For gamblers, it’s the odds that matter. For the house, however, it’s all about the revenue. We all know that the house always wins, but by how much? Another central question is: do online or land-based casino games generate more revenue?
Consulting a casino games list gives you an idea of the variety of games offered at both online and land-based casinos. Each of the different games brings in a different amount of revenue based on a variety of factors. These include things like odds, cost to play and popularity.
Recent reports show that consumers are more confident in the economy, as evidenced by a healthy Black Friday weekend. This positivity will most likely translate into increased spending in other sectors, including gambling. With that in mind, let’s look at how casino revenue is generated.
Table games include classics like blackjack, poker and roulette. These are the iconic casino games. They are not, however, the biggest earners for casinos, either land-based or online. It’s really a question of quantity rather than popularity.
Even a large casino cannot offer anywhere near as many table games as they can slot machines. Slot machines can also be played very rapidly. It makes sense then that with fewer table games that take longer to play, they will not be able to compete in terms of revenue generation, no matter how popular they are.
For a long time, specialty online poker sites have been where most of the revenue from that game was generated. As online casinos have gotten better, and particularly since they’ve introduced live dealer games, they have begun to take over an increasing share of the market.
Since the odds are roughly the same for table games regardless of whether they’re played online or at a land-based casino, the revenue generated should be very similar as well.
Slot machine games
Slot machine games are the big revenue earners for both land-based and online casinos. Slot machines are quick and easy to play. They don’t require any skill or practice. They also typically offer a range of minimum bets to play as well, meaning there is a wager for anyone.
The UK implemented a number of new regulations around online slots earlier this year, though these focused predominantly on a safer, fairer gambling experience for consumers, and have done little to curb the popularity of slot games.
Slot machines might be the major revenue earner, but table games are what draw many people in as they offer a unique experience. Research has shown that there’s a balance between table games and slot machines that a casino needs to maintain if it wants to keep its revenue high.
According to Richard Thalheimer and Mukhtar M. Ali’s work, slot machine revenue increases as the number of slot machines increases but decreases with an increased number of table games. Ultimately, however, they found that having more games of both types leads to more revenue.
Since online casinos can offer an almost unlimited range of slot machine games, they will see higher revenue from these games. People like variety and the thrill of the new. An online casino with hundreds of options provides users with just that, and in turn, increases their revenue.
Regardless of the odds or the games, land-based casinos need to bring in more revenue than their online counterparts. This is because land-based casinos have higher expenses than online casinos that need to be covered before they can begin to make a profit.
There are the obvious costs associated with running a brick-and-mortar business. Online casinos obviously have offices that need to be maintained, but the costs are much less since these are not large buildings open to the public and filled with amenities.
There are also the personnel costs. Besides dealers and hosts, there are also the waitstaff, security and — since most casinos have dining options — all of the associated kitchen and front of house staff. For a resort casino that includes lodging, the staff numbers again increase dramatically.
As of 2019, around 13,000 people were employed by the casino industry, making no small contribution to the British economy. This goes up further if other forms of gambling such as bingo or betting are included.
Online casinos that offer live table games do have to hire dealers, but that is a much smaller outlay. Online casinos also generally have customer service staff, many available 24/7, but this is again, a much smaller expense.
Land-based casinos also have non-gambling forms of revenue that they can rely on. In recent years, resort casinos have become popular music venues. They attract major artists for tours or residencies and this can generate massive amounts of revenue.
Diversifying by focusing on entertainment as well as gambling may be what gives the bigger land-based casinos an edge and allows them to thrive. It is obvious though that this overall success does not necessarily reflect the revenue generating powers of the table games or slots.
Some research has suggested that both land-based and online casinos can be very lucrative as long as the operator focuses on one or the other. Trying to run an online and a land-based casino at the same time introduces too many variables that will, over time, become too difficult to manage.
Where gambling is concerned, there will always be a market of eager customers. As gambling laws around the world begin to loosen and online casinos increase in popularity, it will be interesting to see how land-based and online casinos share the market.