The first casino opened in Europe in the mid-17th century, letting players place wagers on table and card games.
Since then, casinos have opened right across the world, with some of the biggest in the United States, the Chinese territory of Macau and Western Europe.
While casino cities like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau have become major destinations for people looking to place bets on games and sports, the large integrated resorts found in these cities are not the only types of casino.
Many towns and cities up and down the UK are home to casinos and betting shops. These venues offer a mix of live table and card games, sports betting, and a range of electronic gaming machines.
They are still very popular today, despite the growing prevalence of online casinos and bookmakers.
But do these online casinos pose a threat to physical gaming establishments?
Online Casinos in Demand
Sites that allow players to place bets on card and table games like Betsafe Online Casino UK have been around since the mid-1990s. They have evolved over the 25 years since, offering a wider range of games, creating more engaging video slots, and creating live casino games.
In the UK and across Europe, demand for online casinos has never been higher with around £20 billion expected to be generated across the continent in 2020.
In their annual report to investors, one FTSE 100-listed online casino operator reported a 34% increase of active users in 2019.
While in the retail sector demand for online shopping has come at the detriment to traditional high street stores, the same can’t be said for casinos.
According to the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission, the number of physical betting shops in the UK has remained relatively consistent over the last decade. The number of bookmakers actually increased during the early part of the 2010s, before falling back down to the level they started in 2019.
A similar picture can be seen with physical casinos, with the number growing slowly between 2010 and 2019.
While online casinos offer players the convenience to enjoy their favourite games wherever they are and whenever they want, they aren’t the same as a land-based alternative. Those visiting a physical casino are doing so for the experience, and not just to play the games. They also often do it with friends, turning it into a social occasion.
Instead, online casinos are a way to enjoy the games at additional times, practice new strategies, and have fun on the go.
Additionally, research has shown that customers of online bookmakers and casinos continue to frequent physical betting shops and casinos just as much as they did before.
Some casino brands are even beginning to connect the two together, with live casino games like roulette that can be played online together with the people playing live at the casino.
While it seems like an obvious conclusion to arrive at, online casinos do not actually appear to be a threat to their physical counterparts. Instead, the two seem to be able to co-exist due to the different experiences that they offer to their customers.