Land-Based or Online Casinos – Which Experience is Better in Ontario?

B&M Casino or Online Casinos What's Better in Ontario - MGJ
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I’ve tried both and have a solid opinion about each.

  • Fallsview Casino Resort
  • Casino Niagara
  • Casino Rama
  • Woodbine Racetrack
  • Georgian Downs
Land-based vs online casinos - MGJ - Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls - Photo by Constante Lim on Unsplash
Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls – Photo by Constante Lim on Unsplash

So, why am I writing about this? I figured since it’s the start of summer and tomorrow is the first day of July, it’s that time of year when many of us travel or feel inclined to head out to engage in activities in our local backyard, including, among many other things, visiting a casino, or slots and racetrack.

As such, it got me thinking about a common question that’s frequently asked by gamblers: “What offers a better experience: land-based casinos or online casinos?”

In other words, is it really worth it to drive to a B&M (brick and mortar) casino in Ontario or do online casinos cover everything you need?

These are my thoughts on the subject.

My Ontario land-based casinos experience

I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed myself every time I’ve gone to a B&M casino. Heck, it’s one of the main reasons why I decided to give online casinos a try! Here’s what I like and don’t about the experience.

What I like most

  • I love the immersive atmosphere – There’s something captivating to me about the energy in a casino. The lights, the mixture of sounds from the different machines, music, the loud-patterned carpet, and people having a good time (most of them anyway), makes for an exciting playing environment.   
land-based vs online casinos - Land-based casino with slots - MGJ
  • It’s fun to physically interact with the machines – Sometimes, I find it fun to physically press buttons. That is all.
  • When I cash out, I get my money right away – When I’m done playing, I take my winnings to the Cashier and the person working there takes my ticket, and pays me the value of that ticket. I then take my money, and leave. To be fair, I doubt this would be the case if I won a massive jackpot…but, honestly, how many of us have actually won a massive jackpot at a casino? I promise, if that ever happens to me, I’ll be happy to tell you what the process is like.🤣

What I’m not so wild about

  • I have to get there – I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a casino just down the road. I usually need to travel an hour or more to get to one. While this isn’t a huge trek, it’s still long enough to make it an inconvenience, which is why I typically only go when there’s a show or I happen to be in the area for tourist reasons, like Niagara Falls, for instance. Also, driving means gas, and gas isn’t exactly cheap.
  • I’ll likely spend on non-gambling things – Aside from the gas to get there and back, I might have a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or buy a drink. Both of those things are an added cost.
land-based vs online casinos - MGJ - Image of drinks at a bar - Photo by M.S. Meeuwesen on Unsplash
Different drinks at a bar – Photo by M.S. Meeuwesen on Unsplash
  • Sometimes I have to wait to play – Yes, there are loads of slots, and I can always find a free machine, but sometimes I want to play one of the special machines (you know, the machines typically themed after a movie, TV show, etc. that are floating in their own special universe with a cool chair?). A lot of the times, these cool slots are not available because they’re popular, which means I have to wait to play. Worse still, there’s no time limit, so a person at the machine could literally stay there for an hour or longer, and you’re out of luck. Though I’ve never played a table game, I imagine there could be waiting issues as well if a table is full.
  • It can feel like a freakin’ maze when you want to leave – Though I find it fun to wander all around the casino floor when I first get there, when I’m ready to leave, I just want to get out. Depending on where I am when this happens, it can take several annoying minutes to reach the exit.   

My Ontario online casinos experience

What I like most

  • Convenience, convenience, convenience – I can login anytime I want and play from just about anywhere. More importantly, I don’t have to leave my home. There’s no driving. I don’t even need to get out of bed. Power and the internet are all that’s needed.
  • I can play what I want when I want – I don’t have to wait for another player to be done a slot to play it. I can play whatever games are available when I want and for however long I want, without worrying that I’m hogging a machine. I think the only exception with waiting are live casino table games. From what I’ve seen (though I haven’t yet made the final step of playing a live dealer game), only a certain number of players can play at a time. But there are so many different tables, I doubt waiting is much of an issue.
land-based vs online casinos - Playing Sweet Bonanza - MGJ
  • I’m in the comfort of my own environment – I don’t have to give a single thought to how I look or what I’m wearing when I play at home. I can gamble in my jammies and no one online would know the difference. I can also eat or drink whatever I want that’s already in my home, without having to pay a premium for it.
  • Total personal freedom – Being able to play what I want, where I want, when I want, wearing (or not wearing) whatever I want, listening (or not listening) to whatever I want is, in a word, awesome.

What I’m not so wild about

  • I need to be more budget conscious – I might not have to spend on gas or on a drink at a premium price from a bar, but due to how easily accessible online casinos are, I have to be a lot stricter when it comes to my budget. I need to be careful because, even though I’m playing more online compared to B&M casinos, this doesn’t mean I want to spend more on gambling.
  • I get booted out of games – This is reallllly annoying. Ever been playing a game and it crashes or you get booted out? It pulls me right out of the fun! Well, since I’m playing in Ontario, I have to deal with the casino losing my location sometimes. The casino needs to know where my location is to ensure I’m playing in Ontario as part of the regulator rules. I get that rules are rules…but it’s still annoying when it happens, because I have to re-load the game every time.
Land-based vs online casinos - location time out screenshot from PlayOJO - MGJ
Location time out screenshot from PlayOJO
  • I need to send documents to verify my identity – Again, I get why online casinos are required to do this, its for their protection as much as my own, but it’s annoying and not always the fastest. You have to wait for the support team to verify what you send. If it’s not done right, or if they need something else, you have to do more sending and waiting. Bleh.
  • I have to wait to get my winnings* – Online casinos have withdrawal pending times. Which means, once I make the withdrawal request, they need to process and approve it. After that, how long it takes to transfer back to my card or bank account depends on the banking method. All in all, the entire process can take a day or more. Honestly, if deposits are instant, I really don’t see why withdrawals can’t be instant as well.

*Note: I would have added bonus wagering requirements to the “what I’m not so wild about” section, but where I play those don’t exist. Since I can speak only of my own personal experience, I didn’t include this. That said, from what I’ve read about other people’s experiences at online casinos, wagering requirements sound like they suck.👎

Both land-based and online casinos offer a fun experience

In many ways, I’d have to say that an online casino experience is simply a more practical option compared to traditional B&M establishments. Let’s face it, land-based establishments cannot compete with the convenience and freedom that a gaming site offers. At the same time, online casinos cannot compete with a land-based atmosphere that immerses all your senses or the quick cashout.

That said, beyond these main differences, I don’t think that one experience in Ontario is more fun than the other, is safer than the other, or gives me better winning chances.

land-based vs online casinos - bots are fun - MGJ

I’ve come to the conclusion that even though there are things I like and don’t like about both experiences for different reasons, I don’t think that one is better than the other overall. Each is unique and fun and may be something that’s worth trying for you, if gambling is something you enjoy.

What about you? Do you have a preferred casino experience?

Until next time, good luck and have fun! And, if you’re a Canadian who celebrates, Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦

Mia 👩‍💻

**All links in this post are for information purposes only.

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