Live Casinos vs Land-Based Casinos: What’s the Difference?

Man in Contemplation on Left with Two Female Dealer on Right With Live Casino Wording in Front

The term “live casino” is somewhat ambiguous in the gambling world. It seemingly implies that you’re playing live at a land-based casino.

However, live casinos have come to mean something entirely different in recent years. The term can now apply to live dealer gambling, where a casino studio streams land-based gambling action to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

What’s the right way to use the term live casino? I’ll answer this question by discussing how the gaming world has changed, differences between live and land-based casinos, and the correct usage of the term.

What the Term Live Casino Used to Imply

Up until the mid-2000s, the gaming world was divided into two distinct settings: brick and mortar and online casinos.

Land-based casinos have been around in some form or another for centuries. Before gaming sites came along, there was no need to mention the words “live casino.” After all, brick and mortar establishments were the only places to enjoy casino games.

Things changed in this regard, though, when online casinos launched in the mid-1990s. As gaming sites became more popular, gamblers needed a way to distinguish if they were playing online or live.

Thus, various terms were used to describe the latter experience, including “land-based casino,” “brick and mortar casino,” and “live casino.” Of course, at one time, every casino was located in a physical location, but the internet changed everything.

The Online Gaming World Has Evolved

As for the mid-2000s, this is the point when live dealer casinos came about. Evolution Gaming launched the first live casino, while other developers soon joined them.

Live dealer gambling sites started gaining popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Improvements in streaming technology and growing awareness helped fuel live casinos’ rise.

At this point, gamblers had three viable options to choose from. They could visit a land-based casino, play virtual online casino games, or enjoy live dealer gaming online.

This is also the time period when live casino began to mean more than just a brick and mortar establishment. Instead, it’s also now referring to a gambling site that streams live casino games.

Live Dealer Online Roulette Game

I believe that the term “live casino” should only signify live dealer gaming. Meanwhile, people can use land-based or brick and mortar casinos to describe physically visiting a gambling venue.

Of course, you could accuse me of nitpicking. However, I believe that in today’s gaming world, calling land-based casinos “live casinos” is confusing. After all, no other terms exist to describe live dealer gaming.

How Live and Land-Based Casinos Differ

Now that I’ve offered my thoughts on why some people incorrectly use the term “live casino,” I’d like to discuss more on the differences between live dealer and brick and mortar casinos.

No Travel Involved With Live Dealer Gaming

These days, you don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy live gaming. Instead, you can just grab your smartphone or hop on a desktop/laptop computer.

Live dealer casinos stream action from a land-based studio. In some cases, they may even broadcast their games from a regular brick and mortar casino.

In either case, you can stay at home and play. Or you can play anywhere else so long as Wi-Fi is available.

You Sit Next to Real Players at Land-Based Casinos

Nothing beats the experience at brick and mortar casinos, which provide the chance to play right next to other people.

You can visit a local land-based gaming establishment with your friends. This makes for an entertaining night that creates lots of memories.

Of course, you don’t need anybody to hold your hands to visit a land-based casino. If your friends can’t go, you can still enjoy a solo gambling trip. You might have fun simply talking to strangers while playing.

Live Dealer Casino Bonuses Are Available

Some live dealer gambling sites offer casino bonuses when you sign up and deposit. For example, you might receive a free blackjack bet after depositing.

Here’s an example on how these wagers work:

  • A live dealer casino offers a $25 free bet
  • You wager $25 and lose
  • You’re now eligible to earn the $25 back
  • Playthrough is 10x
  • 25 x 10 = $250
  • You must wager $250 before getting the $25 back

You have to meet the terms and conditions before receiving this money. As indicated above, playthrough is a big part of doing so.

Pile of Casino Chips, Laptop Displaying Dealer at Blackjack Table

Even with the terms and conditions involved, though, live casino bonuses are worthwhile. They can help you make extra money on top of any winnings you might earn.

Brick and Mortar Casinos Offer Cool Comps

Both live dealer and land-based casinos offer comps. The latter setting, however, generally provides the most unique rewards.

For starters, brick and mortar casinos famously give out free drinks so long as you’re gambling. You don’t have to bet high stakes to get free alcohol either.

Assuming you’re a mid- or high-roller, you’ll be eligible for more substantial casino comps. Hotel stays, meals, free transportation, and top-shelf liquor are some of the better rewards at land-based casinos.

Live dealer gambling sites typically give out cashback, deposit bonuses, and free slots spins. Although welcome, these rewards aren’t quite the same as being served a free cocktail or getting a comped steak dinner.

Quickly Move Between Tables at Live Casinos

You won’t experience any hassle when moving between games at live dealer casinos.

You can do so with a few taps on your phone screen or clicks of the mouse.

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about collecting chips and physically cashing them out. You could either keep them on the live gaming site or withdraw them electronically through an e-wallet or another banking option.

Stay at Land-Based Casino Resorts

Many brick and mortar casinos offer a resort experience. You can book a room with them and stay during your gaming trip.

You’ll especially have fun doing so when visiting major gambling destinations. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Reno, for example, offer lots of entertainment away from the slot machines and tables.

The Reno Arch and Harrah's Casino

You can also catch a show, visit nightclubs, and shop at larger land-based casinos. In these cases, you’ll have a fantastic experience without ever leaving the resort.

Smaller Minimum Bets With Live Dealer Gaming

You don’t have to bet a lot to enjoy live casino games. Instead, you can play these games for anywhere between $1 and $5.

In the case of the $5 minimum bets, you’ll need to wager more than with a virtual online casino. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to gamble more cheaply than at land-based casinos.

Regarding the latter, you often have to wager between $10 and $25 at the tables. The latter end of this range can be quite expensive when things don’t go your way.

Should Land Based Casinos Still Be Called “Live Casinos?”

As you can see from the differences covered above, live dealer and brick and mortar casinos definitely aren’t the same. They do have some similarities, but they’re entirely different in many other ways.

Therefore, the term live casino shouldn’t be interchangeable. It should only be reserved for describing live dealer gaming.

Of course, I can’t fault people for continuing to call land-based gaming venues “live casinos.” After all, this term was reserved for brick and mortar casinos for many years.

However, live dealer gambling sites are now ingrained in the gaming world. They should be known as either live dealer casinos or simply “live casinos.”

Our Conclusions About “Live Casinos”

Brick and mortar casinos were the only way to enjoy casino games for decades. Online gambling sites came along in the mid-1990s, though, and changed this.

People then began referring to land-based casinos as “live” to differentiate playing in person versus playing at online casinos.

Live dealer gaming became the next step in the evolution when it came about in the mid-2000s. Suddenly, gamblers had the option to enjoy a land-based casino atmosphere from their homes.

Nowadays, people use the term live casino to indicate both land-based and live dealer casinos. Given that land-based or brick and mortar casinos already have multiple terms, “live casino” should be exclusive to live dealer gaming.

Perhaps more people will feel the same way in the future as live casinos continue to grow more and more popular.