Land-based casinos aren’t technically lagging behind online casinos in any way. They enjoy some decided advantages over their internet counterparts—namely in terms of atmosphere and social elements.
However, brick-and-mortar venues could take some cues from online casinos in terms of technology and convenience developments. That being said, I’m going to cover 7 aspects that land-based casinos should borrow from gaming sites to improve.
1 – More Info on Slot Machine Help Screens
Much like online slots, many slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos feature help screens. You can select these screens to find helpful information on payouts, bonuses, and more.
Unfortunately, these info screens aren’t always as jampacked as those found with internet slots. They also lack return to player (RTP) and volatility figures.
The vast majority of online slots list RTP (e.g. 96.5%), which fills you in on your long-term chances of winning. Many games also boast volatility ratings too.
Land-based slot machines are still void of either piece of information. You’re essentially in the dark on your chances of winning in brick-and-mortar establishments.
2 – Deposit Bonuses
Online casinos have been enticing players for years with deposit bonuses. The latter refer to offers that include a match percentage bonus and/or free spins.
Here’s an example:
- A casino offers a 100% match deposit bonus + 50 free spins.
- You deposit $100.
- You now qualify for a $100 bonus and 50 free spins
Of course, you must satisfy wagering requirements before cashing out funds from the bonus. But these deals give you a chance to earn quite a bit of extra cash.
I don’t expect brick-and-mortar casinos to suddenly roll out deposit bonuses on a mass scale. After all, they’d have a tough time implementing the same system.
But in 2017, Spain’s Casino de Illescas showed that it is possible for land-based venues to offer this type of reward. They rolled out a 20% deposit bonus worth up to €250.
3 – Slot Machines with Multiple Games
Slot machine cabinets are typically built to house one game each. Therefore, you must get up and find a new machine whenever you want to play a different game.
Of course, slots developers have long had the technology to cure this problem. They could put several games into the same cabinet.
Video poker developers do this quite frequently. They feature a menu screen that lets you pick which variation you want to play before gambling.
Slots games are more complex than video poker in terms of graphics, bonuses, and animations. At the same time, though, gaming developers have the sophisticated capabilities to produce machines with multiple slots in one.
Casinos have already discussed offering terminals with electronic table games, sports betting, and slots together. They might as well produce the same kind of terminals that combine various slot machines.
4 – Offer Higher Return to Player
One area where online casinos undoubtedly beat land-based establishments is the RTP. This fact can definitely be seen with slots, where internet versions generally pay 5% to 6% more than the standard land-based game.
Internet table games tend to offer better rules and RTP than those in brick-and-mortar casinos too. For example, online blackjack RTP hovers between 99.0% and 99.5% payback, while the land-based version offers between 98.0% and 99.0% payback.
Of course, brick-and-mortar establishments must cover heavier operating costs than gaming sites. Then have to pay dealers, handle bigger utility bills, and build a huge complex.
I don’t expect live casinos to offer the exact same RTP as online sites. However, they could try bridging the gap a little more.
5 – Feature Lower Minimum Bets
The best online casinos offer the lowest minimum wagers in gaming. You can play certain slots for as little as $0.01 and table games for $1 per hand/round.
These stakes enable virtually anybody to afford real-money gambling. If you’re a low roller, then you’ll really appreciate this aspect.
Land-based casinos, on the hand, aren’t quite the same way. They usually force you to bet $0.50 to $3 on slot machines and $10 to $25 per table-game round.
Therefore, they need to jack up the smallest available bet to justify offering such games. They’d lose too much money by featuring $1 minimum bets.
Nevertheless, it would be nice to see smaller stakes return to the brick-and-mortar scene. For example, many blackjack tables used to allow $5 bets. Now, they mostly feature $25 minimums.
6 – Offer More Free Tables
Gaming sites let you play for free after completing registration. Some don’t even require you to register for an account before playing.
Free online casino games give you an opportunity to try out new slots. They also let you practice strategy on games like blackjack and Caribbean stud.
Assuming you want to place a deposit, you can do so at any point. But nothing forces you to play for real money.
Land-based casinos rarely give you an opportunity to enjoy free gaming. Sometimes they offer beginner’s tables as a promotion.
These let you play a free table game in order to learn the ropes. By and large, though, these establishments want you to pay to play.
Casinos obviously can’t feature a dozen free games and front dealers’ salaries on top of it. However, it would be nice if the larger venues included a daily beginner’s table for at least a full shift
The casino would take a loss on the table, because they’re not seeing any betting action. Such a table, though, could encourage more people to try baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean stud, and more.
7 – Use More AI/Robots
Land-based casinos base much of their popularity on being able to offer gamblers a unique experience. You can sit next to your friends when gambling, chat with the dealer, speak with a casino host, and order drinks from cocktail waitresses.
However, some processes at brick-and-mortar casinos are really inefficient. They could be improved by introducing more robots and artificial intelligence (AI) into the equation.
Encore Boston Harbor presents a perfect illustration on how this can help improve the experience. They were suffering from a problem where customers waited up to an hour to receive drinks.
The root of the problem is that 8-10 serves waited on one bartender to fill their orders. So, Encore rolled out a series of self-serve machines. Now, the cocktail waitresses can pour their own drinks and serve customers much faster.
Of course, online casinos are built upon software and the internet. They’ll obviously feature a technology and convenience advantage over land-based casinos. But the latter could definitely solve some issues by going more robotic and improving certain processes.
Online and brick-and-mortar casinos will always feature their differences. They do, after all, take place in two entirely different settings.
However, brick-and-mortar casinos should take cues from gaming sites in certain areas. Personally, I’d like to see them adopt lower stakes and higher RTP above all.
Others, though, might wish for casinos to provide more conveniences. AI and robots could clear up some of the inconvenient aspects of gambling venues.
Land-based operators are already on the path towards making some of these changes. But it would be nice if they’d speed up the process and get more in line with gaming sites’ technology.