Are Online Casino Payouts Really Higher than Land-based Casino Payouts?

By Ben Hamill - December 14 2016

Every gambler has his or her preference when choosing a casino to play at. It's true that many gamblers prefer land-based casinos for numerous reasons despite the efforts by people such as myself to point out the many advantages of gambling at an online casino. One of the points I made in my blog article on online versus land-based casinos was that online casino payouts are higher than those at land-based casinos. Well, I've been asked to demonstrate that this is so.

Costs Must Be Recovered Or Else

The overhead at an online casino is far less than the overhead at a land-based casino. Land-based casinos have to pay for all that brick and mortar. At a land-based casino, each blackjack table, for example, takes up a lot of space. So the casino naturally wants to offer blackjack games with the highest house advantage. This means that they do everything they can to prevent card counting. This involves games with 4-8 decks and shuffling before the deck has been finished.

Everything you see at land-based casinos and even more that you don't see costs them a lot of money. Brick and mortar establishments have other ways to make money other than the dollars gamblers bet and lose. They sell lodging, food, drinks, and high-class entertainment. But all this is not enough to pay all the bills. They have to offer exceptionally low prices for lodging and food and often give hard drinks away. So, in order to be able to turn a profit, land-based casino payouts are lower.

In All Games of Chance Luck is Random

At this point we need to understand the Random Number Generator (RNG) that is used at all casino games, online or land-based, where there is no dealer or croupier. This includes video slots and poker and a few other games at a land-based casino and all games at an online casino except for the games at their Live Casino where you can usually play poker, blackjack, baccarat, or roulette with a live dealer or croupier.

Immense Complexity Even for Brainiacs

The RNG starts with a very large number of many digits and uses an algorithm to choose the next number. In video slots, the RNG creates numbers which are translated into the game's symbols. A similar process occurs in a game like blackjack where the number generated by the RNG is translated into a specific card. The numbers chosen are not 100% random but there is no system of divining the next number because the starting number and the algorithm are so complex. So, we use the term RNG even though it's only 99.9999999% (actually greater) random!

There is Still a Point Zero

However, the casino can start the RNG going with a set percentage that the casino wants to pay out. Because land-based casinos have such large overhead, they generally set a slots game to pay out about 90% of money wagered. In fact, by law all Las Vegas casinos must set at least a 75% payout rate for slots but they set a higher one because at 75% player wins would be far lower and the casinos would be out of business quickly! Online casinos will set most slots games to pay out about 95%. From this starting point, the percentages vary from day to day or year to year but are generally close to the pre-set pay out rate.

A Player Wins at Blackjack If….

It's also true that the payout rate at blackjack at an online casino may be lower than what you can win at a specific game at a land-based casino. To win blackjack in this manner at a land-based casino you need to be almost perfect at counting cards and play at a game with only one deck. The house's edge increases greatly when they add even one more deck. The concentration this requires is far beyond the ability of 99.9999999% (actually greater) of players!

So, unless one is a blackjack superstar, player wins are far more likely when playing online. All blackjack variations offered at an online casino will have a payout rate of about 96% or higher whilst only single-deck blackjack plus perfect play can give the same payout rate at a brick and mortar casino. At an online casino with rules favorable to the player in terms of splitting, doubling down, and soft 17, and with correct play, it's possible to even the odds with the house!

Online Casinos Get to "Know" You

Online casinos also give back a lot of money in ways that land-based casinos can't. Every online casino has a Welcome Package with bonuses and free spins. Online casinos run many promotions in which they offer deposit bonuses. Some reasons are your birthday, the fact that you're playing on the weekend or on a holiday, because it's April fool's Day or the first day of spring or just because the casino decided that now is a good time to offer another bonus.

Online players get bonuses for accumulating loyalty points. They can play in long-term promotions where they can win big prizes.

Stretch Your Gaming Dollars

As I said at the outset, some players prefer brick and mortar establishments for many reasons even though the preponderance of advantage lies with online casinos. So be it. For those who do prefer to play at an online casino, it's good to know that your money is likely to last longer there than at a brick and mortar casino.