6 Types of Casinos and Why You Need to Know the Difference

Casino Cruise Ship on Left People at a Row of Slot Machines in Center Room of Table Games in Center

Do you think every casino is the same? Most casinos have slot machines and table games, but that doesn’t mean that every casino is created equal. And if you don’t know the different types of casinos, the odds are high that you’re going to end up gambling in the wrong type of casino.

The good news is that you can quickly learn what the six different types of casinos are and then decide which type of casino gives you the best chance to win. And that’s exactly what you’re going to learn in this post.

The Tourist Trap

The worst type of casino is a tourist trap casino. Examples of tourist trap casinos include casino cruise ships and most casinos that are the only casino in a large distance. I like to call these the only casino in town.

In the United States, casino gambling is legal in some states and not legal in other states. But a few miles offshore in the ocean are designated as international waters, and ships can run casino games legally in these areas.

When a casino is the only casino available in a large area, the casino doesn’t really have any competition. So the casino doesn’t have to offer the best games or returns to attract gamblers.

The casino games and slot machines offered in tourist trap casinos are usually the worst of the worst. The slot machines usually pay back less than 90%, and the blackjack games usually only pay 6 to 5 for blackjack.

The best way to stay safe is to avoid tourist trap casinos whenever possible. Most areas where tourist trap casinos are located also have online casinos that serve the area. You can find better games and higher returns in online and mobile casinos than in tourist trap casinos.

Small but Good Casinos

Some casinos located in the middle of nowhere are tourist traps. But just because a casino is small, or located out of the way, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad casino.

The best example of this is in Las Vegas. Big casino resorts on the strip dominate las Vegas, but there are dozens of smaller casinos in the city. And some of the smaller casinos are better than the big casinos on the strip.

Of course, not every small casino in Las Vegas is good. You can find slot machines at the airport, and they’re some of the worst slots games ever made when it comes to returns.

Las Vegas Airport Slots

The best way to identify small but good casinos is to know what games you like to play, what makes a game good, and visit some small casinos to see if they offer the game you like with good rules.

For example, I play a lot of blackjack and know what type of rules I’m looking for when I play. So when I walk into a small casino, I quickly know if the blackjack games are good or bad by simply looking at the rules.

The same is true if you play video poker or online poker games. Of course, it’s more challenging to tell if the slot machines have good returns, but the best thing to do is avoid the slots games anyway.

Mega Casino Resorts

Mega casino resorts are big casinos that also offer many other things in addition to gambling. These resorts usually have many different places to eat, spas, shopping, golf, entertainment, and many other things.

If your spouse doesn’t enjoy gambling as much as you, a mega casino resort might be the place to plan a trip. While you gamble, your spouse can find plenty of other things to do.

You have a better chance of finding games with good returns at a mega-casino resort, but everything else is usually more expensive. I took my wife to Las Vegas, and she went to the spa one day while I played poker.

I had a good day at the tables, but my profits quickly disappeared when I found out she spent $500 at the spa.

I’m not against mega casino resorts, but make sure you know how much everything is going to cost before you plan a trip. Of course, you can find lots of fun things to do, but everything in a resort like this is making money for the resort. And some of the big resorts don’t have great games either, so make sure you’re not going somewhere that costs too much and doesn’t have the best games.

Slots Only Casinos

While the tourist trap type of casino is the worst kind of casino, in my experience, casinos that only offer slot machines are almost as bad. The common place I see casinos like this is the ones attached to horse tracks, but there are some slots only casinos that aren’t attached to anything.

I don’t play slot machine soften, so I don’t spend much time in slots only casinos. The return percentage for slot machines is bad compared to most other forms of gambling. But in tourist trap casinos and slots-only casinos, the return is almost always worse than the average return in large casinos.

Row of Slot Machines

You might be able to get an average return of 90% to 93% in a large casino, while the average return in a tourist trap or slots-only casino might be 82% to 85%.

Casinos with table games and video poker machines have many wagers that have 98% and better returns. You can play blackjack, craps, baccarat, and many video poker machines and get a return of 98% or better.

Online Casinos

Online casinos are a big category of casinos, but there are different types of online casinos. The most popular online casinos seem to have a bit of everything, including slot machines and all of the popular table games.

While some online casinos do ok with less than 100 slot machines and game options, most are bigger. Some online casinos have 100’s of different slot machines and dozens of table games.

You can also find online casinos that have other businesses under the same umbrella, like sportsbooks and poker rooms. And you can find poker rooms and sportsbooks that offer a few casino games.

Online casinos use software companies that provide the games, and some casinos only use software from one company. But other online casinos offer games developed by a wide range of software companies.

I don’t know exactly how many online casinos exist, but there are 100’s of them. And some are better than others, but a lot depends on what you want to do and play.

The best thing to do is find the online casinos that offer what you want to play along with the best bonuses, the easiest way to make deposits and withdrawals, and have the best rules for the games you want to play.

Mobile Casinos

Mobile casinos are a lot like online casinos, except they have apps that let you play your favorite slot machines and table games on your mobile device. But what most gamblers don’t know is that you can play most online casinos on mobile devices, as long as you have browser software on your device.

The biggest problem with playing online casino games on a mobile device is that they can be quite small if they’re not designed for mobile play. But if you’re using a tablet or notebook device, most online casino games work fine.

Hand Holding a Smartphone Showing a Roulette Mobile App

If you want to gamble on your phone, I recommend finding a casino that has a mobile app. The games and slot machines are designed for use on a small screen, so your experience will be better.

As far as finding the best mobile casino for you, the same list applies as you read about in the last section. Find the best mobile casino that has the game you want to play with the best rules, makes it easy to deposit and cash out, and has a good bonus.

Our Thoughts About These Types of Casinos

Most gamblers don’t think about different types of casinos. But if you gamble in the wrong type of casino, you’ll lose more money than in other casinos. So it’s important to know what type of casino you’re gambling in.

The tourist trap is the worst type of casino, but it’s usually the only game in town. And smaller casinos can be bad, but the size of the casino isn’t always the best way to compare casinos.

Online and mobile casinos can be good, but there are still a few dangers you need to know about. Learn how to identify the best type of casino for you.