Ever since the first online casino opened its virtual doors back in 1994, we've seen a constant, year on year growth in the popularity of online casinos. Around the world, people are logging on and playing at an ever increasing rate – but why? Traditional land based casinos still exist in abundance. So what is it about the online gambling experience that is drawing people in such numbers?
Well, it's not a single reason; there are several, and there's as many political reasons as there are experience-based ones. But let's begin at the beginning.
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Firstly, as you are no doubt aware, different countries and states have markedly different attitudes to gambling – some won't have it at all in any shape or form, while others do permit it, but only in certain areas. This creates problems for casino game fans.
If you don't live within easy driving distance of a casino, then visiting one becomes a complicated affair involving a lot of travel plus having to stay over in hotels that are either expensive or horrible (or both), all so that you can have a few hours access to a gaming table.
Gambling online overcomes this hassle by making casino gambling accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The monstrous cost of travel and accommodation that made many casino fans have to plan their indulgence so carefully isn't a factor any more – you simply turn on your laptop and you're away.
The next reason comes down to the actual playing experience itself. Many people find the glitz and glamour of a casino to be exciting, but just as many have issues with it. What if you hate the music? What if you don't smoke and you're stuck next to someone puffing on a cigar? What if you do smoke but the casino you're in has banned the practise? What if you win big and you get mugged in the car park?
When you gamble online, you're sitting in the most comfortable and safe environment available – your own home. You can curl up on your favourite corner of the sofa with your laptop in front of you and enjoy your favourite casino games to your heart's content.
Your winnings are as safe as they could be because there's no cash involved – all transactions in online gambling are done via direct deposits, so when you hit the big one, the cash will simply appear on your bank account as if by magic.
You don't even need to dress up specially for the occasion (although you could if you liked), because no one's going to see you.
This last point is particularly handy for playing games like Texas Hold'em Poker. A lot of people enjoy the game but find the casino version intimidating, particularly when the sharks are circling. Playing online allows you to enjoy multi-player poker without having to endure the piercing stares of people trying to freak you out and pillage your stack.
Any way you look at it, playing online is certainly different from playing at a bricks-and-mortar casino, but it's not without its advantages.