chief editor. She has 8 years of writing experience in the online gambling industry and makes sure all of our reviews are accurate and unbiased.

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